It was fairly cold last night so woke to a bit of a dew. Got up about 0600 and departed 0715 to head towards the start of the Tongariro Crossing. We ended up doing about 28km, arriving at the Tongariro Holiday Park around 1800. GPS track details can be seen (cut and paste URL) at: https://www.movescount.com/moves/move130668366
We had another 11km on the 42 Traverse Track before branching off onto the Waione-Coker Track just after a wet foot crossing of the Waione Stream. This 11km was a continuation of the sometimes rutted, sometimes smoother 4wd track we experienced yesterday. It passes through some lovely bush with occasional majestic views. For one of our breaks we stopped on the edge of a big drop down into the Whanganui River with lovely bush views - spectacular. We also had several stream crossings along the way before reaching the Waione Stream.
As with many other TAers, we had some trouble finding the start of the Waione-Coker, but eventually got there with the help of gps and some exploration! This was just after a wet foot crossing of the Waione Stream which was the largest waterway we have had to cross so far (photos above)!
The Waione-Coker is a quad bike track, but suffice to say it is not one I would want to take a quad over! There were heaps of muddy puddles and deeply rutted sections to negotiate which made for pretty heavy going at times. We eventually worked our way through this section and came out onto the road not far from the Hilary Outdoor Pursuits Centre. We made a detour into OPC because we knew someone who works there. Was great to catch up with Bridget, albeit briefly (she was acting as duty manager on the radio!). We also took the opportunity to replenish water supplies! We were alerted to some land access issues near the access road to the Crossing, so decided that we would stop 6km short of the access road at the Tongariro Holiday Park for the night instead of attempting a free-camp.
The remainder was mostly on roads but included a "TA special" across scrubby country past the Te Porere redoubts - remains from the maori wars. After that detour, it was back onto roads. Arrived at the camp looking forward to a shower, but aware that it left us another 7km or so to do in the morning before tackling the crossing, making it a very long day in prospect. The manager arranged for a bus to pick Franziska up to transport her the 7 km to the start to save her foot - B and I will be up early to walk it, meeting Franziska there!
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"!!