Having been out of action for 3 months or so waiting for the dodgy knee to hopefully recover, it was finally decided to test it out on some more of the trail. We selected a start at Marsden Point as a reasonable option, the walk from there to Auckland seeming to be not too tough! To keep order, I thought I would call this Part 2 Day 1, and so on.
Flew up to Auckland where Ella, our lovely niece, picked us up from the airport and let us stay at her flat in Onehunga for the night. Took the train into Britomart next morning and spent a short time looking at nearby sights around the station/wharf area before catching the bus north that dropped us off at Ruakaka. A short 2.4km road walk ensued to get us to the campground. Went for a brief swim in the Ruakaka River estuary - almost warmer than the swimming pool at home :-)
Weren't entirely sure how we were going to get to Marsden Point to start the walk - thought hitching would work as we didn't want to walk an unnecessary 9km extra! Long story short, as we were packing up the tent around 0645 a lovely lady called Shirley, who we had meet while swimming, came over and very kindly said she would drive us up there! A "trail angel"!
So, after a tour around One Tree Point looking at all the new housing developments, Shirley dropped us off at the Marsden Point jetty.
Off onto the beach we went. In the words of Yogi Berra (I think!?), it was a case of deja vu all over again! Apart from the Herekino forest, beach is pretty much all we seem to have done so far. For those interested, the day's gps track from the Suunto can be found here.
A bit like Ninety Mile Beach - sand, sea and wind, but also a few fishermen and women and a few people to stop and chat to. We had planned the first 9km to arrive at the Ruakaka River mouth around 1040 so we could cross the estuary at low tide. It was no more than knee deep at 1050. Shirley, who is interested in photography, was waiting there and got some shots of us arriving at the river mouth and also of us crossing the estuary. She will send them to us later and i will add them to the blog for interest's sake!
Our new-found relaxed routine saw us stop for almost 30 minutes for a break at the campground before heading south again.
There was also a bit of time for me to express my artistic side (which hardly exists in reality!) and draw B a (sort of) horse alongside some real hoof prints!
Another 4km or so saw us stopping at DoC's Uretiti campsite to take an hour's break for lunch while sheltering from the wind!
With that it was back to the beach with around 6km to Waipu - 3km or so of beach and 3km or so of road.
We got to our backpackers around 4pm and settled in for two nights. The weather forecast for Friday was lots of rain and we also thought we might need a rest after 20km on our first day!
Overall, the bodies have held up OK although mine was a bit hobbly at times. The knee is certainly no worse so that's good news!
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"!!