Friday, 14 November 2014

Day 14. Whananaki to Riverbank Homestay, Ngunguru.

Today 27.5. Total 335.5 (+10). 8 1/2 hours (0730-1600).

After a great nights sleep in the Naki'd Inn I packed quickly and went to the kitchen where Tracey had left me some eggs to cook and some lovely fruit for breakfast. After saying goodbye and thanking Tracey and Mathew for their great hospitality I was off and walked a whole minute before stopping again to take photos of the Whananaki Footbridge which is the longest on the Southern Hemisphere.  Unfortunately the tide was out but it was still spectacular.  It is one long Bridge!

Start of the Bridge

Half way point

Once over the other side the trail followed the estuary before heading inland and following a sandy road which then changed to grass tracks.

I couldn't resist taking this photo

Lovely sandy track

For the next few hours The track followed the coast on lovely trails with stunning views around every corner. Unusually for NZ tracks the track was contorting around the hills rather than the usual straight line up and over so this kept the gradient for ups and downs to a nice comfortable level.  I loved this part and for the first time in several days I was pain free with no shin,  thigh or calf issues.

Around every corner was a stunning view

Beautiful grass track to walk on

Just another typical view

Orange poles making the way

The trail then joined a road which went in and out of these gorgeous bays.  It was so hard trying to limit my taking photos because everywhere was so spectacular.

Can you guess what this is? (Answer at the end)

 In one of the bays was a beach walk for a km which was interesting as the tide was coming in quickly leaving me scrambling occasionally to avoid the waves - hmm that sounds familiar.

Back to beach walking but only for 1 km

It was back on the road for another km before taking a fantastic trail to Matapouri. It was a wide and perfect condition trail which the guys were working on.  I asked of they would mind extending the great trail to Bluff but they just laughed- no ambition obviously

At Matapouri I stopped for a pie and chocolatand the lady was kind enough to fill my waste bottles for me.  I am now only carrying 1 litre and refilling as I go. Funny one of the questions she asked me was where do I go to the toilet to which I replied wherever I want (note I do carry a trowel to bury my waste properly).  I guess that is a stange concept to people who are never away from proper toilets.

It was then a 2 km walk down a pretty gravel road to the Matariki Forest.  The next 2 hours were fanatic with lovely tracks through bush and forest. I really enjoyed this part.

Fanatic track marking.  Thanks Whangarei Council

Cow I had to push out of the way to get through gate

Nice trail, great marking

Typical stile used to stop trampers ruining fences or leaving gates open

Typical piece of trail for this section

Having a great day

I seemed to be picking up heaps with my sticks . Maybe if the walk doesn't work out I can get a job picking up litter

Chilling enjoying the view and eating my eggs- thanks Tracey.

Then it was forestry roads, some more great views and a giant Kauri tree called Tane Moana. This tree was spectacular.

Tane Moana - a tree so big they named it

Trying to show the scale using my pack but still doesn't show how huge the tree is

Kauri Gum

The trail then followed forest roads down to the bottom of the hill and then gravel roads into Ngunguru,  a cute little Seaside town.

A little birdy showed me the way

Fanatic track information boards at the start/end of all the tracks in Whangarei region

Pohutakawa Flower


I stopped for a drink and Ice cream before the final 3 km.  Walking through the town was great as the was a lovely grass strip to walk on. My feet were a little sore with all the road walking.

This takes the prize for the best letterbox so far

A lovely sight. Little did I know how great my experience would be with Melva and Hilton

I  arrived at The Riverside Homestay where trail angels Hilton and Melva Ward have created a place for TA walkers to camp.  They have even built a toilet by the campsite for the walkers.

As the forecast was for rain overnight, and there was just me, Melva suggested that I sleep on their lounge floor which I didn't argue about.  She then proceeded to feed me fantastic crunch slice and tea and we had a good conversation until Hilton returned from work.  They then went to a meeting and I relaxed and cooked dinner.  On their return was more tea,  orange (I am starting to crave fresh fruit), macadamia nuts and more great conversation. As my resupply parcel had still not turned up we came up with options to deal with this. Tomorrow I will wait for the mail at 12 to see if it arrives.  If not we will enact one of several plans with the best being Hilton gives it to a guy at his work who lives in Waipu where I will pass through in 3 days.  Luckily I have another 2 days food left due to having pies for lunch and having pizza at Whananaki.

Overall it was a really great day. Because it was a short day I took my time and enjoyed the views.  The best thing was remaining pain free. The only downer was my resupply packages not arriving.

Answer : Grass hill with terracing made by animals. 

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