We left our accommodation just after 0715 - finally stopping at 1730 after almost 38km in 8.5 hours walking. We made it to Freehold Creek just where the trail turns and heads up the creek. We had thought we might go up another couple of kms to what the TA notes refer to as an informal campsite just below the treeline. However we bumped into 4 kiwis who had just come down and they said they couldn't really find it - so we decided to camp where they were, rather than starting uphill into the beech. GPS data for the day is here.
We set off out of town alongside SH8 and headed over the canal outlet by High Country Salmon. Then it was a right turn heading up alongside Lake Ruataniwha (not that we saw even one taniwha!) towards the Ohau A power station. Then it was on up the Ohau River to the control gate at the base of Lake Ohau. All this time was basically on or alongside metalled 4wd tracks and the scenery can best be described by the photos (not the most exciting always).
At the weir we rejoined the Alps to Ocean (A2O) cycle trail, so the track became a nice smooth, lightly gravelled jaunt besides the lake for 9km! It was windy pretty much all day again today. In this part of the country it seems easiest to just refer to every wind as a headwind!! Had a couple of breaks earlier today, before stopping for lunch at 1300 just off the track beside the lake, after covering almost 22.5km. While we were sheltering out of the wind having lunch, about half a dozen cyclists went by - so the trail is used!
We were back onto an asphalt road for a little while for the last bit into Lake Ohau village. Stopped at Lake Middleton campground, just next to the village, as they had toilets there, before walking about 50m to look at friends’, Cheryl and Malcolm, building site in Lake Ohau village. Great to see progress in the form of the concrete pad being poured recently. We could have stopped there but it was still only 1530 and we wanted to make more progress. We sent Cheryl and Malcolm a photo of us perched on their concrete slab - will have to come and visit when they are down here!
So we were back on the road after a brief stop, walking another 3km or so to where the track turned off the road near the Glen Mary Ski Club. We headed up a 4wd track which meandered back and forth but eventually took us up to join up with a cycle trail again which, of course, means really easy going for us!. From here it was only 1.5km to the bridge over Freehold Creek, and another 50m or so past this was the turnoff into the hills where we ended up camping. We saw two kiwi couples there setting up and, as noted above, they commented that they had looked out for the informal campsite on their way down and hadn't seen anything obviously suitable - on the basis of that, we found a flattish spot in this open area to set up camp for the night.
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"!!