After completing the Northland forests to Kerikeri, we decided to stay a few days in Opua. Partly weather-related (heavy rainstorm due) and partly a last catch up with Ria before she headed off overseas for a while (roamingria.weebly.com). Caught the bus down to Akl on Good Friday morning to spend the night in a small budget hotel just off Queen St. Had a wander around that afternoon and went to a movie - obviously not many shops open on GoodFriday!
We ended up doing around 20km today so not too strenuous. Track is here.
We had to do some shopping at Bivouac, Kathmandhu etc so decided to do that at Newmarket on Sat a.m. as it was just off the trail and the shops didn't open until 1000. We also arranged to meet up with Ben for brunch - while doing his teacher training, he is tutoring at Akl Grammar boarding hostel, which is just up the road.
Before getting to Newmarket we wandered through the University and the Auckland Domain for a bit of variety. After getting to Newmarket - meeting Ben, doing some shopping (new size 34 hiking shorts for me among other things!!), and having a leisurely brunch, we wandered back onto the trail with Ben and chatted all the way back up to the AGS hostel, which the trail goes right past. It was great to have the chance to catch up with Ben again, and we had a quick look around the AGS hostel before we carried on across Akl towards Onehunga.
Apart from roads, the next stop was the Mt Eden Domain where the trail took us up to the top of the old crater. There are some great views of Akl from there of course, and it's always nice do get off roads.
On to the College of Education and through their grounds, past the Easter Show at the racecourse (busy!) and southeast through to Cornwall Park. We had a bit of an issue with the frame of B's pack as we went past the racecourse but a bit of temporary roadside repair got us underway again. Then it was a pleasant walk up through Cornwall Park and then onto One Tree Hill - which we skirted around the side of rather than "summitting"!
Then it was mostly roads to Onehunga, with a small diversion through Jellicoe Park. We walked about 1.5km off trail to Ella's flat where we were staying the night. Ella wasn't there but had arranged a key for us - what a lovely niece! :-)
We wandered back into Onehunga for yummy Thai dinner before heading back to, among other things, do a repair on B's pack to see if we could stop the frame from coming apart.
So again we had a need to sleep in tonight! Luxury hiking?
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"!!