Mangawhai 442km to Puhoi 516km (day 28-31)
We knew this would be a tough section, so we didn’t let the wonderful 21km beach walk to Pakiri go to our heads. It was stunning, and isolated, with a great holiday park at the end. Magic.
It was during the next 3 days which, if we could have teleported out, we would have. We did try to get an Uber at one stage….Mt Tamahunga and Dome Forest are two stupendous tramping tracks. The elevation profile doesn’t come close to showing the amount of up and down required, and only hints at the steepness. Through admittedly wonderful forests.
The first track took about 7 hours, for a mere 10km. We we’re lucky to camp at Matakana Outdoor Centre, where we were able to purchase and BBQ wonderful lamb sausages, to add to our delicious couscous! That surely helped us survive the next day!
The next day through Dome Forest and towards Moir’s Hill, was our first 10 hour day. I am sure it won’t be the last, but I really hope there are not too many! The first 15km to the Dome Forest cafe (now closed), zapped our mental and physical energy. It was beautiful in places, and we have seen a lot of mature Kauri along the way. The path had been upgraded near the end, and we were thankful for the 100 steps, rather than tree roots to climb down.
Alas, no Uber arrived, so we crossed SH1, and continued walking. Thankfully mainly forestry tracks, for another 10km, to our wonderful camping spot at Nanakoti Farmstay. Goats with bells, and a friendly dog welcomed us, and we joined 2 other TAers, camping on the lawn. Hot shower included, so after about an hour we felt human again.
Just 6hrs faced us the next day, and most of the climbing on forestry roads, rather than DoC jungle! One section though proved too much. The heavens had opened when we were on an exposed ridge, making everything a little more treacherous. One farmer showed his displeasure at sharing a boundary with the TA, that he had rigged up an electric fence all the way. Pete, unfortunately learnt it was on, even though there were no animals in sight. That was followed by a manically steep, overgrown downhill. Pete took a tumble, and wrenched his knee. Ouch!
If there is an upside, it is that we were 200m from the end of that track, and instead of joining the next Ridgeline jaunt, we could take the road to Puhoi. Oh, and after 1.5km, there was a cafe! Pete’s knee felt a tad better after a butter chicken pie. We hobbled another 2.8km to the Puhoi Pub, basking in afternoon sun. A couple of points brought back our good humour, and perspective on the couple of days. We’d made it! TA has much much more in store for us, (we are just at a little over 500km mark) but we had survived this first test, and felt pleased with the achievement.