Friday, 28 November 2014

Day 26. Manakau to Hunua Falls.

Today 33 km. Total 672 km (+8). 9 hours (0945-1850).

After a fantastic sleep I quickly packed and headed to the bus stop.  I needed to get a new ground sheet and lunches for the next few days and according to Google maps the shops were 2.6 km away and I did not want to walk that far.  Luckily there was a bus stop right outside the holiday park. From Manakau Centre it was a short walk to Mitre 10 to buy window insulation Film for my groundsheet to replace the one blown away on Moir Hill. Then very quick shop for lunches and back on the bus to the Holiday Park.  I cut the groundsheet to size,  reinforced the corners with Duct Tape, cut holes for pegs and tied one corner to the tent so it wouldn't blow away again.

I was on my way at 0945. Firstly was a park path along a river and then underneath the motorway and into Auckland Botanical gardens.

The stream trail from the Great South Road bridge

On the stream trail

Auckland Botanical gardens

Fantastic Flower

I decided to have a quick look around some of the gardens then back into the trail through to Totora Park. I was on familiar ground now as when I was based in Papakura I did a lot of running around these parks.

At the end of the parks it was footpath bashing to get out of the suburbs.

Street scenery - The ever popular roundabout

Not sure what it is but I like it

Once we turned into Alfriston Road I stopped enjoying myself.  This was a really busy road with no edges to walk on.  It was 6 km on this road and this seemed to take ages. Because I had to stay so alert to the traffic I couldn't zone out like I normally do and I couldn't look around much at the scenery.

The worst road walk

Finally that torment was over and I turned into Twilight Road
Now the were very few cars,  there were trees for shade, the birds started  singing and the animals frolicking - cue soppy happy ending music.

Ok turn the music off, there is more walking to do.

Twilight road turned into Kimpton Road and now there was no traffic at all.  Just as I was going past the Palm Farm (now I know where to come if I ever want a palm tree in Auckland) a big flock of Rosellas flew past and they were flitting around the trees.  Rosellas are the most brightly coloured birds you will see flying around NZ.  They are bright green and have patches of yellow, red and blue. Now I was really back to having fun again.

 At the quarry the trail headed right up a gravel road for a km then into farmland heading up the hill. On the gravel road I was surprised when a flock of sheep came running up to the fence as I approached.  I am used to curious cows doing this but sheep always run away.

Very friendly sheep

As I was climbing the hill I was laughing thinking the TA trail setters must have been thinking "hmm no big hill between Manakau and Clevedon.  That is not fair for the walkers to have a flat day.  Ah there is a big hill,  Let's put them up that".

 The trail was steep for the first bit but it was great looking back towards Auckland.

Up the hill we go. This is just the first part of the climb

Fantastic views from the top

The trail then went through some forestry up to a trig,  down through a gorse corridor and then into the bush to meet up with the Clevedon Reserve Circuit.  Shortly after I came to the lookout which has fantastic 360 degree views and I saw the Auckland Skytower for the last time.  At the lookout were two ladies and their children.  The topic of what I was doing came up and I laughed when one kid was asked if they would like to walk for so long and he said "no way too much work". When I mentioned no school the answer changed to "yes".
It was then a steep descent on many stairs to the bottom and then into  Clevedon where I hoped to get a coffee.  I was gutted I did not make it to Clevedon before 2 as then I would have been there for their Sunday market which is great. I arrived at 1445 and while I knew the market was over I was sure the cafe would be open but I was let down as they were closed for a private function. I didn't really need anything but a flavoured fruit juice would have been nice. Next to the cafe is the Wine Shop which sells souvenir things. I poked my head in on the off chance they would have drinks but no,  only tea leaves.  However the young  sales lady have me directions to somewhere that may have drinks (200 meters away) and then offered to fill up my water bottles.  I continue to be impressed with the level of service received every where in NZ.  I had forgotten how good it is.

As I couldn't get the energy to walk the 200 metres to the other shop I continued on my way. I did poke my head into the pub to see their drink range but nothing stuck my fancy so I continued on.  After crossing the Clevedon Bridge the trail turned right and it was 5.5 km of road walking which I plodded along at an easy pace. I was entertained by old fighter planes from Ardmore Aerodrome practicing formation flying.

Coming down from the lookout

So many stairs

Clevedon River

My own personal air show

Not sure if it a soccer ball or helmet

Finally the road walking for the day was at an end and I was heading into the bush.  When looking at the map I expected a rough trail but it was a lovely fast trail.  The were a couple of small muddy bits but these were drying out and easy to get around.

Great trail by the river

Nearly flat - very rare on Te Araroa Trail

The trail was flat for a couple of km then there was a small hill.  It was here that I met Scott and his two dogs. He lives near the trail head and does a lot of trail maintenance to keep the trail in good condition.  This is done voluntary which is fantastic. He gave me some good advice on camping spots. On his advice I decided to push on to the Hunua Waterfall.  The trail continued to be good all the way to the turnoff to the waterfalls.  They are only 5 minutes off the TA trail and well worth the detour.

While waiting for the day visitors to leave I cooked dinner and put on some trousers as protection against Sandflys which were out in force.

Cossey Stream

Cossey Track

I wish all streams were this easy to cross

Hunua Falls


Finally around 1940 most people had left and I headed back to the waterfall. There was one couple left and they were taking ages taking photos.  I then started talking and they were fascinated with the concept of TA.  They wanted to see my gear so I gave them a demonstration of my tent going up and showed them some other stuff.

Night 26.

Once they had left I had the place to myself and was able to settle in for the night.  I drifted off to sleep to the sound of the waterfall, which was actually quite loud but did not stop me sleeping well.

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