The Infotrack shuttle was due to pick us up at the car-park at 12:00pm. Not wanting to risk missing our ride Eric and I began our final day on the track with our headlamps at 6:30am. The going was a bit slower than i would have liked in the dim light. It was rocky and changed elevation in short bursts like a roller coaster. But eventually the sky lightened  and the trail leveled out. After passing through the forested narrow gorge we arrived in a flat grassy area called Slip Flat. We crossed over the mostly dry river bed via rocks. There is abridge upstream for early season when the river must roar. We scampered across the mix of thin forest and open meadows. Sheep bleated in the glasses and ran off the trail as we approached. There is a junction with the Lake Rere Trail loop which leads back to the carpark about 30 minutes after the Flat, but it is a longer route. We stayed on the main track.

The trail was easy and we moving quickly. After passing through a pasture of cattle we crossed the final wooden bridge decorated with a steer’s skull. On the other side the Greenstone meets with the Caples Track (note: the Greenstone & Caples Tracks are commonly linked as a loop backpack)… and another track leads to the carpark 30 minutes away. A junction with the Lake Rere loop is reach again. Stay on the Greenstone/Caples and do not cross the bridge. There are several gates to open a shut behind you. Follow the signs to the car-park.

Of course we arrived early… and surprised that we had evaded the rain that was forecast. The sky was definitely white and gray with clouds though as we settled down for a 1.5 hour wait for the bus. We wanted to wake to Lake Wakatipu which is not too far away walking straight on, but that route was fenced sheep pasture and the road was twisty twindy. We walked around the car park for a bit before retiring to a picnic table. Our bus arrived at 11am to drop off a single trekker. At noon on the dime 4 other homebound backpacker emerged for the forest and we headed out.

The shuttle dropped us off at Glenorachy. We were instructed to wait there until 3:00 (it was currently 12:30) for another bus to take us to Queenstown. This got Eric and I rather annoyed as this had not been listed on the bus company’s timetable… and, more importantly, we were famished. Folks at the general store suggested we hitchhike. Hitchhiking on South Island is common and very safe so we stuck out our thumbs and hoped for the best. Several cars passed us by. But after about 15 minutes a car slowed and pulled over.

As it turned out we were picked up not by Kiwis, but by an older Swiss tourist couple who could speak English just enough to get by. We did have a fun conversation in the car and were very grateful to get back to Queenstown by 1:45. Once dropped off we walked straight to Fergburger.

As expected, there was a long line, but it moved quickly. Eric and I both ordered Sweet Bambi, a burger made of venison. There was a 30 minutes wait so we sat at the counter anxiously waiting and probably smelling really bad to other customers. The burgers were massive, but it was the bun that gave it most of its volume. About halfway though when my mind began to process taste over the need for calories I began to conclude that the burger was not all that outstanding. Just average. But calories are good… in fact we skipped right next door to Fergbakery where we had a 15% off dessert coupon since we’d eaten at Fergburger. I picked out a slice of chocolate mus cake, a local favorite, and Eric ordered a turkish doughnut. The cake was amazing, the doughnut just okay. We also ordered cross bun (kiwi favorite, but not my taste) and tomato pesto bread (awesome!) to go.

At the hostel we discovered that the labeled food we had left in the fridge had been stolen. Luckily, our dry food was still in the kitchen cubbies. Our luggage which we had locked in the storage shed was also unhampered with. After long anticipated showers we prepared our gear for the flight in the morning. Still full from the burgers and desserts,  but also still hungry, we ate dinner before collapsing to sleep.

7.7 miles

942ft ascent/ 1566ft descent

7.7 miles

942 ascent / 1566 descent

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