We spent a lovely two days in Auckland. Enjoying the city life, eating and drinking very well. All too soon it was time to get walking again.
Our next section started out from Waitomo (where we spent a night camping at the YHA). The first 3.5km of trail to Te Kuiti were pretty much a horror show of crappy trail and gorse bushes (made worse by my slight allergy to gorse). After that the trail enters farm pasture which made the walk into Te Kuiti quite pleasant. We ended up wild camping in probably the most popular spot in New Zealand!
The following day we back tracked to Te Kuiti to arrange a lift to the Pureora Forest (we didn’t fancy 30+km of road in the rain!). We arrived at the forest at midday and started out on the Timber Trial which is a purpose built cycle/hiking trail and turned out to be the most pleasant walking yet. For the first hour or so we enjoyed the nice grade and decent trail, after this the rain picked up again and made the afternoon a rather soggy affair. We ended the day at Bog Inn hut where we met John and Luca, both TA hikers.
The following morning we made the decision to follow the Timber Trail rather than slog through some more muddy forests along the Te Araroa route. John also thought this was the better option and joined us. After regaining the trail we hiked our biggest day yet, crossing huge swing bridges and enjoying the pleasant sunshine. We found a great place to camp (with a cold stream bath!). The following day we finished up the Timber Trail and made our way to Taumarunui. In doing so passed the 600km mark! Woohoo!
John was great company on the trail with endless stories and anecdotes! We’d also recommend the Timber Trail for hikers who, if like us weren’t super keen on the North Islands forest ‘trails’. Now on to the Whanganui and some paddling!