Grant dropped us off at the Aorangi/South St intersection at 0800. Our plan was to try and get to Old West Rd - in fact we got a bit further up Turitea Rd, covering over 31km. Today's GPS track is here:
The walk to Bunnythorpe was not too bad although there was a bit of traffic around on a Saturday morning. From Bunnythorpe the TA manages to stay off Railway Rd, which is nice. We were on the other side of the rail line on a small gravel road, followed by a grassy stretch which we assume was railways reserve land. This came out onto Roberts Line where we turned left and basically followed this for about 5km, across SH3, all the way to the banks of the Manawatu River.
Here we joined the river walkway, which is a good sealed path (with lots of grass alongside for TAers to walk on!), for several kms to the Fitzherbert Bridge. By now the showers were coming and going which, with a brisk NW wind, made for not so pleasant walking. We found a big oak tree to shelter under for some lunch while a pesky shower passed!
Then we were across the bridge and out to the Massey University campus. I had expected we would walk through the campus but, in fact, we walked a track to the NE of the campus. We did get views down onto the campus but skirted it completely. We did the see the plot of land I used for my research trials for my thesis though!!
We arrived out on Old West Road. As we were charging along, we decided we could do some more of Turitea Rd in order to shorten the two days we would have to do next to get out at Levin. I rang Grant to give him a pick up spot and an ETA. As we set off, the rain got a bit heavier so we made a dash for some tree shelter where Belinda got her poncho out for Franziska to keep her a bit drier and warmer!
We made it about 4.5 km up the road, where we found a spot where Grant could pull off the road, and decided to stop. Our timing was impeccable as he pulled up about 5 mins later!! It's fantastic to be able to rely on family to run around after you - it makes hiking/tramping life a lot more luxurious at times! We went back via Ashurst and took a small detour to the carpark at the western end of the Manawatu Gorge so that Franziska could see how the river flows through between the Tararua and Ruahine Ranges from the east coast to the west! Then it was back to Feilding for a hot shower, after which we all headed out to town for dinner.
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"!!