3. Te Araroa, Bay of Islands (Paihia to Whangarei Heads)

We had a great rest day in Paihia. It’s a lovely little seaside town with plenty of cafés and places to graze after a few days on the trail. We arranged transport at the isite to the start of the next track. Our next day walking started with a very scenic boat ride 8km’s up the Waikare inlet. Once we unloaded the boat our walked started by passing through Waikare and a series of small Maori settlements and into the Russell Forest. The next section of the walk was 4km up a stream (I managed to keep my feet dry for 2.5km’s). This was great fun. We followed the track out of the forest and ended our day at the top of Webb Road in a wild camp with stunning views!

Alex and Leslie shoal hoping
Alex and Leslie shoal hoping

 

The view from our camp!
The view from our camp!

 

We planned a short day for our second day to allow ourselves plenty of time at camp to dry out our boots! So after completing the Morepork Forest track and a short estuary walk (where I got electrocuted by a fence!) we called it a day at Whananaki campsite.

 

Harriet approaching Whananaki
Harriet approaching Whananaki

 

Out of Whananaki we hiked to Ngunguru. This was one of the best days hiking yet! We started by crossing the Southern Hemishpere’s longest footbridge over the estuary, followed a scenic coastal track and then finished with some great forestry walking!

 

Whananaki Footbridge
Whananaki Footbridge

 

Princess Alex keeping his feet dry
Princess Alex keeping his feet dry

 

The following day involved a lot of road walking down to Pautau South, then a wade through an estuary to reach Tidesong B&B. We can’t recommend Tidesong B&B highly enough, Hugh and Ros treated us so well that we had an impromptu rest day and spent another day with them.

 

Lovely mangroves...
Lovely mangroves…

 

After resting up we did the remainder of this section on a truly awful day. It didn’t stop raining once! Unfortunately most of our kit scored 0 points for waterproofness this day and we got soaked! We missed all of the views walking across the Bream Head Hills and were very relieved to reach Dougies  place (a small camp/B&B) in Mackenzie Bay where we slept in his art gallery.

 

300km down!
300km down!

 

Stunning views from Bream Head...
Stunning views from Bream Head…

 

Harriet exiting the Bream Head mountains
Harriet exiting the Bream Head mountains
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