Days 1 to 5 Cape Reinga to Ahipara 101.5 km in 4 days

Day 1 –  12 km – 4 hours – Beach – Gale

Leaving Cape Reinga

 A short, but eventful day: weather wise anyway. We shared a ride to the Cape with a young Aussie woman named Georgia.  We welcomed her to walk with us for the first day so we set off in a gale.  The obligatory photos at the lighthouse was quite difficult as we struggle to stay upright but we were all hyped up and ready for our long journey.    The tide was rising when we reached the beach so we spent some time perched up on rocks in the wind and rain waiting for a safe passage. `  

It was a short day (12Km) but we were all very glad to see the stairs that took us off the beach to the Twilight Beach Campsite.  It was a baptism of fire for the three of us putting our tents up in a gale with the rain lashing down. we did this in front of the other 5 people who had arrived before us but were already making hot drinks in the shelter.  

Shelter at Twilight Camp

Dinner was cooked and people were heading into the warmth and comfort of their tents and sleeping bags by 5.30pm.  Our first day was over.  We were all a happy, tired bunch of people from all around the world. 

Day 2 – Twighlight Beach Campsite to Maunganui Bluff Campsite 28 km – 8 hours – Beach – Strong Wind

I didn’t sleep much that night due to a hip that doesn’t worry me all day until I lay down, but no-one slept well through the wet and windy night. All the tents passed the test of a good New Zealand gale so we were all happy to get on with the next day.

The rats had eaten my 5 days of scroggins but left the stale bun and banana skins…fussy critters.

The first couple of hours was through sand hills in the rain and wind and then onto the beach. Because of the impending high tide, Francis took the lead and dragged us along at a fast pace. Some of those behind us had to make mad dashes up into the sand hills so were pleased in the end.

We managed to find two separate rests stops in the sand hills away from the wind and had some time to get to know each other and rest the feet. Throughout the day we overtook and were overtaken by other hikers and a chat was good to break the monotony of the flat, wind swept sandy beach. 28 km on sand is hard work!

There is nothing, hardly even a log to break the monotony. We did see a puffer fish and a dead shark and quite a few blue bottles.

There was about 15 of us there that night , Austrian, Dutch, Aussie, Israeli, Germany and three of us Kiwis. I organised a exercise session after dinner which was well attended, We shared our pieces of equipment and knowledge and all went off to be feeling happy about our day if not a bit sore.

Day 3- To Utea Park 31 km – 8.5 hours – Beach – Wind side on.

I was awoken by a herd of wild horses sniffing at my tent, but it was time to get up and go as we had a 31 km day ahead. Georgia was really tired and didn’t think she could make the next camp so we went back to good tramping routine of walk for an hour then have a 5 minute break, a longer morning and afternoon tea break and a decent lunch break. So we managed to get her through the day.

Foot yoga at lunch time helped trick our feet into thinking they were just starting the day. Taking our shoes off and massaging our feet enabled us to find the hot spots and deal with them before they got too bad. A bit of “toe jam” added to the flavour of our wraps and cheese.

I enjoyed the meeting up with others as we made our way along the long boring beach., some people were struggling with blisters and sore muscles but I was feeling really good. We played some games to pass the time and shared our stories.

Lots of sand and not much else

We camped at Utea Park with a couple who have opened there property to TA walkers. They had a beer and hot showers ready for us as we dragged each other to the end of the day, our minds and bodies were ragged. We all appreciated arriving in the sun instead of rain.

There was a good crew there for the night so some more exercises, attending feet and meeting new people.

Day 4 – To Ahipara – 32 km – 9 hours – Beach – Tail wind and overcast (Perfection!) Total 101.5km

We all expected this to be a hard, long day especially those with sore feet, knees and backs. I was feeling really good, much better than the kiwi lad we came across who was tapping pipi shells onto his feet to try and aleviate the pain in his arches. He had been wearing sandals, as has the Isralie couple, who we had now lost due to horrific blisters. But the good Kiwi Lad used his ingenuity and hobbled in an hour or so after us that day but in time to join us for the evening entertainment.

Our lunch break was had with Ralph from Austria who joined in with our Foot Yoga session and walked to the end with us. We picked up a few more on the way and it was a bedraggled looking bunch who posed for the 100 km mark photo, Then we hobbled the last couple of kms to the Apihara Holiday Park, complaining that the shop was 1.5 km away

We treated ourselves to a Backpackers cabin and those who were tenting came to join us for our now infamous exercise and foot clinic session. We must have sounded funny to anyone coming past as we moaned and groaned through our stretches and then sat in a line massaging each other. Lots of laughs before bed. So much fun and a great way to get to know each other.

Group back massage

I didnt sleep well again even though I was in proper bed as my hip pained me. However exhaustion hit at about 5 am and I was last up at 10 am.

Day 5- Zero Day = Rest Day 0 km – Lovely sunny day

We washed our clothes, tidied our gear and planned our next session. Then we happily wandered the 1.5km to the shops to get food for a shared dinner and enjoy a big feed of fish’n’chips to get the overseas visitors into the swing of how we do things here. I love this life!!!

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