Te Araroa Trail – Day 75

Wednesday, January 17, 2024
Distance/ Total: 46.6 km / 29 mi

Another early morning, not quite as early as yesterday. I caught the 6:20 am train back to Porirua and was on the trail by 7:00am.

It was a couple of kilometers through town before reaching the Colonial Knob Walkway. This was a 1.8 km, 300 m climb up to the viewpoint. There were a lot of stairs and it was a gradual incline in the other areas, but I was out of breath and soaked in sweat when I reached the viewpoint.

I was resting at the top visiting with a local resident when Andi walked up with Claudio closely behind. We all visited and caught up before heading out on the trail again.

From the viewpoint the trail wound through the hills going up and down through open meadows. I crossed a stile and began a nice descent through the bush. Reaching a trailhead the trail followed a paved road for several kilometers before entering another farm field and beginning an ascent up to Kaukau Peak and the skyline trail.

The skyline trail follows a ridge line above the Wellington suburbs with panoramic views of the city below. It soon drops down into the urban sprawl and alternates between roadwalks and recreational pathways as it heads toward the Wellington Botanical Gardens.

What I saw of the botanical gardens seemed nice, but because the trail was not well marked I spent more time trying to route find via my gps than actually looking around.

The route from the botanical gardens led through an old cemetery with many headstones dating back into the 1800’s. It was pretty cool, in a creepy sort of way. The trail now reached the Wellington Central Business District (CBD). It was about 4:00pm and it was really crowded. Not your usual hiking trail.

The trail left the CBD and headed for the marina where it followed the shoreline for several kilometers. It was a hot day and there were people swimming on the beaches and off the wharfs.

The trail then headed back up the last climb of the north island as it headed up Mt. Victoria, wound through the the reserve on bike/ walking paths and eventually up to Mt. Albert where I had my first view of the south end of the island.

The trail once again alternated between roadwalk and recreational walkways as it led down to Island Bay. The final stretch was a roadwalk along the southern coast and a walk out onto a pier in Island Bay. I was hoping for a sign or a blaze or really just anything to denote 1,715 km of hiking through the North Island, but none existed. I took a selfie with the island behind me and walked back to the bus stop, finishing the North Island about 8:00 pm.

A short ride later I was back at my hotel, cleaned up, then headed to the only restaurant I knew would be open at this time – McDonald’s. The dining room was closed, but I was able to get a bag of food and took it back to my room to celebrate my accomplishment.

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