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 or 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.

I am ready to go but Covid-19 is not ready to let me leave

As planned I finished my 14 month contract position at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. There I have learnt a lot about Revenue, Reporting and Analysis for all the different transport related taxes in New Zealand. My repertoire of accounting knowledge now includes Road User Charges, Regional Fuel Tax, Fuel Excise Duty, Clean Car Discounts, Tolling, Driver Licensing and Motor Vehicle Licensing and Registration. All great knowledge to have gained but basically useless in any other field of work. This was my first real Public Service role so that was a learning curve for me. It is undoubtedly different!

I have learnt about that people can prepay, post pay, not pay, repay, under pay, over pay, mispay, don’t pay, can’t pay, won’t pay and pay twice. That all creates quite a lot of work for the finance department.

I worked with people from all over the world, with different personalities, strengths, work ethics and foibles. I had a good team of bright young accountants to lead who showed up how much I am slowed down in my old age. I have also made some new friends along the way.

But it is time to go off an another adventure and I was all ready to leave on Wednesday. However New Zealand has gone into a strict lockdown because the Delta variant of Covid-19 has got through our borders. We have had a great run over the last year living our life as normal, unlike many countries. So I suppose we can’t complain about the snap lockdown as we need to all get vaccinated before life will really get back to normal (whatever that will be in the future). I have been fully vaccinated since early June and was ready to go to Western Australia which has tracked along a very similar path to New Zealand. I have a G2G Pass which allows me into WA with a 14 day self isolation clause. My son has a decent sized upstairs area for me to isolate in away from the rest of the household. They can put my meals at the bottom of the stairs and I can sneak down to pick them up, just like a stray dog. However, I cannot get on a plane out of New Zealand yet. Tickets re booked for 1 September and I just have to wait and see if that comes about. Locked down until midnight on 31 August.

Our All Blacks pulled out of a game scheduled for Saturday in Perth so we have upset the Aussies so I hope they don’t take it out on Kiwi Granny who just wants to come over to visit her family and walk one of their great walking tracks.

In the mean time I am jobless and homeless as of tomorrow as my tenants take over then. This had always been the plan as living with what is on my back is something I do every now and then and quite enjoy. I will be staying with my youngest daughter, her husband and 11 month old grandson. This will give me some good time with them before I go away but I hope lockdown doesn’t last longer that they can put up with me. My eldest daughter had me for 4 months of the last lockdown as I had just finished Te Araroa when Covid-19 hit. I will do some much needed training for Bibbulmun Track by pushing the baby in the pram around the neighborhood with my pack on my back. That should do the trick!!

My bags are packed and I am ready to go but I may not be leaving on a jet plane too soon.

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Getting Ready for Bibbulmun Track

I have booked flights to Perth, Australia for 26 August and plan to start the 1,000km walk on 1 September. My son, Cameron, will walk the first week with me which I am very excited about. Hopefully my teenage grand daughters, Bec and Elle, will join me during their school holidays at some stage.

I am bringing some gear over for them to use so will need to pack carefully so as not to go over the weight restrictions. My gear list has not changed much from what I took on Te Araroa as I had that working well.

The first week of walking will be a shock for my poor body as I have put back on all the weight I lost on the Te Araroa and I have lost a lot of fitness and strength also. However I am sure I will be okay and end up fit and strong by the end and back to looking like the photo below.