We left the campsite about 0700 in order to get into Huntly for a 0735 bus to Ngaruawahia. It only takes about 15 minutes and we were dropped off at a bus stop right opposite the one we picked the bus up from yesterday afternoon. We got underway just after 0800. Today's effort was around 20km of relatively flat walking to Hamilton City Centre. We had booked a backpackers room for the night near the city centre.
Today's GPS track is here.
The first 5km was walking along the old main highway (now bypassed by the Waikato Expressway) out of Ngaruawahia to the Horotiu Affco meatworks. From Horotiu we turned off the road and after just less than one km came to the start of what is called the "River Ride". This is essentially a cycle and walk way from here right through to Hamilton City.
The trail then followed the river for about 2.5km until just past the large Fonterra plant at Te Rapa, where we left the river for about 2km before rejoining it.
The short road section after the Fonterra plant also took us past the Waikato Equestrian Centre which, of course, made Belinda's eyes light up!
After getting back alongside the river, the next 9km or so into Hamilton stayed on the river, passing under four bridges along the way. The trail actually has you turning in to the city centre at the Claudelands Bridge (bridge #5) but, as our accommodation was just north of this, we got off the trail before this and headed straight to the backpackers (only about 300m or so off-trail). It had only taken us less than 6 leisurely hours - arriving around 1400.
The early arrival allowed us plenty time to walk to Bivouac Outdoor, to Kathmandhu and to the supermarket for a resupply for the next few days through to Te Kuiti. We also arranged to meet up with John-Paul and Sue - friends from Te Awamutu. JP also had our maps from Pirongia south (which I had given to him when we started in October last year) so we needed to lay our hands on them. It was great to catch up with JP and Sue - we ended up going to a tepenyaki restaurant for dinner, which was a lot of fun!! Highly recommended for the "theatre" as well as the food. Turns out JP's memory is dodgy [Sorry JP :-)] and he forgot the maps - so we arranged to meet up on the trail at Whatawhata the next morning to get them off him!!
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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"!!