I was off at 0730. As I crossed the stile near where I camped there was an information board about the track and it said no camping - oops. There was a 30 meters road walk then onto the stopbank for 3 km, then road for 2 km and then stopbank for the final 2 km to Rangariri.
Within 5 minutes of starting my left shoe inner sole started scrunching up again so I took it out. Then 10 minutes later the right one also did the same so that one came out as well. Luckily there is very little road walking today but I was really annoyed and a little worried how my feet would survive with no inner soles for the next two days.
For a short while I was entertained by a farmer moving dairy cows to a new paddock after milking. For some reason rather than get them onto the road and then along the road into their new paddock he moved them through another paddock that had lots of grass. By the time he got the far gate open the cows had settled in and did not want to move. When I went out of sight 5 minutes later he had still not successfully got any of the cows out of that paddock despite much yelling and racing around on his motorbike.
I decided to divert off the route in Rangiri in order to get a coffee and snack. This meant crossing SH1 and following beside it for a hundred meters. Luckily there was room on the other side of the safety rail. I tried the flash public toilets there but was not impressed. Everything was push button including getting toilet paper but there wasn't any paper. Then for washing your hands there were sensors to give soap and water. The trouble is when you held your hands under the picture for soap the soap squirted in a different place and it would only give one dollop. For water you only got two small squirts which wasn't enough.
Then to top off my Rangiri experience the cafe was closed. I was really annoyed at walking an extra km for no benefit. Just as I was about to walk away the owner arrived and opened up (1000) and Rangiri was off the black list though he was only selling cold drinks and Ice creams. Apparently his cook had run off and he couldn't find a replacement so he was closing the cafe and giving up the lease. I had a Poweraid and ice cream and chatted with the owner for a while. Just as I left a light misting rain started up. It wasn't enough to bother with a jacket for and it was too warn for a jacket anyway, I would have been sweating so much I would be soaked.
After negotiating my way down and over the highway again I crossed a one lane bridge that had a nice raised pedestrian path.
It was then onto stopbanks for the next 9 km. You may think that would get boring but it is not as bad as you would think. The terrain changes every time you cross a stile, which you do a lot. Sometimes you have the perfect short grass and smooth ground. Then you could have the long grass and the ground could be rough due to cows walking on it when wet, or any combination of these. There was also the weather giving some variety between rain, light mist and just overcast. With the rain the grass was wet and my shoes were soaked. I don't like these shoes lack of drainage and I stayed squelching continuously There is also cows and sheep to look at. The misty rain cane and went and a couple of times got a little heavier so I got my umbrella out.
As I came around a corner on the stopbank I could see the Huntly Power Station chimney and I got all excited. I started singing out loud which is the first time I have done this. I survived the beach and bush without singing but it is the stopbanks that cracked me. Unfortunately my memory of song lyrics is not good and nor is my voice so I felt sorry for the animals around having to listen to me. I soon calmed down when I checked my map and realised I still had quite a way to go.
The trail went past the golf course with the notes saying keep to the edges for safety. I think it was to keep the riff raff out of sight, and smell, which is a sensible move on their part.
It was then some more stopbank walking, then 1 km of road. Here I met John. He is on a 3 week cycle tour of NZ. He stopped when he saw me and we chatted for a while. He is an Australian who was also in the Army, though the Australian one. He is now retired and does cycle tours a few times year to NZ and Europe. After that nice break it was more stopbank and the final road section before a short walk through trees to the sculpture park in front of the Power Station.
I wandered through to see the sculpture and sat down there to wring my socks out and try putting my inner soles back in as there was road walking ahead. 2 minutes later I had to take the left out again but the right one stayed ok for the rest of the way.
I stopped in Huntly for a burger, chips and some pineapple fritters as a late lunch before the final 4 km road walk.
This seemed to go really fast and I reached the turnoff well before i expected to. It was then 800 meters up the road to the Hakarimata Reserve for the start of the Hakarimata Track. It was straight up to the top via lots of steps but this only took 20 minutes to the upper lookout which had great views back where I had come from back to the Hunua Ranges. 10 minutes on was the southern lookout where I could see Hamilton and Pirongia where I would be heading to.
Then it was following a great rooty track along the ridge line up and down. When I looked at my watch the time had flown by as I was really enjoying this track. I saw it was time to look for a campsite and 10 minutes on the track came out onto an old grass vehicle track which made a lovely campsite. I could look out across the Waikato from my tent.
I wasn't hungry after my huge lunch so I just had soup, tea, a pineapple fritter and some instant pudding.
Looking out my tent door I watched the clouds turn red with the sunset and the lights stay appearing below.