Friday, 2 January 2015

Day 62. Waikanae to Porirua.

Today 37 km. Total 1643 km. 9 hours 30 minutes (0830 - 1800).

It was lovely to sleep in a big bed and I had a great sleep.  I had breakfast with Scotty and Mel then Scotty dropped me off near the trail which was great.

After crossing the Bridge the track followed the river for a short while then went through the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve which was a pretty trail through to the beach.

Waikanae River Trail

Waikanae Estuary Track

Waikanae Estuary Track looking towards Kapati Island

Emerging onto the beach

Kapati island

For the next 8 km I was on the beach and this went quickly as there was lots to look at. This is a popular beach so there were lots of people an a few boat launching points.  Kapati island,  a bird sanctuary,  was along side for a while then the view was of the beach, the bays I would be passing through later and I could see the South Island.


1610 km 
(I forgot at 1600)

Parking for all the boat trailers

Tractor driving tour boat out

The beach

Neat Tree House

After 8 km the trail left the beach, and traveled through the sand dunes on a trail that meandered through them going up and down, up and down continuously. It was nice to give my muscles a change of pace from the flat of the beach.

Tram at QE2 Park

Through the dunes

Through the dunes

Clear markers

Pohutakawa Flowers

At the end of the dunes was Paekakariki where I walked along the beachfront before heading inland on the main road. I stopped for lunch in the shopping area and had Pizza and a lovely berry cake. The lady asked if I would like cream or yoghurt and seemed surprised when I said both please.

Now happily full I had the worst part of the day which was a 5km walk along Centennial Highway which is a stretch of SH1, the main route through NZ, which had the highest accident rate of anyway as there is no passing areas and people are distracted by the lovely views and tend to cross the road into oncoming traffic. There are now barriers in place to stop this happening but it is still a narrow section of road with constant traffic. There was a footpath for me to walk on and the ocean was immediately to my right. While the view was pretty it didnt change so I occupied myself by doing statistical sampling of the traffic. Toyota vehicles make up a quarter of all vehicles. Mazda is second and Mitsubishi third. After that several manufacturers are similar. Male drivers made up 85% of all drivers and female drivers only were driving males in about 20% of the vehicles.

I would get bored of this and would just look out at the ocean getting a crook in my neck from constantly looking to the right. To make it worse it was really hot and there was no shade at all. Luckily this section passed without a car running onto the footpath and crushing me and I was able to escape to a 4WD track that shortcuted to Pukera Bay Beach. This was really full of people and it was entertaining watching one woman trying to get her puppy to go into the water. It kept refusing and then picked up one of her Jandals (flip flop) and ran off down the beach with it.

Beach at Paekakariki

Centennial Highway

Pukera Bay

At the end of the beach the trail went up Goat Track which by the name was pretty accurate with a steep but short climb. Once on the top it was a couple of km road walking to come back to SH1. There was a shop there so I was able to get a cold drink and ice cream to cool me down and give me energy for the next section.

Between Pukera Bay and Plimmerton is a shared walking/biking trail which is downhill most of the way. In a few years the trees may grow enough to provide shade but now it is exposed to the sun and dark tarseal so it was very hot walking. 

Heading down to Plimmerton

Track to Plimmerton

In Plimmerton there was some more shops so I had a chocolate thickshake and continued through the town to the Coastal Pathway which had lovely views. I passed the busiest beach I have seen yet.

Great artwork in rail underpass in Plimmerton

Busy (for NZ at least) beach

Coastal Pathway

Bird in city pond

 The trail crossed the Puatahanui Estuary by bridge and then we went into an underpass to a train station and then over an overpass over the motorway and followed some quiet roads to Aotea Lagoon. This is a great recreational area that was packed with people enjoying the great weather. There are paths around the lagoon, playgrounds and gardens. I was tempted to camp here but it was too busy to I pushed on to some pine trees I had been eyeing up for some time. At the exit from Aotea lagoon the trail crosses a road and it was here that the pine trees were. I ducked into the trees and climbed to the top of the hill and found a fantastic campsite protected from view from all directions. It was quite neat being so near all the traffic and people knowing no one knew I was there.
Aotea Lagoon

Night 62

After dinner I did some resupply planning and sent some instructions to my Parents for the big resupply to Pelorus Bridge. I really want to stop carrying extra food as I have been most of this journey but still need to factor in a couple of days possibly stuck in huts if the weather is bad in the mountains.

I went to sleep to the soothing noise of heavy traffic and police sirens.

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