Three dedicated trampers walking the length of New Zealand are resting their feet for a few nights in Queenstown.
Landey Patton, 23, and brothers Anders, 23, and Damienmarc Ford, 19, have been on the road following the Te Araroa Trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff for 140 days.
So far the Englishmen have fundraised almost $US5000 for charities Solar Light for Africa and WaterAid on their mammoth 3030km mission.
The trekking trio haven’t forked out more than $3000 on their four-month hike, living off a diet of couscous, porridge and peanut butter for energy – they devour 1kg every few days.
Tasty Trek, as they’re called, mostly camped in the North Island and have stayed in backcountry huts in the South Island, with couch surfing and some dossing thrown in.
Anders says with their minimalistic wardrobe “we’re kind of stuck looking like hobos,” – not ideal when they were shouted a free meal by upmarket local eatery Flame.
Their growth of stubble is also testament to the basic lifestyle the lads have been living, but Patton claims: “It’s the best way to see a country. We get to see so many more things.”
The idea was the Ford brothers’ brainchild after the Dubai-based family visited Northland’s 90 Mile Beach a few years ago.
Initially they thought it’d be fun to walk its length, and eventually a plan to walk the whole country was hatched.
“We all wanted to go travelling, and we just wanted to do something awesome and adventurous,” Damienmarc, on a gap-year before studying product design at Brunel University, says.
Patton, who like Anders is a master’s graduate from Imperial College in London, tagged along.
Bubbles, Bluff oysters and blue cod are on the celebratory menu when they finally hit the iconic Bluff signpost.
Damienmarc could even be setting a record when he arrives in Bluff – they believe he’ll be the youngest male to walk the length of NZ on the Te Araroa Track.
But they’re not stopping there.
As if walking the entire country isn’t enough, the threesome are planning on hiking round Stewart Island as well to make up a few miles they missed when sick with food poisoning or the terrain was too dangerous.
After NZ, the team then heads to Thailand in May.