Monday, 28 October 2013

Days 56-59: Where did the days go?

Day 56. Given the kick-ass speed of the day before, we awoke confident that we would blaze through to Whanganui, even with a late start timed to catch an outgoing tide for the tidal section of river (20 km inland, we were told). A rare opportunity to sleep in! We got going around 10.30 and soon found the tide timings were a bit off from the coast timing, and a squally headwind with lashings of rain worked against us. Pretty soon we were low on energy, and I for one was getting grumpy!
We missed our rendezvous with the canoe hire guys by almost an hour, so wet, bone-chilled and a bit dispirited we landed in Whanganui. However things were soon on the up after finding a hammock spot at the Tamara backpackers who also offer a discount for TA walkers. Dinner and wine and I was feeling MUCH better!

Day 57. A beautiful morning!
Hope the pic didn't scare you folk too much. Anyway- I was soon off to the market in Whanganui with Chris, where I found some foot ointment, pies etc. Pizza was offered for free after the guy found out I was walking for charity, which was very nice! A bit of resupply shopping including new socks and I was ready to go. Bila was a bit late to the meeting point (uncharacteristic for a German?), but I was happily ensconced in a pub overlooking the rendezvous point so didn't much care. It was a speedy road walk that afternoon to Turakina, and 'trail magic' in abundance! 
On the way into the town I asked a lady at Turakina Antiques and Collectables if the camping ground on the beach was open...she promptly invited us to stay at her place on the beach! At the turnoff to the beach a bloke came running over with cold Heineken beers, and we had quite a yarn with Eamon, girlfriend Rose and their friends who were celebrating a child birth.   We finished the day by walking to the beach to find Shona and Ian's place to take them up on their offer of accommodation.
Shona and Ian were amazing, very welcoming and fed and looked after us, all the while entertained by their resident dogs Emily and Blue. Their house is special, built by Ian and crammed with antiques and knickknacks. So it was a wonderful end to a great day!

Day 58. Our hosts took us to see a talented friend who owns the 'Red Bach Gallery' just down the way, and just to prove how well-connected we are as a country Barbara recognised me as a mandolin player as her talented daughter BB plays banjo (although where exactly she ran into me remains a bit of a mystery, at least to me!). Barbara is great with metal:
And the house next door captured my imagination- design ideas for the future perhaps...
We said our farewells to Ian and Shona, Blue and Emily (thanks a bunch, guys!) and started off for Santoft forest.
As much as I tend to dislike beach hiking, I loved this one! 
We ran into Barbara again, this time on the beach as she was picking up some rimu.
The kilometers raced by, we were soon into the forest...
...and heading for Bulls.
I called Dad on the way into Bulls as he lives nearby, so we secured another bed for the night, and after some discussion we decided to rest at the farm on Labour Day too. 

Day 59. Some detailed planning today, and it is clear I will be in Wellington about a week after I had originally intended. Not that I mind too much, weather delays etc taken into account I feel like my progress has been pretty good. Scotty and Adi dropped in on the way South, which was a fun catchup, but I missed seeing my brother and his girlfriend by only a few days. All in all, a lovely relaxing day here, with mostly settled weather to get ready for a big walk to Palmerston North tomorrow and the journey to my hometown. I can't wait!


  1. It's really heartwarming to read how welcoming and warm the different people are (who you've encountered/met) on the Trail. Not surprising as I know Kiwis are lovely folk, but it's a treat to read about them.

    1. Makes me proud to be one! We just need to sort out all the rubbish by the side of roads- 'be a tidy Kiwi' used to be a mantra when I was growing up! :-)

  2. I imagine you aren't yet familiar with the question "What did Kiwiscout do?" but it is becoming a regular part of trail planning conversations.

    1. Wow, nope not 'til now! Hope ppl are learning from my mistakes ;-) will try to post a blog update on gear and food when I get to Wellington. Thanks for sharing that though, a frightening thought in a way!