Horseback circumnavigation of South Island reaches southernmost point
A young Marahau woman circumnavigating the South Island's coast on horseback has reached its southernmost point.
The 21-year-old Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten teacher, Marie Palzer and her horse, Spirit have travelled more than 1500km for a fundraising campaign she calls, "Hoofing around for Change".
Money raised will go to the micro-enterprise sector of Tearfund in Ethiopia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and India.
Earlier this week, Palzer had raised a little over $2000.
The journey began on January 25, when Palzer travelled over the Takaka Hill and rode to Farewell Spit before heading South.
Today, the pair will reach the rugged Slope Point in the Caitlins.
Palzer said her and Spirit have endured some challenges, including getting stuck, lost, negotiating the big roads with fast traffic, back-country river crossing and riding through miserable, wet and windy weather conditions.
"But there have been moments when I have literally had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. I was fully dependent on myself and Spirit, and we explored the most amazing places, places I call nature wonderlands," she said.
A highlight, said Palzer, was galloping down the vast expanse of the famous Oreti beach from the Kiwi movieThe World's Fastest Indian.
"Ive really enjoyed crossing the high country stations around Lake Wanaka and Lake Wakatipu. Lord of the Rings country at Mavora Lakes was also one of my favourite spots."
She has decided to cut the trip short a few months and "bunny hop" her way up the eastern coast. She now expects to arrive back at her Marahau home end of May.
"It's not very enjoyable for me or my horse on the road with the traffic. People don't have any tolerance for horses on the road. It was frightening at times."
Palzer is the only person to ever ride from the northernmost point of the South Island to the southernmost point, alone and without a pack horse.
The hardest part of the journey has been knowing its coming to an end, she said.
"Im really going to struggle living a normal day-to-day life again. I've started thinking about my next adventure: maybe a sea kayak mission or a tramp in the Himalayas."