I had booked an AirBnB since that was the only affordable accommodation somehow close to the Peel Forest where I wanted to go. I was staying with Jero and Vicky in Coldstream, a couple from Urugay. This is a place I would have never seen without AirBnB. After driving for about 4 hours I arrived at their house which is a little in the middle of nowhere but close to the beach and very quiet. Jero was home when I arrived but just on the run for some work errand. He let me in and took off. I put my cooling stuff in the fridge and took a nap. Since I didn´t know if I could just leave the door open or not and nobody was home, I just stayed back and worked on my laptop until Jero and Vicky came back from work. I got a towel and took a shower before cooking dinner and having a nice chat with them. The next morning I drove about 45 minutes to Peel Forest. I first did the Big Tree walk – only a 30 minute round trip.
Then I got to the other carpark and did the Rata Falls Track (2 hours return). The first 20 minutes were easy, after that it got a bit difficult to find the track and I had to cross the stream like a hundred times. It was more finding your own way through and along the stream somehow until getting to the waterfall, often more climbing than walking. But it was really nice! I did my lunch break close to the Rata Falls. There was nobody. Haven´t met one single person on both tracks.
I walked back to the fork in the path were it got off to the Emily Falls Track (1.5 hours) and did that too. That one was a lot easier than the Rata Falls Track and I met 3 people, a couple at the falls and one guy when I reached the fork again.
Back to the parking lot I sat in the sun on the pick nick table for a while, chilling and writing my diary.
Another 45 minutes´ drive back, shower, laundry, nap, cooking and dinner and later Vicky and Jero took me to Ashburton (the next bigger village about 30 minutes away) to go to a pub for a beer and a game of pool.
The next morning after breakfast I quickly went to the beach which is just across the street to the house and walked around a bit there,
before walking back, packing up my stuff and leaving for Lake Tekapo.
Was really nice staying with Jero and Vicky, we had some really nice chats and they made me feel at home. The Peel Forest is also very nice and there are a few more tracks than the ones I did. If you love woods and water and hiking, that is the perfect place.