Today technically started at 0002 when the large 7.5 earthquake struck near Hanmer Springs in the South Island just after midnight. It is the biggest shake I have felt in my almost 60 years! It woke both Belinda and I up and, as most of you will know, went on for almost 2 minutes. Our YHA host, Clive, came down to check everyone was alright. It was certainly an experience for Franziska who had never felt an earthquake before! In Wanganui we didn't seem to feel many of the aftershocks strongly but it still affected all our sleep! What a way to start the day.
We were up around 0600 and left the hostel just after 0700 and knocked off for the day at the small coastal settlement of Koitiata around 1630. We covered just under 32km today. The day's journey can be viewed at: https://www.movescount.com/moves/move131057597.
While the first 3km or so was through town alongside the river, the reality is that this was primarily a walk along SH3, a busy main road - with the last 8km on a small country asphalt road. It's not a walk one would choose to do if it weren't part of the TA - walking alongside lots of traffic, including many trucks, with not many opportunities to get far off the road. So we just walked steadily all day with several stops to rest the feet from the hard surfaces.
Then it was out onto SH3. We walked for just under 2 hours before stopping at the Kaitoke Hall for a break out of the wind as the day hadn't really started to warm up. Then it was off towards Whangaehu and Turakina.
Not long after passing Whangaehu we stopped for a break, only to have a ute pull up alongside us. It was a couple of ex-colleagues of mine from Baker No Tillage! So Benjamin and Tim stopped and chatted for 15mins or so - great to catch up. We will probably see them again in 12-14 days as I had planned to drop in and see the team in Feilding when we walk through there - the TA runs close by.
We stopped for lunch by the antiques shop on SH3 near to the turnoff to Turakina Beach Rd. The lady said they only lost 3 or 4 pieces in the quake - a miracle when you see the hundreds of items of crockery and glassware they have in there!
From there we only had 8 km or so down Turakina Beach Rd to go. About 2 km from the beach a guy went past in the opposite direction giving us a toot and a wave. A couple of minutes later Dave pulled up behind us and offered us a place to stay (he described it as an old grey box!) instead of the campsite. He was heading to town for a couple of hours but told us how to find it and to go in and make ourselves at home if we wanted to. He said the weather was "turning to custard", which we already knew - so any offer of a roof over out heads sounded pretty good! We arrived at about 1640 and had a look - quickly deciding that we would definitely take him up on his kind offer! A typical old 1950's NZ Bach about to get a makeover, but with a hot shower, power, toilet and a dry floor to put the sleeping mats on. What could be better! The rain very soon set in, making the decision an even better one! A very wet walking day in prospect for tomorrow though, even if it will be a dry night.
We made ourselves at home and Dave joined us about 1900. He'd just come back from Aus so is in the process of setting the place up. A great evening with lots of interesting discussions before we camped out on the floor.
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"!!