Te Araroa Trail – Day 124

Sunday March 10, 2024
Distance/ Total: 23.4 km / 14.5 mi

We were up and on the trail about 7:15am this morning. The trail from Roses Hut started with a 540m climb up to Roses Saddle. The trail was steep but in very good condition and we made it to the top in about 1.5 hours. From the top of the saddle we had great views back into the Motatapu River Valley and ahead into the Arrow River Valley.

The trail down into the valley followed the ridgeline down eventually reaching the valley floor at the Glade Burn confluence. From here the trail dropped into the Arrow River and we walked through the river for the next 4.5 kilometers. The water was extremely cold and it didn’t take long for our feet and toes to become numb in the cold water. We did get some relief when the trail would go up onto a low bench for awhile, but even then we would be walking through frost covered grass.

We reached the historic gold mining town of Macetown about noon and stopped just past the town area to eat lunch. Back on the trail it was a short walk down a 4WD road (still crossing the river every few hundred feet).

We turned off the 4WD road at the Big Hill track and started our 2nd 500m climb for the day. This trail climbed up to a ridge line and followed the ridge about 2/3 of the way up the mountain. The ridge ended and the trail continued on up a grassy valley to Big Hill Saddle. Reaching the saddle we had views into the next valley, but couldn’t see our destination for the night – Arrowtown.

As we began descending into the valley Arrowtown and even over to Frankton became visible from the trail. The trail down was another one of the nicest trails on the TA. It was mostly a well formed sidehill trail with a gradual descent into the valley. The trail wound along the mountain side and through some beech forest making the trail seem even nicer.

There were a few steep sections near the bottom of the descent and then the trail leveled out and followed Bush Creek into the town of Arrowtown. We headed to the Holiday Park and checked in, set up our tent, and made some shuttle arrangements to get us from Queenstown to the Routeburn Trail on Tuesday morning.

We went into town for dinner and I order Pork Ribs with Texas Style BBQ sauce. Unfortunately they had obviously never been to Texas as the ribs were just covered in tomato sauce – bland tomato sauce. Despite the disappointment in the sauce it was a lot of meat to eat and I did my best to finish them off. I ended up giving a few ribs to Shaun as I just couldn’t finish them all.

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