It’s really here!
Im really doing this!
I spent the night in Kerikeri, with friends. Who were very generous to house and feed me! Big thank you to the Ellicott family, I’ll see you in about 10 days time as I pass back through Kerikeri.
The cape to Ahipara
I took a ride up to the Cape on a Fuller’s bus, our guide was brilliant, and loved what I was trying to do. So much so, he decided to add it to his tour commentry for the day. Turns out I’m not so keen on being the center of attention! But the other passengers were very supportive of my plans and all sent me off on the trail with best wishes and hi-5s.
A few of them were kind enough to take my picture too!
The trail wraps around the coast, from Cape Reinga towards Cape Maria Van Diemen, then along to Twighlight beach, a wild environment with some great views. You’ll never capture how this place makes you feel in a photograph. Daunting dunes and distances, sand draing your effort, and not a soul to interrupt it.
Except my new friends from stateside! Dan and Emma. They’re also walking Te Araroa.
We spent the night at a campsite in Twighlight beach. It was quite comfortable, however we did have to put up with a thunderstorm overnight. And my tent slightly collapsed on me. Our 28km hike to the next camp at “the bluff” started pretty nicely, until we got our first taste of 90 mile beach. I’ll admit, other people’s blisters I blamed on their own failings, but once that sand gets into your shoes it’s difficult to avoid. My feet are very uncomfortable.
Another very wet night spent at “the Bluff” campsite. Where I briefly met Hannah and Rob, the readheads from California who I’ve been chatting to on Instagram, and Val, a Te Araroa walker from France.
Another big 30km day to the wonderful Utea park, where I splashed out for a cabin and a shower after hearing about the winds coming in the morning.
I had intended on a real early start, and trying to push all the way to Ahipara, another 30km day but I woke from a broken nights sleep with very swollen and painful feet. Deciding a late start was in order. Instead taking the easier option of 16km to the next camp. And then a second short day with time to resupply, Planning ahead to be better rested and ready for the now very wet northern forests.
But nothing went to plan, with my feet still very swollen I set off and trudged slowly through the driving wind and rain to my destination at Waipapakauri.
Waipapkauri was quite disheartening, I struggled to reach it. The weather was grey and my mood reflected it. Luckily I met a lovely German man, Tim, who was just such a pleasure to talk to that I couldn’t stay so gloomy.
I picked up a trashy book to past the time and ended up delaying leaving in the morning to finish it. – thanks Jack Reacher- but I still made it to Ahipara very quickly! And got to see a few Orcas chasing sting rays along the beach. Once in town I made my first hitch for the trip. A big thank you to Norma-Jean and her 7 dogs! Who went out of her way to take me to the supermarket. Another West Auckland legend. Tonight I’ll stay in Ahipara Yha, and probably tomorrow night too. My blisters won’t heal on the trail and one appears to be quite infected, rest is very important!
Sadly the beach didn’t photograph very well. And I would say I did not enjoy it. It was painful at best.