We were up early again and away by 0700. Today was a 27km hike through to Waitomo village - the GPS data for the day is here.
Belinda's shoes had started to come apart at the front so we spent a little time doing some running repairs with duct tape! Technically our first 1.5km were still on Gayne Rd but farm track through scrub and bush would describe it better :-). It was a lovely sunrise this morning, with low cloud/fog in the valleys below us as we started.
It was a little wet, but pleasant walking conditions nonetheless - heavy dews again meaning that feet would be wet regardless of precipitation! The walk was a mixture of farmland, scrub and a little bush, including yet another farm airstrip to pass through, until around 1130 when we headed back into more bush for a while.
After a bit of bush we got onto a network of old forestry tracks that also appear to be used by horse riders and mountain bikers. These clay tracks tended to be quite badly washed out so going up and down was not easy, especially as it was a little damp which made things pretty slippery in places as well!
Occasionally we were directed off these clay tracks through shorter bits of narrower bush track with little DoC marker posts saying "not suitable for horses"! A little more bush walking then saw us emerge at the south end of the Waitomo Forest Access Track onto a gravel road.
We followed the gravel Ngatapuwae Rd for a couple of kms until we met up with a sealed road for the final 3km stretch past the Waitomo Caves to the Waitomo Holiday Park in the village itself. This was a gradual downhill, dropping about 160m over the distance to Waitomo village. We had booked a cabin for a couple of nights - with a planned rest day tomorrow it also gave us time to catch up on washing etc this afternoon.
We had intended to pig out on pizza but for some unexplained reason the pizza place was closed (its part of a local backpackers so very odd that it wasn't open - especially on a Friday night), so we retired to Curly's Bar close by for a pub feed and drinks before heading back to the relative comfort of our cabin for the night!
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"!!