Today 37 km. Total 271 + 10 (official trail from Paihia to Wakare Inlet is water taxi or kayak, both of which are expensive for one person. Alternate is vehicle ferry at Opua and road walk to the inlet which is 10 km longer). 10 hours 40 minutes (0720-1800).
From Paihia I made my way to Opua enjoying the great sea views.
My timing in Opua was perfect as the ferry was coming in I had enough time to buy a pie and chocolate milk and board the Fri which left 2 minutes later. The vehicle ferry costs $1. There is not much you can get for $1 anymore so this is fantastic value. It is a 5 minute journey to the other side.
It was then a 4.5 km Road walk to the next junction. My right calf was really tight and stretching wasn't relieving it. It wasn't actively painful, just really distracting. At the junction I indulged in an ice cream for energy before tackling the next 10 km road leg. While it was a road leg the scenery was lovely and I got in a good zone I had to keep my pace easy due to my super tight calf.
It was then onto a gravel road for the next 7 km. This road went up and down continuously with some big ups and downs. After 10 minutes my left thigh issue reappeared and was really painful going up and down the hills. This was my whole focus this leg though the scenery was still pretty good. One thing I did notice is the was an exodus from Waikare. There was a vehicle every 5 minutes and for nearly 2 hours every car was leaving Waikare. That gave a good distraction thinking up scenarios which would cause the people to flee Waikare.
Once in Waikare it flattened out a bit and my legs and I came to an understanding. As long as I kept the pace below 3.5 km/h they would grumble quietly.
Just short of the Bridge over the Waikare river 4 kids came racing down their driveway and surrounded me. They were firing questions at a rapid rate to find out what I was up to and how I lived. They took my poles for a try and were fascinated with the maps. It was a nice distraction and they were polite and no trouble at all.
I then continued along the road, crossing one creek where my feet got wet. The trail notes mentioned a concrete pole that could be used to cross but this was on the other side of the creek and only went half way across. The road continued to a stile. Just as I was about to climb the stile I saw movement in the shadows and a horse and foal became visible and started walking off. Once over the stile I saw the afterbirth and thought it was no more than an hour old so it was a brand new foal. The track was narrow and I couldn't get past so I took a break to see if they would dissappear but they did not. I then climbed a bank to get some distance and got around them.
The track changed from 4wd track past some abandoned caravan and sheds to single track. Shotly after the single track ran out and it was up the river again. This river seemed easier that the last one. Randomly there would be an orange marker taking you away from the river for a while then back into the river.
After an hour there were more tracks that were cutting the corners of the river which meant a lot of crossings but fast travel. Then after only 1 hour 15 I got to the sign. Due to closing a track because of Kauri Dieback Disease the original track is not being used. Someone Had crossed out the TA logo to Papakauri and put another up pointing the other way to Ng..(something- I didn't write it down). The notes on my maps had not mentioned this but I went with the new sign which matched the route marked on my map.
From here it got a little boggy but most of the mud was drying and I did not get mud in my shoes. We came back to the river again and I filled up with water and cleaned all the little river gravel out of my shoes.
The route then went up a lovely track that used to be 4wd but is now single track and obviously popular for mountain biking. This track was at a lovely gradient that climbed steadily but not to steep. There were several nice campsites which I resisted until I came to a track junction that I turned into home for the night.
The ground was gravelly and it was hard to put the tent pegs in. That is why I carry two types of pegs and the skinny ones were needed today.
Dinner was chicken noodle soup followed by satay noodles with surprise peas and Salami and a lollie for desert.