I left the Backpacker at 0730 and wandered into town looking at the sculptures and murals as I went. At the supermarket I brought lunch for the next leg then had breakfast at a cafe.
I was on the road at 0830. Today started with a couple of km out of Wanganui then 20 km on SH3, a very busy road. After an hour I had just sat down for a rest when a car pulled up to the intersection and the people indicated that they wanted to talk. It turns out they are doing TA themselves. They had done everything south of Wanganui and some bits in the north
They intended to keep doing bits and finish. They had some good stories of some of their trail adventures and I enjoyed the chat.
Nearly 30 minutes later I continued on my way. One funny sight was seeing a horse scratching itself on the support wire for a power pole and seeing the whole pole shaking and the wires all the way to the next pole.
The road had decent bike lane for most of it but there were two bits that were more narrow and I had to walk on the rough grass to keep out of the way of the incoming traffic.
There was one small detour through a little town called Whangaehu and I was hoping there might be a shop to get a cold drink as I was roasting. The was a building labeled General Store established 1946 but unfortunately it was not a store anymore.
At Turakina I turned right and had another 8.5 more km to walk to get to the beach at Koitiata. Just as I was entering the town a car pulled over and started reversing back to me, though very badly and I was getting ready to jump out of the way when it stopped. The lady asked if I was doing the trail and then told me she worried about women doing it on their own, especially with the druggies who are growing marijuana in the forest along the beach. I explained that I had only had positive experiences so far and liked the independence. She invited me back to her house to fill up my water bottles which I accepted. When I arrived she had water ready and some iced water to drink which was fantastic.
I then walked to the beach and followed this for the next 8 km,
stopping for the 1400 km photo. It was an interesting beach, complete with a seal. It is black sand and there is heaps of driftwood and dunes. I was lucky with the tide which was coming in but still left enough room to walk on firm sand for 7 km and the last km was softer buy still not too bad. Also the one stream we had to cross was conveniently bridged with driftwood.
The marker off the beach was very hard to see , especially when I didn't know what I would be looking for. Luckily my time estimate from Koitiata Stream to the turnoff was spot on so I was actively looking for some mark.
From the beach the track went over the dunes and dropped into a tunnel of trees before coming out onto a gravel road. I followed this for a km then at up camp in the pine trees. The best thing- NO SANDFLYS