Te Araroa Trail – Day 140

Tuesday March 26, 2024
Distance/ Total: 9.9 km / 6.2 mi

We woke up to more rain and strong winds. We even had some lightning and thunder, only the second time I’ve seen lightning on this trip.

We spent the morning staying warm and dry in the small cabin at Bluff Freedom Farm. The rain was forecast to be lighter in the afternoon and we waited until about noon to start off. There was still a light sprinkling on and off but much better than this morning.

The trail was a short roadwalk before turning off onto a farm track around the base of Bluff Hill. The track followed the shoreline and the wind coming across the sea from the south was blowing in some big waves.

We circled about half way around the hill to a rock called lookout point. I walked up to the point, but the wind was blowing so hard I didn’t climb up on the rock.

The trail now turned and began ascending up Bluff Hill. The trail was a nice gravel based walk with several flights of stairs leading up to the peak of the hill. The sun had come out (only for a few minutes) and we had gotten hot in our rain gear. We shed the rain gear and started working our way down the hill to Stirling Point, the southern terminus of the Te Araroa Trail.

Once again this was a gravel walkway with steps down the hillside. Near the bottom was an old WWII gun emplacement built into the hillside along with the remains of the small encampment used by the soldiers who manned the gun. We took some time to read the historical markers before finishing the walk down the hill

The trail ended at a parking lot and across the parking lot was the signpost signifying the end of the trail. Shaun and I took photos of each other and asked another tourist to get a photo of the two of us together. It was a joyful moment and we spent a few minutes their reflecting on our accomplishment.

We didn’t spend long though as the sun was already dipping in the sky, the air was becoming cooler, and it began sprinkling again.

We had a 2km walk from the terminus to the Bluff Lodge, our accommodation for the night. There was a small lighthouse and several historical markers along the route describing the whaling and oyster history of Bluff.

We reached the Bluff Lodge just as the rain picked up and ducked inside out of the rain. We were able to get a private room for the two of us and settled in for the night.

Bluff is a very small town and there were no restaurants open on a Tuesday night so we bought a frozen Lasagna and some garlic bread to share for the night. We returned to the hostel, cooked dinner, and spent the evening visiting with other hikers and guest until well past 10:00pm. It was a fitting end to a fantastic trip walking the length of New Zealand.

So what’s next: I have a PCT permit for a May 2nd start at the Mexico border to hike northbound to Canada. It’s over a month away and I have about 2 weeks in New Zealand before my flight home. I have a mental list of things I want to do/see while still in New Zealand, but haven’t put together a schedule yet to see what I have time to accomplish. That’s my goal for tomorrow, but for tonight I’m just going to get some sleep.

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