We meet many people on the trail. Some of them are hikers like us, others we meet only once to experience their kindness and hospitality. This is the charm of the North Island – the opportunity to experience other people. After a month in the country of a long white cloud, we are more and more amazed how spontaneously people help each other. And it’s not just about Kiwis.
We set off quite early as Matt was leaving the house at about the same time. We wanted to say goodbye and thank him for everything. We said goodbye to Jasmijn the day before. We knocked on the door, coffee and tea were already there for us. We talked a bit with Matt and went back to the barn to pack our stuff. He drove to the market, we left a bottle of wine with a short letter on the table to say thanks for their great help and kindness. Who knows, maybe someday we will meet again?
The weather has clearly improved. We were sure that we will not be caught by some heavy rainfall at the summit and we felt much safer. There was some mud in the forest, but the closer we got to the SH1 (State Highway 1), the better the quality of the trail was. Instead of mud some gravel was laid and heavy descents were “dressed” in stairs. It took us an hour less to go through the forest than it was assumed in the Trail Notes. Along the way, we passed through a familiar landscape: gravel roads, forest and pastures – it was a pleasant stretch.
In the evening we arrived at Nanekoti Farmstay owned by an older Swiss couple from Lucerne. A young French woofer was helping here. Woofing is a popular way of visiting some countries by young people – 4 hours of work a day in a farm in exchange for food and shelter. Thanks to this, the costs of living are eliminated and you can spend the rest of your time on sightseeing. An additional advantage is that you can get to know locals better. After a few days, you can move to another farm.
The property consisted of a house and a barn, as well as a dog, which indefinitely wanted to play with a stick what extended the time of pitching our tents… On the ground floor of the barn there was a storage and a bathroom, and in the attic a living space with a kitchenette and three rooms was arranged. We made some dinner and ate some fruits from the basket. The hosts also had goats, and they made cheese from their milk. If we did not leave so early the next morning, we could try them…
The day started very nice. We started with climbing at 330m. The weather was promising, and we had a good pace of 4.5km/h, which allowed us to overcome the first stage very smoothly. After leaving the pastures, we entered a forest to which a cable footbridge led.
The forest itself reminded us of Poland at first. The same trees and twittering birds. Later, however, it changed into a typical New Zealand bush. Fortunately, it was not too far from Puhoi, and our earlier observations showed that the routes closer to towns are usually well prepared – this was also the case this time.
Finally, we descended the hill and got to Puhoi. We saw in advance that something was happening at the local bar because there were many motorcycles and oldtimer cars around. From that moment, the trail assumed a short canoeing trip, so I called three rental agencies before asking what this stage looks like. As it turned out, the kayaking was possible only during the high tide that we were late for. If, however, we would like to try the next day, the cost of renting a canoe for 3-4 hours is 100$… We did not want to wait until the next day, nor did we want to see how a hundred bucks in four hours sail away from us leaving only a trail of mud behind. Therefore, after a short lunch break, we decided to catch a ride to Wenderholm. We also decided that we would not camp there and we would go 10km further to Orewa.
While we were standing on the side of the road looking for a ride (occasionally looking at the beautiful muscle cars), a young man approached us as he was about to leave. He explained that he would have taken us, but he has a fully stuffed trunk. It surprised us a bit that he only came to explain the lack of space in the car, but it was nice of him. I think he did not want to feel guilty. After a longer while an elderly gentleman spoke to us and offered a ride straight to Wenderholm. The couple knew the trail, so we had a short chat in the car about it. They dropped us off in the park, where the river section ended and the forest began. We had a feeling that it was not their direction, because they admitted that they live in Waipu, miles away. They took us 6 km just like that so we would not have to walk along highway. Kiwis are awesome! They stayed for some ice-cream, and we carried on. In the park we came across a car show again (ah…), but we resisted the temptation and went on.
We hiked the next stretch with a lot of optimism and energy. The difficulty of climbing the cliff was compensated by beautiful views.
However, a much more interesting part was waiting for us right after descending. The trail led us along the coast under the cliffs.
This section had to be done during the low tide, when the water reveals a rocky picture and you can easily go up to the beach in Orewa. This time the tide definitely worked in our favor! Rocky works of art have made an amazing impression on us.
Although we were there around 4pm, despite the fatigue, we were enjoying the beautiful surroundings anyway. We took several breaks for photos. The landscape was simply fantastic.
After leaving the rocks, we covered the last distance walking through the city and the beach (oh, these beaches…). At Orewa Top10 Holiday Park we were quite late. As soon as we found our site, we fell on the grass. I thought to myself that we both deserve a beer. As soon as I said that I could still go quickly to the store and get something, a young Dutchman approached us, pulled out two bottles of beer and said:
– I don’t know what you have been doing but you look like you deserve it. Have a good one!
Thanks dude! Yes, it was a good day. We talked to our “beer rescuer” a bit, and then we started the scheme of a typical evening: we pitched the tents, we did the stretching, we took a shower, made dinner, took care of the blog and Instagram (we hope you are following us there – the link is at the bottom of the page). It was a long day, but very successful. Let’s keep it up!