Our day started with a boat ride (thanks to David) over to Marsden Point followed by a hot chocolate to warm up. We chose a bit of road walking over trying to cross a river estuary after heavy rain (which actually turned out to be a lot of road walking but a good decision). It was followed up with a nice stretch along a beach and some more road walking into camp. We shared a cabin with Leslie who had stocked the fridge with a bottle of wine before we arrived, needless to say we were very thankful!
Waipu Cove – Mangawhai
We had mixed weather to start the day, but things picked up as the day went on. This turned out to be a great day hiking including trails through forests, hill views, cliff tops and white sandy beaches.
Mangawhai – Pakiri
We started the morning hiking down a wind swept beach, after an hour or so the rain started and only got heavier as the morning wore on. We followed the beach all morning which included a few river crossings, the last one was our deepest so far coming up to our thighs. We did about 23km before getting into Pakiri campsite and calling it a day. Leslie again was our saviour by booking a cabin with us so we could all dry out!
Pakiri – Dome Valley
From Pakiri we hiked to Dome Valley, the first section of the day was in pouring rain and via a rough and very unformed section of trail (the worst since Raetea Forest). Luckily the next two sections of forest were much better. We shared some time on the trail with Brett who raced off to the cafe at the end of the day. We were surprised to see him when we reach the cafe after closing time. He had bought us a cake each and waited for us. What a legend!
Dome Valley – Puhoi
This turned out to be a longer day than we calculated but the trail was pretty decent all day with a mixture of farm pasture, forestry tracks and well formed trail. The weather gradually deteriorated throughout the day and by the time we reached Puhoi it was beginning to get stormy. We made the decision to stay in the pub which turned out to be a great call as ‘the worst storm in years’ passed through that evening.
Puhoi – Orewa
This was our shortest day on trail but it started awfully with a few kilometres walking down State Highway 1. After leaving the road we passed a lightening struck tree and large landslip resulting from the storm the night before. We then walked along the coast into the Orewa which is a lovely seaside town. In Orewa we met up with Leslie again and shared a few trail stories from the last few days.
Orewa – Auckland
We road walked / hitch hiked to Browns Bay where we stopped for a quick refreshment and then spent the day walking down through Auckland’s bays and beaches. It was a huge satisfaction to get our first sight of the Sky Tower and it was even better to reach Devonport. After the ferry and an ice cream it was great to reach the YHA. Time for a few days off!