We only had a relatively short day to Colac Bay today so we were not planning to leave early. We ended up leaving around 1100 and getting to Colac Bay about 1515 - although I forgot to turn the Suunto off so the GPS track shows a bit longer! We did about 15km in the end, even though TA said about 13! The track for the day is here.
Scott was leaving Colac Bay at 0700 so we expected him around 0930 given his usual blistering pace!! Sure enough we get a text at 0930 saying he is crossing the bridge into Riverton. About 2.5 hours compared to what later took us 4 hours! So we shot down to meet him at the café and had a good catch up over food and drink. He was waiting for another couple of hikers to catch up with him so was happy to stop and chat - at their pace getting to Invercargill today would be a breeze. We had been following his blog but it was fantastic to catch up in person and hear how it had gone for him. We left just as the other two (Matt from England and Tara from the US) arrived at the café. We picked up our gear from the backpackers and after a quick food shop for Belinda we headed out of town over the Aparima River bridge.
The trail took us through a bit of the town and up over a headland to the south. There were some great views to be had here as it was a fine (but again breezy) day. Then it was down through some native bush on the Tihaka Beach track and into farmland above the rocky coastline, heading west. There were several kms of this, with the occasional drop down onto the beach. There were some very healthy looking sheep and cattle along the way - in some cases right down on the beach!
Eventually we got onto the beach proper. The tide was in and this beach (unlike the firm sand of Oreti yesterday) was loose pebbles/shingle and hard to walk on. We very quickly found a parallel road/track that we could get onto (we had sussed this out in the car when coming past a couple of weeks back!) to avoid the slog on the gravel beach. So we pretty much walked the rest of the way to Colac Bay along roads and tracks near the beach. Bought some chippies and lemonade as a treat when we arrived - headed over to the pub about 1730 for dinner and drinks, as well as using the WiFi to get a couple of blog entries published. We may be out of coverage for a bit now?!
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"!!