If a Queenstown ski lift team leader had a dollar for every kilometre he’d just walked … he’d have $3000.
And actually, he does.
Scotsman Richy Ainsworth, 26, raised a buck for each of the 3000 kilometres he walked in 175 days after leaving Cape Reinga with a laden backpack.
The Coronet Peak staffer completed his length-of-the-country mission last week, arriving at Sterling Point in Southland.
Ainsworth donated the $3000 to charity KidsCan, which aims to meet the needs of under-privileged Kiwi kids.
“It’s a beautiful way to see the country but I think cycle touring’s probably a better option,” Ainsworth half-jokes.
“I suppose you wouldn’t get all the wonderful views though from up the mountains cycle touring so it’s a trade-off.
“I did some sections where you have to carry 10 days’ worth of food and that breaks your back. For the first four days, walking Ninety Mile Beach, my bag weighed about 27kgs and all I could think about was what I was going to throw away.”
Ainsworth says a highlight of his Te Araroa (NZ foot trail) adventure was getting back to the South Island.
“It’s all fantastic actual hiking tracks whereas there’s a lot of road walking up north. Another highlight was a week kayaking Whanganui River.”
Partner Taylor greeted him at the finish – six months after dropping him off.
“Some days when the weather’s bad and all your stuff is wet, and you have to camp, you think ‘Why am I doing this, why didn’t I go to Bali?’
“But I got to meet so many people in little communities and it was worth it.”