Friday, 28 November 2014

Day 25. Auckland to Manakau.

Today 46 km. Total 639 km (+8). 11 hours 30 minutes (0800-1930).

I had a crappy sleep as the new Australian Lady was a really bad snorer. Unfortunately she did not keep a rhythm which I could sleep through but alternated between normal snoring and grunts and gurgles.  Not pleasant.  I managed to wake her once but she was back to sleep within a couple of minutes.  Normally being in a female only room with generally under 30 year olds there is no snoring but this was an older lady who you don't normally get in a dorm. This lady did say that night she tried to get a single but they were booked out - unluckily for us.

I was on my way this morning at 0800 after getting a pie for breakfast. I was not excited about today going through the city but I actually found it ok as there were large parts in parks.  First I headed back to Albert Park where I had left the trail and it was just a short walk to the Auckland Domain.

Heading to Auckland Domain

Now following the yellow symbols

Or the yellow signs

Being a Saturday there were heaps of people out playing Cricket (for those that don't know this is a boring complicated game invented by the British that lays from 5 hours to 5 days depending on the version bring played.  Play stops for rain or bad light and they have tea breaks.  Personally not my cup of tea).

Then it was another short raid walk to Mt Eden which is pretty cool as it had a prefect cone crater and fantastic views of Auckland in all directions.  One Tree Hill was easily seen and that is where the trail headed next.

Volcano Cone on Mt Eden

Invercargill that way

I did a quick detour to climb to the top as I haven't done that since I was a kid and there actually still was one tree on One Tree Hill (an activist chopped it down). From there I could see Mangarei Harbour my next destination.

Statue of Cambell who donated Cromwell Park to Auckland

Pheasant in Cromwell Park

One Tree Hill. That is not the one tree, that was cut down by an activist a long time ago

The view from One Tree Hill

The walk there took me through Royal Oak where I stopped for an early lunch and coffee.

The trail then headed a little down the road and into a little park then back onto the road and down to the end of the Coast to Coast Trail.  I was surprised they was no marker or sign to signify the end.  I headed up a park beside the road and then across a bridge over the motorwayand back down the motorway.

Cute little park in Royal Oak

Flower in Royal Oak Park

Bridge over the motorway

 They are putting in a new overpass and doing construction.  I got a fright when I saw a sign closed to everyone, including pedestrians on Saturday but it is for 29 Nov not today.  I followed the road beside the motorway for a while.  I passed a motel called Airport Harbour View  which is a lie on both counts as it is not close to the airport and the only Harbour view might be a glimpse of water between the massive concrete tanks.

The trail then crossed the estuary on the old highway Bridge which is just for bikes and pedestrians now.

Looking over at Mangare where t ge track follows the shoreline

Mangare Bridge

Outrigger racing

These birds are not dumb

I then followed the Coastal trail for several to Amberly Park.  Now this trail had a concrete footpath but it also had really wide grass strips as well so it was a really enjoyable trail.

Once in Amberley Park the trail followed a grass track around the coast.  Along the way were some interesting information panels on the birds,  geology and history of the area.

Amberly Park

Information panels at Amberley Park

I saw a couple of trampers ahead and could not help myself from speeding up to try catch them.  This is one of the reasons I prefer walking by myself.  I am very competitive and would push the pace continuously to be as good or better than everyone else regardless of size, fitness or any other factor.  I nearly caught up to them but they pulled into the camp ground so I didn't get to find out of they were TAers or just day walkers. The trail then joined a gravel road and followed this for 7 km along the Watercare Track which is refurbished land from the old sewage treatment area.  There were several areas protected for the birds and I was surprised to see Black swans.  I thought these birds were fresh water but there was a big flock of them in the salt water.

Watercare Track

I think it is a Tern

Swans in the sea

The Watercare Track part the new treatment plant

The track went past the new sewage treatment plant and continued along the water edge until coming out at a car park with toilets.

The trail then narrowed to walking trail 1m wide and continued following the coast. At a small TA marker it turned off the nice trail and followed paddocks to the end of the trail.  I decided to follow one of the short withs through the Otuataua Stonefields and was a little disappointed that it was just rocky paddocks. Maybe I missed something.

The last part of the trail before hitting farmland

Lovely stone walls in this area

The Stonefield markers

Back on the trail I passed the Avocado Orchard gifted by someone to the community which everyone can help themselves to 5 avocados for free. I couldn't see any avocados so I moved on.  The was a series of shortish road walks and then I was at the airport.  The great things about the roads near the airport is their great has verges.

I stopped in at McDonalds for a smoothie and small fries and they gave me a cheeseburger for free. They must have seen the hiker hunger as I gazed longingly at the menu.  While eating I started taking to the lady beside me after the usual curious look at the pack and horror at the speed I was inhaling my food. She was fascinated by the thought of the trail and knew someone she thought might be interested in doing it so she asked lots of questions which filled in the time and forced me to eat at human normal speed,  not thru hiker speed.

I then continued out of the airport area and heading towards Manakau. It was pretty neat walking under the fight path of the big planes as they were coming in to land.

No room for touching down early

Air New Zealand Black colour scheme

After 3 km out was a right into a little County road and 1 km later I was at the Puhinui Reserve.  For a little quiet Reserve away from a city and not signposted I was really surprised how flash the toilets were.  They were the electronic ones where you press a button to lock your door and then a polite man tells you the doors will unlock in ten minutes.  Then I was treated to music while I did my business and was wished a nice day as I left. I wonder which person on the regional council thought that was a good use of  rate payers money,  nice as it was for me and the 1 or two people a day who probably use it.

From the fantastic toilet it was following a fence line with a heard of curious cows following. The track then turned into City Park standard and followed the steam for 1.5 km before emerging through an industrial part.

Pretty flash toilets at Puhinui Reserve

Pretty pond

The change from paddocks to path

It was then on the main road for a few hundred metres and then onto Wiri Station Road which is usually really busy but was almost deserted.  I looked at the time and realised I would have to pick up the pace to make check in time at the holiday Park so I could pick up my resupply parcel. I changed gears and started power walking down the road. I quickly reached the junction where the trail cut through a park but I must have missed a TA arrow as I ended I coming out of the park in a different place than I should of.  I quickly identified where I was and was off again with 1 km to go.

On getting near to where the holiday park was I was concerned as there seems to be a new development where I expected the Park.  I looked at my map and decided to go another 100 meters and then turn on my phone to Google the address.  Just after that I saw the sign for the Holiday Park to my relief.  I checked on and the lady asked for more that what I should be paying.  When I questioned it she appologised and said I had been up upgraded but she missed the note.  I had booked into a basic cabin and ended up with one with a queen bed and kitchen-no complaints about that.

Night 25

After settling in I walked up the road for fish and chips,  fruit salad and fruit juice (I am craving fruit and fruit juice at the moment). Then after phoning my Parents to give resupply instructions,  and just to talk,  I went to sleep in a snore free zone.

Today I wore my new shoes and after 46 km they are comfortable and no blisters

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