I’m writing this early in the morning on my zero day in Te Anau, so it may be a bit premature but I didn’t need police involvement last night and probably won’t tonight!
On the docket for today is first and foremost: coffee. When I first came to New Zealand in November 2016, I was not at all aware of their coffee obsession. One of the things I always worry about when I travel is where I’ll be getting coffee. I’m too lazy to carry a rig and make my own, especially because I’d prefer to patronize local coffee shops if available, so finding a good anchor coffee shop wherever I go is a priority. I needn’t worry about that here. When I first landed in Auckland and made it out through customs and such I hooked a left out of the doors of the international terminal and there was a little cart (think Portland food cart) serving coffee. I quickly got in line then quickly realized that my usual: 12oz Americano, was likely to get me a blank look. So I whipped out my phone and frantically tried to figure out what I should order. Next thing I know it’s my turn and the guy behind the counter is looking at me expectantly. “12oz Americano?” I say. The guy behind the counter and the guy who was ahead of me in line both laugh and immediately start taking the piss. Guy behind the counter tells me Starbucks is downtown. I laugh. They inform me that a long black is what I’m after, and after some more culture shock of not needing to sign the receipt and being told “we don’t tip here, mate” I was far less worried about the coffee situation. See, New Zealand loves coffee. Big time. It’s actually harder to find bad coffee here than it is to find good coffee most anywhere else. So I immediately was in love. Evidence to this is the fact that last night the touristy bar, burger place I ate dinner at in a touristy town had a La Marzocco and a competent barista behind the wheel. At a bar. A tourist bar. In a tourist town.
One thing New Zealand also does really well is breakfast. When I was cruising around last year I kept seeing signs advertising “all day breakfast” and thought it was cool there were so many places that always had breakfast. Well, they do. But “all day breakfast” is actually a dish here. It’s called that because it’s all you need to eat all day (unless you’re a TA hiker, then it’s a decent appetizer to first breakfast). It usually has eggs, a huge pile of bacon, grilled mushrooms, hash browns, toast, sausage, and my favorite: grilled tomatoes. Something about the way kiwis cook their tomatoes is just the best. The best ones I had were at a place in Christchurch called The Caffeine Lab, I think they used charcoal or something it had a very nice smokey flavor.
Anyways, so I have in front of me an all day breakfast and a long black and am content with the world.
Also on the docket today is grocery shopping. I need 5 days worth of food for the next leg which will take me to Queenstown. It’s entirely possible I’ll only be taking 4 days to get up there but that means 3 long days in a row so I might break it up a bit more. Really loving that the farther north I get seemingly the more choice I have with regard to day length. Up until this last section it’s fairly rigid where your stopping points are unless you want to try to free camp somewhere but even along most of the route so far that hasn’t been legal, and in many places would have been quite difficult. Plus I like to have water and a toilet nearby at the very least, even if it is just a stream and a long drop (in that order), it feels better than just pitching up any old place. Plus there’s the possibility of running into other hikers along the trail which is always fun!
Aside from that it’s mostly just relax and enjoy the town a bit. I already did laundry. I already hit up the local sports store to replace some gear that either was not working out or I’d burned like an idiot, so most of my errands are done. I got some stamps, need to get some postcards and fire them off.
Likely I’m going to do a Lake Te Anau cruise, glow worm cave, and hit up the bird sanctuary. For food I’ll probably have pizza for dinner, a big milkshake somewhere for lunch and afternoon tea on the lake cruise.
Oh and I still have the rest of that 6 pack of coke to drink. I tell you, with a huge shoutout to /r/hailcorporate, there’s very little as satisfying as an ice cold coke when I get done hiking for the day. I’ll be including some in any resupply boxes I send out going forward just to have on hand when I arrive, along with Tim Tams.
I’ll post some pictures later. It’s super super pretty here. Lots of tourists but it seems like a pretty chill, laid back kind of place. I like it a lot.