Today 9 km. Total 593.5 km. 2 hours 45 minutes (1045-1330 includes 20 minute shopping at Bivouac).
I woke at 0830 and went upstairs to join Gil and Melanie for breakfast. After a very leisurely breakfast of muslea, banana and Puhoi yoghurt I started packing. Gil came down and we stayed talking about the gear. It was great to show her the different things. Because Cubin Fibre is not well known in NZ she was amazed at the light weights. She also liked my rubbish sack rain skirt and the Window Insulation Film idea for supper strong and super light groundsheet.
I eventually left at 1045. Gil offered to let me stay another night and I was very tempted but I wanted to get done things done in the city centre so I was off. I walled back to the spot on Takapuna Beach where I left the trail and was off. The trail was mainly footpath hiking which means finding as many grass verges to walk on as possible, even if it means crossing the roads a lot. There were some small parks and a couple of beach walks before climbing Northhead where there are fanatic 360 degree views of the ocean, beaches, Devonport, Auckland CBD and some suburbs. I had lunch here which was the leftovers from dinner last night which tasted just as good as lady night.
I then walked down the hill and though Devonport to the ferry. Walking along I reflected on how far I had come. If it was taken separately from the whole TA journey it would be a great achievement, nearly 600 km of beaches, jungle, mud, bog, bush, forest, rivers and roads. The journey had been everything I hoped it would be and I have really enjoyed myself. I realise I have been lucky with the weather not having a single day where it rained the whole time. I think the longest continual rain I have had is only a few hours. As well as the landscapes and nature I have been lucky to meet some fantastic people as well. The friendly openness if most people makes me proud of being a kiwi and thankful to live in a country where it is possible to remain trusting in the good nature of strangers.
Once across the ferry I walked a small bit of the route then went back to Queen St. It was almost overwhelming having so many people around so I dived into the comfort of an outdoor shop, Bivouac. Here soothed by hi tech outdoor products I had a look at the shoes and selected the Solomon XA Pro 3D as my replacement shoe. I used to use these for trail running and hope they will be easier on my feet on the roads but still have the grip for the trails. It was a nice bonus that they match my blue colour theme. I also mentioned that my Icebreaker socks were wearing out around my little toe and I was immediately given free replacements as they have a lifetime guarantee. So I floated out of the store with bright new socks and shoes.
I arrived at the YHA International and spotted two Aarn Packs ahead of me. It was the Irish Couple Alan and Lauren who I had met at Whananaki. Unfortunately they were not feeling well after picking up a bug and had pushed ahead to Auckland to try and recover before rejoining the trail. Unfortunately for them the backpackers was booked out and it is likely most of them are as there is a big music concert this weekend. I would loved to have offered to share my room but I was booked into a 4 person dorm so that wasn't an option.
I was 15 minutes to early for checking so I took a seat and waited. Once I checked in I headed for my room and relaxed.
It was nice not having to worry about racing around to do washing after having . I started working through my photos then went out for a coffee and returned to just sit around chilling out.
For dinner I walked to the nearby restaurants and decided on a chicken and cashew stirfry with ice cream for desert.