Day 34: (December 8th) 22.9mi/36.8km Mangaokewa Road campsite to Ngaherenga campsite
I’m awake at the usual 6:30am, and walking at 7:15. It’s cold in the morning, so I keep an extra layer on for a couple of hours. The entire day is a roadwalk, and I only see 3 cars and 0 other hikers all morning.
But, I do see a nice “900” km sign someone made!
It gets hot by noon, and I pass Andrew (US), drying his tent and eating lunch. I stop for lunch an hour later, and we leapfrog again.
The next road is paved, and it’s a very hot 8km, and I’m glad to arrive at the campsite. I see the usual suspects at camp (Paul, Andrew, Andrea, Nathan), and Franzi, a Swedish duo, and a US couple show up later.
Some car campers are staying nearby, and they give us their extra food! Sausages, amazing!
Day 35: (December 9th) 22.9mi/36.9km Ngaherenga campsite to Piropiro campsite
As usual, I start hiking a little after 7am, and it’s fleece/hat weather. Today is the start of the Timber trail, a long bike trail that is very well maintained.
After a couple of hours, there is a side trail to the small summit of Pureora mountain. Franzi & I dash up to the summit, where there are great views of our upcoming terrain – Tongariro NP and Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu.
The trail is also very well signed. Even cell phone spots!
The Timber trail is also known for some very long suspension bridges (“swingbridge”).
The day was a nice relaxing cruise on a nice trail, and in good weather!
We got to camp at 5pm, and enjoyed some extended sitting time!
Day 36: (December 10th) 26.0mi/41.7km Piripiro campsite to Bennett Road campsite
There is so much to look at on this section! Since the trail is so good, I can look around and see the views, and not just my feet.
After the temperature warmed up, I had my usual 2nd breakfast.
This part of the forest was historically used for logging, and there is alot of old infrastructure that is on display.
There is even an old railroad loop that the path follows, and it goes thru a tunnel to cross itself. Cool!
The other landmark today was the 1000km spot!
We got to camp at 5:30pm, and Franzi and I sleep in the little hut, while Paul and Andrew choose to camp. I just don’t trust the weather around here….
Day 37: (December 11th) 15.9mi/25.7km Bennett Road campsite to Taumarunui
Today is a town day, and a short 25km walk, so it was easy to get up early. I was walking at 6:30am, planning to be in town for lunch & milkshakes! It’s an easy dirt road walk thru sheep country.
The rain held off, an I arrived to town still dry. I met Andrea for lunch at a Thai food place, then we all organized the upcoming canoe section.
It looks like there will be 8 of us (2 per canoe), departing on December 20th, and arriving at a holiday park on the 24th, for a total of 5 days on the Whanganui River. Since the canoe company will transport our food along with the canoes, we go a little crazy during the grocery shopping. Wine, sauces, fruit… weight is no issue!
We hitch to a holiday park, and hang out for a few hours until dinner.