Having had the kind offer of a ride into Whangarei with Hugh and Ros in the afternoon, we were under no pressure for time at all today. We had planned to watch the Aussie ladies tackle the estuary crossing but, in the end, with tides rising (very early low tide), Hugh drove them around to the other side to start their journey south. We very much enjoyed crossing paths with the ladies and listening to their stories of hiking in different parts of the world. Hope the rest of your trip goes well Kay, Margaret and Jane - maybe we'll see you back in NZ again sometime in the future :-).
We had a very leisurely wander around the grounds and down the short road (to find the gap in the mangroves we had missed last night!!). It really is a lovely spot for relaxing.
Hugh suggested we take one of the double kayaks down the estuary so later in the morning we set off (with a near full tide) and paddled out through the mangroves and back down the estuary where we had come from yesterday. Ended up going almost 2km back to the reserve where we started our estuary walk.
Hugh had mentioned stingrays being seen nearer the mangroves and, sure enough, we were lucky enough to see a couple - although no photos as they move off really quickly once they think you are stalking them!! We paddled up to the orange TA marker that marks the crossing point - which was, of course, high and dry when we walked past it last evening. Coming back we also saw, as clear as day, the opening in the mangroves that we had missed last night - it beggars belief that we missed it, but things are always different when you are tired at the end of a long, hot days walking!! At least that's what we told ourselves anyway :-)
We left Tidesong about 1530, with Hugh taking us on a bit of a "tiki tour" on the way in to check out a few local features! They then dropped us off at the campsite and headed off to Kai Iwi Lakes. We are coming back to stay with Hugh and Ros, when we have finished our brief sojourn at home, to finish off the two days walking round to the end of the Whangarei Heads - looking forward to catching up again.
Had a pleasant little cabin for the night and the location of the campsite not far off SH1 meant it was easy enough for Andrew and Ria to drop by and pick us up the next morning for the trip to Auckland airport and on to Wellington.
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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"!!