There was a reasonable amount of rain overnight but, miraculously, we awoke to a sunny morning! We packed up while enjoying the early sun and hit the road toward Whakahoro at about 0745. We ended up doing 21.6km in a leisurely 6 hours or so, taking our usual generous stops along the way! I forgot to turn the watch off when we reached the Blue Duck cafe, so the data says the day was a bit longer. The day's GPS data can be seen here:
Today was pretty much all on windy gravel roads with gentle ups and downs - we went up 280m and down 340m during the day! This was through a mixture of hill country farmland and bush blocks - some of which were DoC scenic reserves.
We were following the Retaruke River for much of the day, through some dramatic papa country with lots of steep roadside bluffs and very deep little waterways feeding into the Retaruke.
We had decided to have a later lunch at the café so pushed on through, reaching Whakahoro and the café soon after 1330. Had a nice feed of toasted paninis and soup (as will as a free drink each afforded to all TA walkers!). Also got to chat with a local DoC guy and with the Blue Duck Station owner, Richard Steele. He has retired around a third of the current 3000ha or so and has an extensive pest management programme in place alongside DoC's. Great to see such an example of public/private partnership on a large scale!
We settled into the bunkhouse along with a couple from Wellington, Kevin and Gill, who were there to canoe down the river with their 19yo son who is walking TA. Young Greg arrived soon after. Settled in about 2100 - we can't have breakfast at the café before 0800, and our canoes won't be here until around 1000, so it won't be a mad rush in the morning.
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"!!