It was then back down again and as the trail passed near the city I did a detour to Bivouac Outdoor shop. I wanted to replace my top as the shoulders had worn down to the degree that I was getting sunburnt through my shirt. I also was not happy that my shoes had a tiny hole in them after only 200km (admittedly through the Tararuas) and while the manager would not replace them as he said TA was not normal usage he did offer half price on another pair which I accepted. I plan to reinforce the wear areas with Shoe Glue and wear the new ones through the Richmond Ranges and until they wear out and send the old ones I will repair back to my parents to forward on when the new pair are dead. Unfortunately they did not have the same top as I wanted but phoned the IceBreaker store for me and they had it so I walked there to buy it.
Emerging through Central Park I had my next unintended detour. The trail notes said to go to the top of Bell Road so I did, not seeing the proper trail at the bottom of the road and seeing, but going past due to lack of markers, another trail to get to the top of the Road. Bell Road turned into another road and at that point there was an old vehicle track as described in the notes. I was surprised how overgrown it was and after only 50 meters it dead ended and was obviously not the right one. I headed back to the track I had seen and took this which emerged onto a street. As my maps are 1:50,000m scale shrunk down to A4 size they do not have enough detail for street navigation so I just followed instinct and kept following paths back down and eventually came upon a trail marker for the City to Sea trail that I should be on and I was back on track.
There was a really strong wind but the views were great as I descended down the ridge to Island Bay. I headed through the village and had two more misdirections before finally finding the end point, a plaque in Shortland Park on the coast.
There I met Andrew Simm who is the Trustee of the Te Araroa Wellington Trust. He and Pru had messaged me inviting me to stay with them in Wellington which I readily accepted as it would be great to meet one of the unsung heros of the TA trail, the trustees who put in countless volunteer hours to fight though land access, build trails and maintain the trails that we walk on.
We drove back to his place and I met Pru who was incredibly welcoming. I had a shower and then sat down with Andrew and Pru with cake and tea while we talked.
I went to be at 2230 as I was too tired to stay up until midnight.