Having been dropped off at the campsite yesterday p.m. we set up the tent and, as I noted in yesterday's blog, were subjected to some reasonable wind and a good deluge! Apart from an issue keeping the tent pegs stable in the sand :-( the tent stood up to the deluge in great fashion although it was obviously wet when we packed up for a start this morning.
We only ended up doing 15.3km today over 6 hours (planned!) as it made sense for our bodies and for camping. GPS track from the Suunto is here.
We needed a ride back out to our starting point on Cove Rd so walked a km out to Mangawhai Heads Rd. Beginners luck - second car past after a couple of minutes stopped and picked us up! So we were dropped at the DoC carpark just after 0900 from memory. At this stage I should say that it was already raining and with easterly wind and was expended to do so for rest of day (despite the unfounded optimism in yesterday's blog!) so we had our rain gear on!
We had a short walk down the highway before turning east into Bream Tail walkway - through the privately owned Bream Tail Farm. This was a lovely walk mainly through well-managed farmland that eventually joined the DoC Mangawhai Heads walkway along the cliffs south to Mangawhai Heads township.
Some nice stock, good tracks and fences. The above photos were taken at our first peak - about 130m asl from memory. After that we dropped down past some well fenced wetlands and then up a step pinch (150m asl, our high point for the day, into some native bush, including kauri. Eventually we left Bream Tail Farm and headed more southerly on the Mangawhai Heads walkway.
At the bottom near the wetlands we ran into a couple from Auckland who had a place nearby in Langs Beach and were out for a day walk.
The M-H walkway takes you from Bream Trail (the name of the headland north of Mangawhai Heads) south to M H. This starts along a rocky cliff face and eventually down to the beach to M H. From there it is about another 6km mainly on roads to Mangawhai township.
Apart from the rain and wind, the scenery and the walk was great. As it was an easterly, we were pretty exposed at times!
Mist of the cliff track was well benched into the eastern side of the hills (i.e below the ridge line) and was fairly easy going even with the weather the way it was. At the end of this the track descended quite steeply down to the beach employing a lot of very nice steps - relatively new and we'll spaced, which is a big help!
Having negotiated the steps and setting off along a relatively short stretch of beach (thankfully!), we bumped into the same couple we had meet earlier in the day - they had been to MH surf club and were on the way back. Lorraine and Don very kindly offered us dinner and accommodation at their place, including offering to come and pick us up from Mangawhai township when we got there! An offer to good to refuse :-)
We then meandered down to the surf club, from where it was mainly road walking (with a little on the estuary shore) for the additional 6km or do to Mangawhai.
We did, however, stop in MH centre for lunch, undercover. I had a (well deserved!!) burger and chips while B had some of the latter along with her sushi.
We got to Mangawhai about 1500, scouted the local 4Square, and called Lorraine to say we had arrived.
Lorraine and Don picked us up and took us back to their place where e had a very pleasant evening, with a delicious dinner, interesting conversations (among other things, their two boys are just a little older than Gray and Amelia) and finally a lovely night's sleep in a comfortable bed!
Turns out Lorraine and Don are off to the deep south this coming weekend - they are doing the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island followed by the Hump Ridge Track starting near Te Waewae Bay in Southland. If you're reading this, best of luck guys - we know you will ace it no trouble :-). Thanks again for such wonderful hospitality, definitely 'Trail Angels' it was very much appreciated.
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"!!