Honeymoon on a boot string.

Dolly and Johnathan Bain from Melbourne contemplate the last section of their ‘honeymoon on a boot string’ walk along Te Araroa, finishing at Bluff after 1500 kilometres with Johnathan’s boot wondering if it will make it.

What a way to spend the first 3 months of their married life. Johnathan and Dolly Bain from Melbourne have completed the South Island section of Te Araroa, the Long Pathway, starting at Picton’s Queen Charlotte Track and ending at Bluff.

‘’We got to know each other on a more intimate level, being with each other 24/ 7 in the backcountry,‘’ Johnathan said. ‘’Over this time, being removed from society, gave us a different perspective and set of values.’’

They agreed they rediscovered a life of simplicity; the pleasure of a meal, bed and appreciating the natural landscapes. With people along the way sharing tips, recipes and stories, they discovered a sense of community in the back country.

‘’We learned what is important on our spiritual journey, along with personal growth‘’ Dolly said.

Because Te Araroa is not officially open yet, extensive planning over many months was needed. Physical training included mid-week swims and weekend tramping, ready for their adventure. It was fulfilling to finally be on the tracks with a real sense of the big picture of the South Island they said

They constantly adapted their menu with one surprise favourite being weetbix, with smart decisions helping with pack weights and ensuring their 1500 kilometre journey was both realistic and enjoyable. For them walking the whole way was significant so they turned down lifts along the highway, trying to stay on tracks as much as possible.

‘’The Longwoods were amazing and we gained a lot of respect for the goldminers who worked in such difficult terrain,’’ Dolly said. ’’We found the Port’s Water-race track and the Long Hilly connection there, lush and beautiful.’’

Johnathan felt the Longwoods were a bit like Lord of the Rings’ Fangorn Forest with its foreboding reputation, discouraging people from finding its hidden gems.

They appreciated the hospitality along the way. One example of this included a butcher providing sausages and home-grown vegetables for their evening meal, topped off by a freshly caught trout for breakfast.

‘’We had a fantastic night at The Swamp at Nightcaps with southern hospitality and our hosts going out of their way to make us feel comfortable and special,’’ Dolly said.
‘’Reaching Bluff is the end of this pilgrimage but we are already planning what we might do next time.’’