Day 5 Paekakareiki to Waikanae with some company – 22km

After another fun night with Phillipa and her friend I was ready for another 22km walk along the west coast with some company for the day. Pip and Jane are walking Te Araroa South Island SOBO starting before Christmas this year. They have followed my SOBO blog and are all kitted out and excited about the adventure to come. I am sure they will love every hard damn step of it!

Also along for the walk was Linda, a landscape gardener, who was involved in planning the original track through the area with Geoff Chapple. She must be proud to see the trail being used by so many people now.

It was a chatty day as you would expect with 4 women together for about 8 hours straight. We walked along paths adjacent to the beach most of the way with a small section on the actual beach. That was enough to remind me that beach walking is not so much fun with a full pack on my back.

We came across some locals whitebaiting. There is is a short season each year where we can catch these wee fish in nets, usually in estuaries. They are a iconic New Zealand delicacy. People have favourite spots which are closely guarded and defended.

The plan had been to head into the Taraura Ranges the next day with Lois but the weather was not looking good. It is an acceptable risk to be in rolling farmland in a gale but definitely not safe to be on a mountain range in a storm for 5 days. However Lois and Rohan met us along the trail and we joined them for a much deserved beer. over the beer of 3 we decided to try again for after the 25th, 2 weeks away. The others caught a train back to Plimmerton then I was picked up by my friend Trevor and taken to stay with him and Maxine in Paraparaumu for a few days while I tried to hatch another plan.

They were pleased to do their bit for society and take in a homeless, jobless tramp and feed her up with good nourishing food before sending me on my way back home.

It was 2 hour bus trip back to Palmerston North, all masked up, listening to my e-book “Batavia” about a shipwreck in 1629 along the Western Australian coast. I had downloaded this to set the scene for my walk in Australia. I definitely would not have wanted to come across any of the mutineers from that ship. They turned into thieves, rapists, murderers and brutes in their fight for survival and over the treasure aboard the ship. I hoped the resident Australians would have been a lot less scary. Those who survived had eaten a lot of the funny looking “cats” that hopped around on large feet and had babies in their pockets.

Day 1. Island Bay to Wellington Railway Station 12km

Freedom again so I was out the gate like a cut cat. I enjoyed my stay with a cute wee grandson but I had left work for a bit more adventure so I was out the gate like a cut car as soon as we moved Covid levels.

Delta level 3 meant I could be on the move however buses and trains were still not running out of Palmerston North. To start my NOBO (Northbound) I needed to get to Wellington which is the Southern most end of our North Island.

So I called up my friend, Maxine and asked for a ride. I was pretty sure she would be eager to get out of the house after 2 weeks locked down and I was right. That got me half way and then I caught a commuter train, then a bus to Island Bay to start my walk.

Starting Te Araroa this time was nowhere as exciting or scary as when I began my SOBO in October 2019. This time I knew what I was in for, physically and mentally, I knew my gear was good and I knew the route.

I found it quite hard wearing a mask as my glasses fogged up meaning I couldn’t see much at all. I had trouble seeing enough through the fog and was fumbling to find money, so I was told not to bother, it was a free trip. Quite a good way to have a free ride.

I really respect all those people who have lived and worked with masks for the last 28 months.

I don’t like those masks but they are a necessity.

Starting was a bit of an anti climax as it was blowing a Wellington gale and there was no one else at the park to witness my start. Maybe that was a good omen as it was also blowing a gale when I started last time.

I was pleased to get away from the coast line and begin to walk up and over the first of the 2 mountains for the day, Mt Albert. Soon I was passing the line on the road telling me I was safe from a sunami so that was good. I followed the Southern Walkway up and over Mt Wellington along the high fence around the zoo then down to Oriental Parade and back through the centre of our capital city.

I managed to lose the track a couple of times so there goes my theory of knowing the route.

I was surprised to see everyone was wearing masks on the street and keeping their distance. There is no Covid in Wellington but being the home of our Parliament everyone is very compliant here. Noticeably no one else seemed to be wearing glasses and constantly having to wipe them as I was.

I had booked in at the Waterloo Backpackers and am sharing a room with a Japanese girl who got stuck here alone for the 2 weeks of lockdown so she was pleased to have some company.

Dinner out with my lovely granddaughter, Hope, has completed a good day for me.