In Havelock I learnt that it is true that NZ has bad weather. I took my first solo hike, a 45 minute walk into the woods, and felt moderately freaked out about being alone in the forests.

I hijacked Alison’s plans to join her walking the Nydia Track, in the Marlborough Sounds. The track itself was fairly plain, mainly in the treelines with the views somewhat hampered by the greenery, and certainly plain sailing. But in the middle of this two-day walk we stayed at On The Track Lodge, an absolutely gorgeous B&B hosted by a lovely family. The owner has made a central heating system from a huge log burner; Ewan would be envious. Some lucky folk were staying in the train carriage, complete with ensuite bathroom. I had a sense here of the potential of NZ to offer paradise-like surroundings. I fell in love with the bellbird, with its harmonic chime. And I learnt about sandflies, a cross between a midge and a mosquito with a nasty and lingering bite. The lodge’s homemade remedy for this – a lovely cocktail of baby oil and dettol, a recipe we learnt after we slathered it all over our skin – worked a treat.

Nydia Track: 27km over two days

Kilometer-o-meter: 38km

Havelock’s mini trails: 5km

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