Breathtaking, breathtaking and breathtaking. Te Araroa Trail, NZ
Ruakaka to Dome Forest
Beautiful beaches, stretching for kilometres have been our pleasure to walk. Some of the forests have been breathtaking too…tiring!
Leaving Ruakaka beach for Waipu Cove, junior life saving championships, all activity and crowds, slowed our receding high tide way.
Further on, entertainment of a different sort when we realized we were overdressed for this stretch of beach. Young guys were circumspect in their undress but an old bloke sitting at the back of his van thought I might enjoy his red protrusion, his red legs splayed, his red belly big and bulging. I cooly said hello and walked on by. Hope I spoilt his sport by not reacting. Breathtaking not!
Waipu Cove to Mangawhai Heads My cheeks red and running with sweat but breathtaking panoramic views are ours. Climbing, climbing, climbing, first a gravel road past houses interesting in Kiwi architecture, leading to kms of forestry road, which is blessedly quiet today. Great bulldozers and trucks, small tractors at idle. It is Sunday; we are spared noise and dust and danger.
The views back to Ruakaka and Whangarei Heads are panoramic. Can we capture adequately this beautiful scenery on our iPhone 6? We photograph, often.
Climbing and descending then climbing once more, through native forest. Beautiful and shady, my cheeks cooling through Brynderwyn Scenic Reserve.
Climbing, climbing, farmland now. Very steep, our track a zigzag, helpful to ascent. My cheeks red and running with sweat. The sun overhead beats down mercilessly. So very hot enroute to Mangawhei Heads having left on this morning from Waipu Cove.
My cheeks red and running with sweat,
My body exerted, exhausted but now exhilarated. The climb this day rewarded some more. The views along Mangawhei Heads Cliff Walkway are breathtaking. And the swim when reaching the beach was welcome and cooling, refreshing. We stay this night at a backpackers in Mangawhei Heads; the 5km to the campground at Mangawhei after 26kms is 5kms too far, the free comedy show at the Alehouse and threatening rain, the reasons!
Mangawhai Heads to Pakiri Beach Campgrounds. A breathtakingly solitary walk with receding tide waves smacking shore, leaving firmer sand underfoot. Sea grass heads rolled with the winds and danced the waves until too heavy with water. The breeze is cooling. Birdlife of tern and oyster catchers waded and fished from time to time. We met a DOC employee who was photographing sea birds; the fairy tern on the endangered list are banded and recorded. We were delighted as she spied one as she talked with us.
We lunched at Te Arai reserve where families played and surfed, horse riders stopped and talked and where young beautiful girls in bikinis spent an hour photographing themselves on their phones, atop a rocky mound.
Pakiri Beach to Dome Forest. A breathtaking day of a different sort. A tough 26 km day. Knees ached, feet ached, legs ached, shoulders weary as we tramped steep and hard underfoot farmland (what was very wet and muddy has hardened making the track difficult to tread) followed by kilometers of forest tracks that were a constant snarl of tree roots. Challenging and wearying on body and psyche. Definitely out of the Comfort Zone! However, we were very grateful at late days end to reach our abode for the night at Annie’s B and B, 3kms south of the Dome Forest. Our lodging had been upgraded (was it the phone call to let them know our way was harder and slower going than expected?) to a little cottage splendid in decor and comfort. The bathroom decked out with generous toiletries and big fluffy towels, the fridge stocked with fruit juice (absolutely goes down a treat when you are hot and tired), chocolate biscuits, chocolates, milk, fruit in a bowl and plunger coffee at the ready. Our host was in town on our arrival and bought requested groceries and wine for us (there are no shops within our cooee). The bed was voluptuous and the cooked breakfast next morning was amazing.
Notes from the trail:
John says he’s lost his bum! But he didn’t have a bum to start with! Walking long distance and weight loss. We eat well though.
Do we at heart crave simplicity? What makes camping so attractive. Even the caravaners with their upmarket facility wash dishes outside in bowls, seated on a temporary seat, make the trek to queue for a token fed shower or the loos. Reduced in habitat, compact but it would seem, freer. Simplicity maybe, stress free definitely but oh, we do like our comforts, at least we two do. A comfy bed, a glass of red, a satisfying meal, the sounds of silence, broken only by water of stream and beach and the call of the birds, the satisfaction of a good days walking. Each day different in landscape, conversation and habitat. Ours for the taking.
Life essentials. Toilet paper is up there but sanitary comfort aside, water is a definite. Our camel bladders are fantastic and we drink often and easily as we walk and on very hot days, carrying enough water is on our minds. There has been little rain and local newspapers are now reporting water shortages throughout Northland. Drought is entering the conversation as is conserving water supplies. Mangawhei Heads local 4 Square shop has had to plug the outside tap as people are stealing water.
This missive posted from Orewa where we are resting a day. We have walked 546kms of this Te Araroa trail.
Having difficulty uploading more photos (usual story…most places have very slow wifi) However, if 20 or more photos follow this, I’ve succeeded hopefully with captions! 😃
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