On our day off we decided to go for a nice evening walk to enjoy the sunset. But it was rather an evening hike - up to Roy's Peak - which is about 16km/6h return, with an elevation of about 1200m, according to the estimates.
We started around 5pm in Wanaka and walked towards the trail head. Walking the full way there would add another 6km of hiking in the heat, so we decided to try hitching. And it worked fine. After about ten minutes we got a ride out of town to the Carpark. From there we started up.
At that time of the day, most people came down from the peak instead of walking up. And it was so hot that even those coming down the mountain were sweating like crazy.
We walked up with good speed but took a few short breaks in the shade to cool down. This walk actually was one of the few times so far where we felt that all the hiking had actually improved our general fitness.
Then we reached the first point of interest - a lookout where people usually take a selfie of themselves and the view. We had a short stop to take said selfie ourselves (goodness we look tired and sweaty) and then we continued on to the summit.
At that point we seemed to be almost the only ones still walking up. Pretty much everyone else called it a day at the viewpoint, and when we got to the summit there was only one guy there, setting up his tent to spend the night.
We snacked some bread and hummus and then waited. Due to the hitch and the fast pace we were way to early for sunset. After a while another couple showed up, and the sun then slowly started to set. We saw two more people coming towards the peak, but that was pretty much it. Not too busy today. That was of course nice but on the other hand got us a bit worried, as we had hoped to catch a ride with someone else going back to town later.
The sun set - and it was beautiful. It also started to get really cold and really dark fast. So we started back down before the sun had completely set - and regretted it because there were a few more spectacular light changes. Fortunately there were enough good viewpoints to enjoy them anyways.
We made it about halfway back down the mountain before we had to turn on our flashlights because I just couldn't see anymore. Shortly after we met some Asian people who had been up to the viewpoint with their child, and were now slowly making their way back down - without any light. After a short small talk they ended up offering us a ride back. We were super grateful for that and in return offered them one of our headlamps for the way down.
In the end we returned to our tent around midnight, tired and knowing that tomorrow's walking section would be really hard.