I’m in Hokitika right now after having hiked south for 27 consective days – it has been a great trip so far in outstanding weather conditions. The Te Araroa offered some nice sections, in particular in the southern Richmond Range and in Nelson Lakes National Park, but also a lot of valley hiking, and I was thrilled to switch to my own route through Arthurs Pass National Park, where I crossed 6 passes – most of them pretty alpine – in 2 days. West Coast travel is rough with heavy bushwhacking below 1200m, a lot of riverbed travel, and many river fordings and slips/landslides to navigate.
The weather forecast for the next few days does not look very good, however, with quite some rain, and fresh snow down to 1000m early next week. My next stretch to Erewhon involves 4 more days of rough West Coast travel, fording the Rakaia River down Whitcombe Pass (by far the largest ford of the trip, on a place where accidents have happened before in sub-optimal conditions), and the crossing of Buttler Saddle, one of the more serious passes of the trip. This all felt like a dangerous cocktail to me, which could have kept my tent- or hut-bound for several days waiting for improving conditions. It is impossible to detour around the Rakaia ford. Therefore I have decided to hitchhike to Erewhon, and rather use those days to fully enjoy the next few weeks of my trip, which should be the very best!
In a few days you should be able to view my progress again through this link (thanks Thomas!): http://parnakra.github.io/map.html