Queen Charlotte track – Part 2

Day 153 (Wed 21 April): Punga Cove to Resolution Bay

Started 9.05am, finished 3.45pm, 22k.

Pain in the head status: Pain-free today and very relieved about it.

Basic bush accommodation

Word of the day: Careen, to heave a ship down one side in order to expose the other side to clean off barnacles or make repairs.

Peachy the pig mascot makes a final appearance

Our goal today was to have lunch at Furneaux Lodge, which was about 12k from where we were staying but the kitchen didn’t open until 12pm. So we slept in, had a slow breakfast in our room (the $26 breakfast buffet was a bit too much excess luxury) and dawdled along the path to Endeavour Inlet, where Furneaux Lodge was located.

Furneaux lodge

The track was solid orange-yellow clay, as slippery as ball bearings after the rain overnight and I was keen to see how the mountain bikers slid past on its treacherous surface. But the only mountain bikers that day was a group on ebikes, who hummed cheerfully by barely breaking a sweat. There were dozens of walkers though, of all ages and descriptions.


Furneaux Lodge was quite busy and we had a slightly hungry wait for our burgers and fries but they were a major step up from wraps and cheese. Well fueled, we charged on to our final accommodation – Resolution Bay cabins. There was  more pristine bush on this section, with lots of flowering rata and some large rata trees.

Our cottage

The cabins at Resolution Bay included old school bach-like houses and trampers huts but we elected to stay at the cottage by the sea, which had a gas cooker and hot shower. We prepared our last meal  (pasta), ate our last squares of chocolate and joined the owner of the cabins as she fed the fish lurking off the end of the jetty, including lots of gulping blue cod. Later in the evening, we wandered back to the wharf and spotted sparkles of phosphorescence in the water. Then it was time for our last sleep on the trail. Tomorrow we head to Ship Cove/Meretoto, famous for being the bay Captain Cook visited multiple times in the 1770s, in his exploration of Aotearoa, careening his ships in the shallow water.

Number of laughs today: More than five but much less than 300. Spent some time on the trail trying to invent jokes but was unsuccessful.

The final dinner

Day 154 (Thurs 22 April): Resolution Bay to Ship Cove (and home to Wellington)

Started 7.25am, finished 9.05pm, 7k.

Pain in the head status: No pain.

Word of the day: Travail, painful or laborious effort.

The final day. The end of our travails on Te Araroa. I was excited as we set off but when we arrived at Ship Cove/Meretoto, it was anticlimactic. Instead of being happy or relieved or proud, it was more like deflated and a bit sad.

Captain Cook memorial

We pottered around the bay, checking out the information boards and the tacky memorial to Cook’s visits, until the mail boat catamaran turned up to take us into Picton, via a tiki tour of the Sounds, including places we’d already visited (Furneaux Lodge, Punga Cove, Portage at Torea Bay). It was a maritime traverse of where we had been in the last couple of days in a couple of hours. We got to see the bag transfer from lodge to lodge in action –  a laborious process with the large amount of luggage being loaded on and off. Lesson from this – don’t put anything in your bag transfer that you don’t want being squashed.

Spot the dolphin

Wildlife sightings: Hectors dolphins, seals, shearwaters.

In Picton, we had one final ice cream indulgence then it was on a plane back to Wellington (it was cheaper to fly than take the ferry, maybe because of school holidays). Back to normal life, whatever that is.

I started on this journey not being 100% sure whether I could finish it agnd with a lot of concern that the migraines that afflict me would make it difficult and unpleasant. But I also wondered whether the migraines might abate, if I was away from the stresses of work and every day life. As it happened, neither of these things came to pass. I still got a fair few migraines but they mostly didn’t impede the journey. I still haven’t discovered why they come but I have increased confidence in my ability to live life as I want to, despite having migraines. I ended up stopping the prophylactic  medicines I was taking that were supposed to prevent the migraines and it turned out they were making no difference  –  whatever hoped for benefit I thought I was getting from them was only a placebo effect. There is still so much more to be known about how the brain works and why some of us have strange and unexplained neurological issues, like migraines or epilepsy or degenerative, progressive diseases. If you would like to support research into understanding these more, please consider donating to the Neurological foundation here:


That’s all from me on walking Te Araroa but I’m sure I’ll do more tramping with migraine in the future. I’ll keep you posted.

8 thoughts on “Queen Charlotte track – Part 2

  1. Congratulations on making it to the end in almost one piece (no need for an update on toenails) – it seems hardly a minute since you started! You missed lockdowns, earthquakes, expansion of the bubble to Australia but are now going to get hit with a bus strike – hope you are used to walking everywhere. ;->


  2. What an adventure, you guys! Can’t wait to see you again. And totally understand the feeling of deflation. For sure. Thank you thank you, Fiona for doing the writing mahi of blogging the trip without fail. Not a small task to combine the intense physical with the intellectual and you have achieved it. 👏 ka rawe e hoa. xxxxx


  3. Congratulations on completing your long walk. Thank you for your detailed description of each stage it was easy to read and follow. Although 300 is a lot of laughter in between your words there was twerky humour with good grace. That is priceless. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the things that was reassuring through reading about your trip is … how much of nature goes on disassociated from humans – there must be many animals/insects/flora/fauna that grow and die while never being in the presence of humans.

    And a thing you could try – you could draw your route on a map, colour-coding how your head felt at each point. It may give you a clue if there is any environmental aspect to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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