Te Araroa Trail – Day 16

Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Distance/ Total: 32.5 km / 20.2 mi

Today is going to be a long day so we were up early to get a 6:00 am start on the trail. I headed down to the walking bridge over the Whananaki River and captured the most beautiful sunrise on my camera.

The trail went over the walking bridge and then dropped down into the bay which was dry at low tide. It quickly climbed back up and followed a road to the outskirts of Whananaki where it then joined the Whananaki Coastal Trail.

This was a nice 8 km trail that followed the coastline up and down the mountains and through a couple of farmlands. Reaching Sandy’s Bay it turned into a road walk for the next 18 km.

The road started out as gravel, but soon turned to a paved road walk for most of the way. With an early start I made it to Ngunguru shortly before noon. I ordered a chicken sandwich and fries at a store there and ate it at a table out front. As I was sitting there the other hikers wandered in an bough food and resupplied at the market next door. I grabbed another days food at the market to get me through to Ruakaka.

We had made arrangements to get a boat ride across the Ngunguru River at 2:00pm and headed down to the river to meet James. He came across as 2:00 and picked 7 of us up and carried us across (2-3 at a time). Once across he spent some time showing us on a map where to cross the next few estuaries and the beach walk along Ocean Beach. Due to the tides we would be able to do Horahora Estuary today, but need to be done by 5:30pm. Taiharuru Estuary and Ocean Beach walk would have to wait until tomorrow at about 1:30pm.

We left him and made our way to the Horahora Estuary and started across about 4:00 – 30 minutes after high tide. The water was only knee deep and we made it across the river pretty quick. The worse part was the mud in the mangroves between the river and the road. About 600 meters of deep stinking mud to get through.

We made it through the mud and spent some time cleaning up. This was the end of the official trail for us today and we had 2.5 kilometers on a side road to get to Derick and Ann’s place to camp tonight.

We arrived about 5:30 and they showed us around, we set up our tents, and cooked dinner. After dinner they treated us with a rhubarb and apple crisp that was wonderful. We spent the next couple of hours visiting and getting to know each other. They are a wonderful couple and really like to meet the hikers and here about their adventures.

The rain started while we talked under the patio and about 8:45 we all headed to your tents for the night. There is no need to get up early tomorrow as we are going to have to wait on low tide anyway.

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