Day 15: (November 19th) 11.4mi/18.3km Nikau Bay camp to Taiharuru camp
I get a planned late start, for the timing of today’s estuary crossings. The first crossing isn’t bad, only mid-thigh deep.
The are many other hikers around us, I think there were15 people crossing today!
After 10km, we hit the next estuary crossing. This one was much wider, and seemed more worrisome. We were kind of racing between the two crossings, to try to hit the lowest tide at both of them. After a few minutes of poking around the tidal mud, we found the proper (shallowest) place.
The crossing went fine, again only mid-thigh deep, with no current. After crossing, one of the hikers fell in the thick mud on the shore. Oops!
The camping options in this area are rather limited, so we opted for a shorter day, and stayed at a spot a few kms after the last river. A local 16-year old had set up a camping area, and even had an old trailer setup for showers, kitchen, and a sitting area!
A few other hikers joined the 4 of us, including a kiwi couple, Ben and Amy. We had a very entertaining group!
Amanda “grocery shopping” in the rubbish bin.
Its rains for an hour, so we hang out inside for the evening. After a nice shower and dinner, I went to bed early, a big day planned tomorrow!
Day 16: (November 20th) 22.2mi/35.8km Taiharuru camp to Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park
I got up and moving on trail early, at 6:30am, for the long distance to cover today. It was very cold (7C), but the views were incredible!
By the time we got to the beach section, it was a little warmer.
Our view for the next couple hours.
The hills that are at the end of the beach in that photo, we climbed up, they are about 300m high.
The view from the top, back to the beach.
Another view, looking west.
The route traverses the ridge, with many good views. Some hikers accidentally make the wrong turn here, and have to to a roadwalk!
The trail drops off the ridge, and heads towards a harbor. On the nicer tracks, the DOC has installed stairs!
I meet up with the group around 1pm, waiting at a dairy. It’s cash-only, so I’m able to exercise some willpower and skip the milkshake this time!
There is a harbor crossing, with a boat that will pick you up, for a nominal fee. Since the boat usually arrives at 3pm, we get there early at 2pm. After several passing thunderstorms, and a comedy of errors, we finally get a ride across with some sympathetic locals!
Ruben is always ready for the camera!
The boat drops us off, and we walk the remaining 10km to the holiday park. It rains…hard. I love my umbrella! And we are thankful to be staying in a cabin tonight!
Day 17: (November 21st) 10.5mi/16.8km Ruakaka camp to Camp Waipu Cove
Another rainy day! We wake up in the cabin, and it’s pouring out. It stops around 9am, so we head out shortly after. It’s only 12km to the next town, where there is a pizza place & brewery! And just as important, an indoor spot to escape the forecasted rain!
The rainy beach walk.
At lunch, Ruben, Andrea, Amanda and I celebrate the 400km milestone…using pizza and chips (fries)!
We lounge around for a couple hours, but then venture out into the gloomy skies. It’s another 12km to our destination, and I use my umbrella for most of it. It’s not quite raining, but “mizzling” (thanks Andrea for the new word!)
Ruben joins the 4 of us, and we all split a cabin at Camp Waipu Cove holiday park. There is a playground on site, so some shenanigans ensued.
It rains again after dinner, and it’s nice to be going to bed early…and indoors!
Day 18: (November 22nd) 18.4mi/29.7km Camp Waipu Cove to Riverside Holiday Park
Ruben, Andrea and Amanda all get an early start, as the weather looks nice. I make a hot breakfast (which I almost never do), so I don’t get moving on trail until almost 8am.
It’s a nice morning!
I walk alone all morning, enjoying the green countryside and blue skies. After a couple hours in a forest, the trail begins to approach the sea again.
I meet up for lunch with Achille, Andrea and Amanda in town. I get too much food (as usual), but it’s so delicious!
Today is Thanksgiving, so we stop at a grocery to try and get some stuff. No turkey, but I pick up chicken, gravy, and apple cider. And the usual suspects get some wine!
American Thanksgiving in NZ!
We hang out in the lounge room, and have fun messing around with the piano and other toys. A good holiday!
Day 19: (November 23rd) 20.5mi/33.0km Riverside Holiday Park to Govan Wilson Road
A big day! I didn’t know exactly how long it would be, as camping options are a bit nebulous around this part.
The entire morning was a beach walk. The last long one too, I believe.
There are two spots on the beach where a small stream crossing is necessary, obviously easier at a lower tide. The first crossing was only a couple meters wide, and quite shallow:
The other crossing was 20m wide, but also only knee deep, so easy. We caught a nice lunch break at the end of the beach, under a shady tree.
Then, onto the forest!
It started off nice…
Then it became a root-y mess. This spot is especially confusing, as the sign blocks the trail, and sub-consciously diverts you the wrong way. Oops!
Our intended camping spot was overgrown with gorse (a thick, sharp grassy plant), so I texted a local who offers his garage to hikers. Matt replied back with an invitation, so off we went! We arrived at 6pm, though he did get home until an hour later. So we made dinner and hung out with the resident chicken, “Jamie”
We set up in the garage. So nice and dry!
Another long day, some rain, and a dry bed!
Day 20: (November 24th) 20.2mi/32.5km Govan Wilson Road to J Tolhopf Road
Guess what…it rained again last night! And, most of the morning too.
My umbrella hasn’t dried out in awhile!
We hike all morning thru the Dome Forest, which is muddy, but not too bad considering all the recent rains. Our planned lunch spot is the Done Cafe, and I make it there just before noon. Then at noon, it starts raining HARD. And sideways. Nice to be inside!
After a couple hours indoors avoiding the hardest of the rain, we venture out after 2pm to finish the day. It’s mostly walking on farm roads, and is nice to be out of the muddy forest. Along the way, we hit the 500km marker!
After a couple more hours of hiking, it’s getting late, so we knock on a door, and a very friendly nice older woman answers. She says we can camp on her lawn, but it’s forecast to rain tonight, so she calls up her neighbor, and he invites us to sleep in his barn. Score!
Hopefully this rainy spell ends soon. But for now, another dry night “indoors”!