Return to Cape Reinga

Day 33

After a few days rest and relaxation in Kerikeri, it was time to head North to Cape Reinga to finish the first 20 kms of Te Araroa walk. When I started from Cape Reinga, I had to skip the first 20 kms because the track was damaged and officially closed. It is now open. When I started it made most sense to start at Cape Reinga and walk South, that is, if the track been open. Now it makes more sense to walk North along this section, so I would arrive and finish at Cape Reinga. This last 20 kms also completes my first section or quarter of Te Araroa.

Caroline was my support crew, saying goodbye to me at Te Paki Stream carpark. She drove the rental car North to re-join me at Cape Reinga. Today would be the first time I walk without a full backpack, taking instead a day pack with water, food and emergency gear only. So, that was nice. It was also nice to be back at the stream, on familiar territory and knowing that I have the opportunity to complete the missing bit.

The walking was easy and relaxed. The beach sand was hard packed which made it easy under foot. The views were stunning. Even the weather was cooperating, with the sun not being too hot. I did the 25 kms in a single push, which took just under 5 hours. I had a pace that allowed me to enjoy the day while making good time. Kerikeri is a three hour drive away, and once I reached the Cape, we still had to drive back, for a total of 6 hours or driving and 5 hours of walking, it was going to be a longish day.

Caroline saw me coming and walked towards me, and then we walked the last few kms together. It was getting hot, but the light house and the end of the trail was not far off now. Once at Cape Reinga, we took a few snaps, but did not linger. Instead we headed back to the car and its air conditioned comfort. We took a longer road journey back via Broadwood. Although this added 30 minutes to the journey, it allowed us to re-visit some of the places I had walked earlier on Te Araroa, and to show these places to Caroline.

Once back at the lodge we opened a small bottle of Champagne in celebration. For me completing the first section and for Caroline driving for the first time in New Zealand. Over champagne, we started to jointly plan for Section 2.

Setting off down Te Paki Stream. Shoes in hand. Will see Caroline in about 5 hours.
Looking forward to doing this walk with a day bag. Also known as Slack Packing.
I have the beach all to myself. Only saw other walkers once I got to the Northern end.
Looking South in the direction I came.
Looking North. And there is the lighthouse, around 5 kms away.
Glad to have finished this missing section. Let the planning for Section 2 begin.

A few quick stats.

  • Longest Day: Day 7 was 38.77 kms mainly along road. Day 30, a grueling 10 hours 44 minutes.
  • Shortest Day: Day 23 was 14.77 kms to Camp 485. Or Day 4 to Kaitaia, which was only 3 hours and 40 minutes along roads.
  • Average walking Day: 27.96 kms and 7 hours 30 minutes.
  • Totals: 869 kms, 229 hours.
  • Gear Failures: 1) Day 10, developed serious holes in my hiking shirt. Field repair with needle and thread, which I had to buy. 2) Day 11, iPhone would not charge via the lightning port, fixed with the purchase of a new magnetic type of charger. And once back in Auckland, a shop cleaned the lightning port, and all working again. 3) Day 20, tent pole slightly damaged, but still usable. Field repair with pole splint I carried. 4) Day 22, fly on tent ripped. Field repair with Tenacious Tape I carried. 5) Day 24 lost the tips from both of my hiking poles. Fixed once I got home with some replacement tips.
  • Body Failures: Nails on both of my little toes are black. I guess I will be getting new little toe nails soon. Some blisters and bruising on both feet. Also managed to avoid getting sunburnt.
  • Walking Days: 30
  • Non Walking Days: 3
  • Nights in tent: 26 nights.
  • Nights not in tent: 7 nights.
  • Swims: 11, most in the Pacific Ocean.
Met a fellow Te Araroa walker in the Airport Lounge. Nice to trade stories. This guy is planning to cycle around the world!