Te Araroa Trail – Day 72
Sunday, January 14, 2024
Distance/ Total: 25.7 km / 16 mi
People started moving around the hut before 6:00 am and I got up and started packing up my gear. It was going to be another long day with a big climb to push through as well.
Claudio and I started out about 7:00 am. The trail crossed the river on a bridge and then started up a gravel road towards the trailhead. I was expecting a tramping track, but was pleased to find a nice gradual trail heading up the mountain. It was still a climb, but one of the easiest I’ve seen in the Tararua’s.
The trail was mostly through pine forest with several clearings to walk through. As I was walking through I kept noticing places that would make good campsites. It would have been quieter than the hut last night.
It was about 6.5 kilometers to the Pukeatua Peak and Claudio and Andi were taking a break there when I arrived. I stopped and ate my breakfast before continuing on. From here it was mostly downhill for about 5 km where the trail joined an old logging road. Likewise this was one of the best trails I’ve hiked in the Tararua’s. It was a gradual grade, little mud, and an enjoyable downhill walk.
Once on the logging road the trail was a little steeper and dropped down to cross a stream in a nice shaded valley. It was cool by the water and Andi was taking advantage of the cool air. It was a short walk to the trailhead and then the roadwalk began.
It was a 10 km road walk into Waikanae and we arrived in town about 4:30. After stopping for a cold Coke at the dairy, Claudio and I headed down the street to the motel. It was probably one of the most expensive motels on this trip, but was the cheapest I could find in Waikanae.
We cleaned up and headed into town to eat at Heaven’s Wood Fire Pizza. It was the best pizza I’ve had in New Zealand. Now that I’ve tried pizza from Hell’s Pizza (in Whanganui) and Heaven’s Pizza, I definitely prefer Heaven’s.
After dinner I finalized my plans to catch a train into Wellington in the morning and book a motel for the next 4 nights. I need my bounce box to get my medication and new shoes. I also need to find a store to buy new trekking poles since I’m down to one pole now.
I’ll then hike from Waikanae to Wellington utilizing the train to get me to the trail and back into Wellington each night. Good food, good bed, but long days.