9. Freshwater – Oban

Sunday, February 19: Sunny & very warm, with a couple of clouds at different levels


I was up on time & Frank slept in a little – he had next to nothing to pack, so that would be no problem. I finished off the muesli bars, egg, coffee and started packing up what was left. Spot tracker was activated, and I could see that the American couple had arrived just after 8:00 which they told me required leaving @ 4:00 & very slow progress throughout in the darkness. I had just gotten all of my stuff together and was about to start the GPS when I heard the boat arrive. Sent Frank over first and was on the boat with the uninitialised GPS a couple of minutes later, and paid my fare. Two Doc rangers were already on board and we only were waiting for a third to turn up from Mason Bay, which he soon did and off & away we were. It was a very early start (8:45) because the high tide was going to be very low. Got out the camera for some shots from the river & the inlet. Quite spectacular with very bright & contrastive colours.

Water taxi route from Freshwater to Oban. GPS quality: 30/30, coverage: 100%, download: Freshwater - Oban (water taxi) GPX (111 downloads)
Can’t see map? Click here!

Instead of landing in Golden Bay we went around the heads to Oban (possibly because the Doc staff were on board) – the change from Paterson Inlet to the Foveaux Strait was quite noticeable. We were in Oban by 9:30 & quickly off the boat. Frank invited me for a cappuccino which lasted until about 11:00, then we parted company – he to his hotel room @ South Sea Hotel, and me to see what room I was getting @ Bunkers. Turns out I am getting the same room as last time (Doughboys – double, little more than space for the bed), rather than the twin room opposite I had been wanting to book twice (larger room, only a single rather than a double duvet/sheet/pillow cases which would have to be swapped out). But apparently a couple have booked the twin for three nights and doesn’t want to change rooms for one night.

My room was not yet made up, however, so I had lunch – the last of the salami, crackers, a bottle of Bundaberg ginger ale and a nondescript orange I had picked up at the supermarket before heading to the hostel. Then I was in my room.

Still a little time to kill before the washing machine could be accessed, so I went on the prowl for a hat. Would love to spend the last day in a boat and for that the lost hat would have to be replaced. None of the souvenir/clothing shops seemed to have anything suitable (except beanies), and the supermarket had an overly expensive baseball cap for $20 and straw hats with narrow brims (not what is needed) for an unknown price. Looks like paddling with sunscreen tomorrow, then.

Back here had a short wait before the staff on duty, Jake, an American, gave the OK for the washing machine; had to shower first (“there is something wrong with this tap – hot water comes out of it”) and then all of the stuff was delivered up as an offering to Maytag.

While that was churning along I chatted with the NZ couple from the Mason Bay track yesterday until they left. As I was in my pjs the sandfly bites could be attended to – two on the left knee, one on the right, one on the left calf. They sure like knees. However, the local anaesthetic seems to be doing its job. Then I chatted with an AUS/DK couple (she was an applied linguist) with very large packs who were due out on the last ferry.

In the meantime the hiking stuff had dried enough to be worn and it was nearing time for my reservation at SSH. Had a look at Aihe/Outdoor Adventure, which may have hats and that would save a burned scalp regardless of whether kayaking or tramping tomorrow.

Frank was strategically placed in front of the pub when I went down & we said hello briefly – he was in conversation with another guy. I proceeded to the restaurant, having basically made up my mind for a burger. I was given a table with a view that had to be photographed. Burger, chips & salad was $20, and in portions that were unfathomable after the last couple of days. Chatted with Frank and his friend for a while on the way out, watched the people coming off the late ferry, including a group of cyclists (!) and a guy trundling a tender, which was later hooked up as a trailer to a car. Took down the washing here, and the room is still mega hot.