Te Araroa Trail – Day 74
Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Distance/ Total: 46 km / 28.6 mi
I was up early this morning, too early. I set my alarm for 5:00am so I could catch a 6:20 train back to Waikanae. I was ready before 5:30. I waited around the hotel room until 5:45 then walked the 10 minutes to the train station.
The good thing is I got there early enough I had plenty of time to call my parents. I had plenty of time, but unfortunately my phone didn’t, I got cutoff mid-conversation because I had used all my minutes. I “topped up” my minutes and called them back to finish our conversation.
I reached Waikanae about 7:30 and stopped and picked up a coffee where I got one 2 days before. I drank it while walking the trail out of town. After a short roadwalk the trail turned off onto a shared path along the Waikanae River. It was a nice path and led out to Waikanae Beach.
For the next 10 km it was a beach walk along the coast. The weather was hot, but a nice breeze off the water kept it cool. Leaving the beach the trail continued on a shared pathway into the dunes with some nice views of the beach below. To finish up the beach walk it followed a paved pathway along the coast and finally to the small town of Paekākāriki. There were several cafe’s in town and I stopped at one to enjoy some nachos and a cold Coke before getting back on the trail.
The next section of trail is called the Escarpment Trail because it is on the edge of a hill that drops off to the ocean below. The train follows this hill (through several tunnels) below. The trail is partly in the bush, but in areas where your out of the trees the view is amazing. It’s a pretty good climb with lots of stairs up to a viewpoint near the top of the hill and then even more stairs on the way back down.
Despite the popularity of this trail I was surprised to see a detour around a slide area. As with most detours around slides the trail turns and climbs straight up the mountain, turns and crossed above the slide (usually on an off camber track), and then goes straight back down to the trail. This didn’t seem like a recent event. The trail has been this way for some time.
After the slide detour it was a pretty easy trail back down the hill ending at a railway crossing and entering a neighborhood.
The rest of the day was a series roadwalks and bike paths until I reached the town of Porirua and the train station that would take me back into Wellington.
I reached the Wellington train station about 8:00 pm and walked to my hotel to get cleaned up before heading to dinner. However, I didn’t realize that finding a restaurant open past 9:00pm was nearly impossible in the city. I ended up going back to the hotel and fixing one of my hiking dinners of ramen noodles and tuna. Not the expected ending to a long day.