Whangārei Heads

Day 18

Camped at the southern end of Ocean Beach for a reason, as today would be a big day. Not distance, but in terms of going up and going down. My fancy GPS watch reported that the day involved going up (and also down) 1,113 meters. Fortunately the legs felt ok after the effort. The Te Whara track was very nice and navigated through native bush, but it went up, then down, then up and then down. The trail builders had put in lots of steps and the trail was generally well constructed, so that made it a little easier. Today I walked with Diana, and we had a good sustained slow pace together. At the end of the forest track we added a few extra kms and had lunch at Smugglers Bay, a nice beach slightly off trail. For the first time on this trip, I managed to run out of water during lunch, but with good fortune there was a drinking tap a few kms later. The last 7kms were along a road. At the end of the road was a cafe, that supplied me with coffee, ice-cream, cheesecake, soft-drink (x2) and fish and chips. No cooking dinner tonight.

Our little group camped in the local reserve, which is allowed for 1 night. It had a toilet and running water. It also had fireworks from the town locals.

Plans have changed from finishing in Hamilton to finishing in Auckland, for this section. I will do the Hamilton to Auckland section in a few months. This revised plan is a good one, and means I can get back to Caroline quicker. After doing a little planning, looks like another 8 walking days which I will squeeze into 9 days, and therefore will take a rest day somewhere along the way. Everyone is trying to work out good campsites for the next few days, including me. Tomorrow we can resupply.

Never a good sign, when it takes 5 to 6 hours to do 7.5 kms.
Top of Te Whara track. Or near the top.
Food supplied by Cafe Deck.
Looking to the other side of the estuary. We will take a water taxi in the morning.