It was fairly cold last night so woke to a bit of a dew. Got up about 0600 and departed 0715 to head towards the start of the Tongariro Crossing. We ended up doing about 28km, arriving at the Tongariro Holiday Park around 1800. GPS track details can be seen (cut and paste URL) at: https://www.movescount.com/moves/move130668366
We had another 11km on the 42 Traverse Track before branching off onto the Waione-Coker Track just after a wet foot crossing of the Waione Stream. This 11km was a continuation of the sometimes rutted, sometimes smoother 4wd track we experienced yesterday. It passes through some lovely bush with occasional majestic views. For one of our breaks we stopped on the edge of a big drop down into the Whanganui River with lovely bush views - spectacular. We also had several stream crossings along the way before reaching the Waione Stream.
As with many other TAers, we had some trouble finding the start of the Waione-Coker, but eventually got there with the help of gps and some exploration! This was just after a wet foot crossing of the Waione Stream which was the largest waterway we have had to cross so far (photos above)!
The Waione-Coker is a quad bike track, but suffice to say it is not one I would want to take a quad over! There were heaps of muddy puddles and deeply rutted sections to negotiate which made for pretty heavy going at times. We eventually worked our way through this section and came out onto the road not far from the Hilary Outdoor Pursuits Centre. We made a detour into OPC because we knew someone who works there. Was great to catch up with Bridget, albeit briefly (she was acting as duty manager on the radio!). We also took the opportunity to replenish water supplies! We were alerted to some land access issues near the access road to the Crossing, so decided that we would stop 6km short of the access road at the Tongariro Holiday Park for the night instead of attempting a free-camp.
The remainder was mostly on roads but included a "TA special" across scrubby country past the Te Porere redoubts - remains from the maori wars. After that detour, it was back onto roads. Arrived at the camp looking forward to a shower, but aware that it left us another 7km or so to do in the morning before tackling the crossing, making it a very long day in prospect. The manager arranged for a bus to pick Franziska up to transport her the 7 km to the start to save her foot - B and I will be up early to walk it, meeting Franziska there!
Left camp 0800 for 17.5km walk to Owhango where we knew there was a nice cafe! Ended up walking over 29 km today so not a bad day first up, especially as a chunk of it was asphalt road walking which is really hard on our poor aging feet! Stupid mobile blog app won't do hyperlinks so you will have to cut and paste the following address to get to the GPS data for the day, sorry!
It was a typical road walk with reasonable weather, although it was quite windy which made it rather cool. I even walked most of this with a jumper over my hiking top, which is most unusual for me! Roads were a bit narrow in places with not very wide verges so some care was required. After the 17.5km road walk we arrived at Owhango and immediately headed for the cafe for lunch!
Had a couple of breaks along the way, arriving at the café in Owhango about 1200, just in time for lunch! At the camp last night we had met a young 18yo German lass, Franziska, who was hiking on her own (with an injured foot). She was at the café when we arrived. B and I ordered some yummy treats for lunch and proceeded to spend about 1.5 hrs there eating and resting! We then headed down the road for a couple of kms and found a nice spot to lie down in the sun for 40 mins to take the weight(and shoes) off our feet.
We had said we would catch up with Franziska and camp somewhere on the 42 Traverse track together, as it can get a bit lonely on your own! We caught up with her not long after - ending up doing about another 12 km of the traverse, through some lovely bush and on quite a pleasant track before finding a good spot where we could easily fit both tents. Time for dinner (cottage pie!) and peppermint tea, then into the tent by 2000!
We were kindly offered a ride up to Taumarunui by our friend Geoff, so he picked us up at home, leaving Paraparaumu around 0945. We stopped for lunch at Taihape and then stopped at Owhango, where we dropped off supplies with Grant from Owhango Adventures, who are providing canoes for our Whanganui River leg starting at Whakahoro in a week or so. Great to be able to have it stored and then delivered to us aling with the canoe - as we don't have to carry it on our backs, it includes luxuries such as apples, "wet" dinners and beer! :-)
Then it was onto Taumarunui info centre where Geoff dropped us off before 1430. We had some torrential rain on the way up after Ohakune but it had eased somewhat by Taumarunui. After a brief stop we donned our full packs and headed off down the road to the Holiday Park, about 4km down the road. It was a nice stretch out for us, taking less than an hour! Much longer days in store ahead of us!
We had a cabin booked for our first night back on the road and it was nice to have a bed to relax on and have a cuppa, all while being out of passing showers! Blog completed by 1730!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!