Having had such a great day's progress yesterday, we had a much more reasonable day ahead of us today than we might otherwise have had (if we had stopped at Hauhungaroa Hut). Today we knew was around 28km of primarily steady downhill (from around 500m to 180m asl) walking on roads. The day's GPS data is here.
We got underway about 0700 setting off initially on gravel roads. It wasn't all that long however, before we hit asphalt, which was to be our lot all the rest of the way to Taumarunui today. We were passing through mostly farmland today, including past some more large maori land holdings. As in other parts of the country, dairy has found its way into some of these parts as well, although much of the land is still better suited to sheep and beef. The stock and lands were generally in good condition everywhere, which is always pleasing to see.
Not long after passing the Te Urunga unit, we saw a hiker walking in the other direction and, of course, stopped for a chat. This turned out to be Kristoff (sp??) - a German nobo who is walking on his own also. Talked for about half an hour, with Belinda managing to offload some of her sweet things (jet planes etc) onto Kristoff as we had almost finished!! We also took the time to warn him of the fact that it was the roar and it would not be silly to find something colourful to either wear or put on his pack - just to be on the safe side heading into the Hauhungaroas and Pureora.
After the chat with Kristoff we were off agin towards Taunmarunui. We reached the Taumarunui Aerodrome about 1230 and stopped for a bite of lunch before the final stint of around 6km into Taumarunui township. This was a pretty uneventful walk, but we did find a dairy on the way in and stopped for a real refuel (i.e. ice creams and sweet drinks!!
We had booked a motel for the night and had also booked a bus home for tomorrow afternoon. On that matter, we had hoped to book a train home for the experience, only to find that it no longer stopped at Taumarunui - this is sacrilege!!! So we settled for Intercity buses as the only other option. We arrived at our motel about 1400 - giving us time to rest, reorganise, clean clothes, repack and also to have a look around.
We later went to a local Thai restaurant just near the motel for a delicious dinner (and a couple of beers for me) as it was a while (Te Kuiti) since we had anything other than tramping food. Taumarunui may not be a real go-ahead town, suffering as it is from rural town issues (closing businesses, declining population etc), but it can serve up some scrumptious Thai food. It's amazing how much you can eat after a stretch in the bush!! It was so popular that we were struggling to get a table. Luckily a family of three from National Park kindly offered us the other end of their table - we spent a lovely evening chatting with Peter, his mum and partner while enjoying the food and beverages!!
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"!!