Day 14. Jaggers camp – Urititi camp. 33km. Total 412km.
Getting up very early again to see the sunrise at the beach. 6am is a perfect timing for the reddish clouds shimmering over the ocean. How can any day start better?
A few kilometers on the ocean until the trail will get tough again. From sea level I have to climb very steep up to a first hill at 479m altitude. It is as hard as I imagined when I saw the steep hill from the beach. Soon I am completely soaked in sweat and can’t breath while climbing through mud, rainforest, stairs. Didn’t I just had a good mountain training in the Alps? How can this be so hard on me while Jess and Brad seem to fly uphill. Eventually I am at the top of a first hill, set down my backpack and climb up that boulder. Awesome!
I won’t go through the sweaty and hard other climbs to the remaining hills but around 10.30am I finally walk down endless stairs back to the coast. I am reliefed to be through with hills for today. Now my task is to find a boat to take me across the water to the refinery where the trail continues. At the first bay I cannot see anyone going out so I continue. I don’t have a feeling that this is working out so I call the two guys mentioned in the trail notes. The first one only leaves at 7pm but for just 10$, the second any time but minimum of two people for 20$ each… The Canadiens all want to rather try and hitchhike to Whangarei for a break and resupply. I continue anyway on the trail when I get called back that a second hiker is coming and the boat will leave at 2pm at Reotahi bay. Great, that’s where I am, I have one relaxing hour for lunch (I bought a tomatoe and bananas in the local store, so good to have fresh food!).
At 2pm the car arrives and we put the boat in the water, it takes just 10minutes or so to cross. Very expensive again! I spend much more money than I thought, mainly for accommodation as I cannot just pitch my tent where I want but often need to pay holiday parks.
I am now close to the refinery and need to do quite some roadwalking to get back on trail (and making at least up for the part I left out on the other side). It’s very strange to walk in between high security fences with cameras until I reach the beach. As it’s getting high tide, I take the suggested alternative ‘pipeline’ track for a few kilometers before I get back on the road. The river crossing is only possible at low tide so I need to make a detour on the road. Just as I come out there is a supermarket! I buy some bread and peanut butter for my lunches (I am not a big fan of peanut butter but my other ideas haven’t quite worked out especially if it gets hot as today), apples and vegetables to complement dinner tonight. Great, my backpack just got heavier again! The road seems endless and my feet hurt. I pass a holiday Park but I want to continue to the DOC camping place a few kilometers further to save money. Luckily I can now walk barefoot on the beach, a relief for my feet and blisters. It’s getting late though and I am tired of walking when I finally reach the camp after 6pm. Quickly I prepare everything to lay down in my sleeping bag, warm and cozy, to relax my feet. A pity you can hear also the neighbouring highway and not just the ocean.
Day 15. Urititi beach – Manghawai. 36km. Total 448km
Tonight I feel a bit cold at night for the first time, also when packing up in the morning my hands are freezing. I am too slow and miss most of the sunrise, starting at 6.30am. The walk at the beach is so nice, but soon I have to leave it for road walking.
About 14km by road that seems never-ending until I get at least some beautiful views of the ocean. I have a second breakfast already at 9.30am (bread with peanut butter), I start to be hungry all the time!
Finally I am in a rainforest again, I just love the forests! Some shade as it’s now getting really hot. At a nice bench with view I meet an Australian who is having lunch and I join him (spinach wraps with tuna, yummy)! But soon I head off, still some kilometres to hike today. I continue through the forest with some nice views, then onto farmland for a while, I start being tired and my feet are killing me.
Then I suddenly arrive at the last stretch before town, a cliff walk. I take a short break for another slice of bread with peanut butter before starting the trail. And being completely stunned by the impressive coastal views. Another fantastic ending of a long hiking day, the cliff walk ends at the beach. From there it’s just half an hour to the hostel that I chose to stay at today, giving me some needed rest in a real bed, doing laundry,… The Coastal Cows in Manghawai is a nice little house with an open kitchen and couch area with a few rooms upstairs. The lovely host promised to bring some banana cake later and I am just relaxing (in my rain clothes as everything else is in the washing machine!).