400kms walked from Cape Reinga – Ruakaka Beach past Marsden Point
On the road again!
Back On Track – Te Araroa Trail
Wonderful to be back on the TA trail. Wonderful to be back walking with intent, one step at a time, to Wellington. Wonderful to be fresh having enjoyed respite from the backpacks over Christmas & New Year and to have celebrated the special festive time with NZ family & friends and our friends from Canada.
Guess what we did most ‘zero’ days? We walked…just to keep the feet and muscles in trail mode and to allow our Canadians a taste of NZ’s beautiful landscape!
(A zero day is a day off from the trail!)
Te Araroa Trail – From Cape Reinga to Kerikeri the trail coursed beach to forests to town. Demanding on feet, legs, backs and our determination to persevere; wet and sand laden footwear to mud that transformed clothing brown, erstwhile building tramping stamina over 220 kilometres. The psychological demand on tired bodies each day was rewarded in the conditions surmounted and Kms tallied and the tactile knowledge of beautiful sea and forest scape of some NZ wilderness. We celebrated with a high five at each day’s end…and a beer or wine if such could be located!
Kerikeri to Ruakaka
The gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands was ours to observe. Paihia, Opua, Waitangi. Our trail often climbed high so views to the variable, interesting coastline in sunshine and varied colours aquamarine were stunning. A holiday playground for many. Boats aplenty, and all campgrounds busy with holidaying families.
Tracks walked from Kerikeri to Ruakaka:
Waitangi Forest; mainly pine forest alive and loud with cicadas in full volume and with many mountain bike tracks with names such as Dead Possum, Nigel’s Nostril and Where Are You.
Waikere/Russell Forest Track; Serene native bush with ferns high and low, Nikau palms and active birdlife. Loved walking some of this the trail upriver. Back onto roadway the trail skirts Oakura, Helena Bay and Woolley Bay.
Morepork Track; Native bush. Easy walk to start but eventually toughens with steep inclines and equally steep declines. The signboard says 4.2km takes 2 hours.
Onekainga Track is a DOC track with native bush
Whananaki Coastal Track; a beautiful walk through private farmland. Stunning coastline encompassing many private beaches but also Sandy Bay, Whale Bay and Matapouri Bay.
Matapouri Forest track is privately owned and has many areas fenced for Kiwi preservation. What a privilege to walk through this beautiful forest. A special place. A spiritual place. I loved it and was sorry when nearby pine forest lay claim.
Tutukaka Forest and Conservation Area. DOC land and home to Tane Moana, an awesome impressive ancient Kauri tree.
Bream Head Track. Whangarei Heads. Steep but with awesome views back to Ocean Beach and Bream Bay. Tests your aerobic fitness!
Kiwi hospitality: Generosity, kindness and good cheer is also being tallied. New Zealanders generally are good sorts; kind, friendly and down to earth. The Te Araroa Trail is gaining recognition since opening in 2011 and from our experience thus far, walkers are acknowledged and given praise for committing to the TA challenge. Some are incredulous, ‘you’ve walked all the way from the Cape to here?’
We’ve met quite a few people who have been involved in the planning and creation of various stages of the trail. And small businesses are expanding, creating further campsites or accommodation and transport across estuaries.
Acknowledgements thus far:
Huatere Lodge, Ninety Mile Beach. Lovely facility. Gabriella was a wonderful host and cooked us a delicious snapper dinner.
Waipapakauri Caravan Park – for buying groceries and wine for us.
Ahipara YHA campsite – clean facilities and set in lovely grounds
Lisa & William McNabb Homestay, Diggers Valley. Loved our stay here with this beautiful family
Woodlands Motel, Kerikeri. Very pleasant facility and good price.
Tuis Nest, Opua. Joanna, a lovely lady, great value accommodation with awesome views.
Whananaki Campgrounds– Betty who runs the office looked after us. She has had involvement with nearby TA trail
Nikau Bay Campsite across from Ngururu. James Johnson, our host provided a boat ride across the estuary at Ngururu, the use of his house for showers and cooking and ‘to help ourselves to veges in the garden’.
Tidesong B & B Pautaua South. Hosts Hugh & Ros (a fellow TA walker) were wonderful. Beautiful home cooked evening meal and breakfast, and conversation. Gorgeous location in amongst trees on the estuary.
The TA trail is mutual in light commerce development as in benefits to the endeavor of the soul and connection to nature in all her diversity.
Te ara tawhiti -The path of distance
Te ara roa- The Long pathway
Te ara hau- The path of spiritual renewal
Notes From The Track.
The air is cool and continuing to cool, with a dampness to the air that is at once familiar. A tui calls adding to the moment. This is the coolness of a night in NZ, even in summer. Doesn’t stop the biting of mozzies and sand flies. Always was a tasty sandfly sting. Somethings don’t change with time. We are close to the Kerikeri River.
The grey warbler (Riroriro), is my friend. Heard but not seen, first time, in tough Raetea Forest and often times since. Flitting in the canopy of the forest, this little bird sings its trilling song, uplifting my spirit on upward slogs of the journey. Uncanny really. Just as an uplift in spirit is required, the grey warbler sings (and so do I), my smile in appreciation.
Hideaway spots. How awesome to camp in a hideaway, secure from wind and in solitude. A serenity and delight in this. (John is great at locating these!) Only the birds know our secret and they sing our awakening in the early morn. On occasion we’ve heard the nocturnal high pitched call of Kiwi, an endangered species. Now that is a treasure. Northland, NZ is active in Kiwi protection and restoration.
Kia Ora. This posting from Waipu Cove. We’ve covered 425 Kms thus far. Yah!!
photos to come! Wifi speed willing!
Sorry folks. Wifi is struggling. Photos uploading out of order and incredibly slowly!!! My phone batteyr also keeps running low.