Day 13: Kerikeri to Paihia

Distance travelled today: 22km

Total TA distance covered: 244km

Unbelievably good day.  

Awesome stay at the Hone Heke Lodge with hosts Victoria and David. They made me, and all Te Araroa walkers feel right at home. Picking up my resupply box yesterday I realised it was untenable to keep sending a huge box forward so I did some consolidation yesterday and reduced my box to a 6 bottle wine box size and packaged other items to be sent home. David was able to drop me at the post office and I got my boxes sent this morning. 

Then on to the trail it was. Latest start for me yet at 9am. Walking along I came across a middled aged bloke walking his dog. We were both evenly paced and neither could overtake the other so we ended up walking together and chatting for around two kilometres. How nice is that. A complete stranger, showed an interest in what I was doing and it sparked easy conversation that flowed for about half an hour just walking along. 

I soon hit the Waitangi Pine forest. Nice and cool under the canopy and easy walking on edge of gravel where the pine needles had collected. The route through here was really well signed and made for easy navigation. Other walkers had mentioned signed posted water sources along the way but I think these are more like fire dams for the pines and didn’t look too inviting to drink from. Not to worry I had plenty of water for the day ahead.

There are mountain bike tracks everywhere in this pine forest just like most pines in New Zealand. There’s an untapped market to create a trail similar to Te Araroa to link all the best MTB tracks in the country. You would want a support vehicle though. Too difficult to tour and hit the tracks up properly.

Much easier walking today and the kilometres are coming easy. I think my foot issues have stemmed from replacing the original inner soles of my trail runners just before leavng. Silly idea. I ripped out the new ones yesterday and put the originals back in. My feet were very much appreciative. Legs are throughly used to walking 20km plus a day now and no more soreness the following day. 

Walking along in a world of my own and listening to my ipod, the Pixies song came on with the lyric “you will ask yourself, where is my mind?” And i did. For the first time on this trip it was clear. In the moment, not thinking too not much but listening to the music and the rhythm beneath my feet; it was not at work, it was not anywhere really, one of the main reasons for this walk – to clear the mind. 

It’s been great moving on from Kerikeri, my first port of call since arriving in NZ, and with that move forward it feels like flipping the page of a great read that you can not put down and getting onto the next chapter.  The next few weeks should see the kilometres tick over relatively quickly and make it feel likesome headway is being made. 

Approaching Waitangi around 1 o’clock, the sapphire coloured waters of the bay of islands came into view. An easy walked through the golf course and it was onto the Waitangi Treaty ground, the place where a treaty was first signed between Maori Chiefs and the British in 1841. I had to do the touristy thing and have a look through the grounds. Interesting history. I think the treaty, for all it faults that are still being worked through, is one of the great successes of the Maori as a people, enshrining their rights and unifying culture; unlike our indigenous people in Australia who have been so poorly treated and continue to be, ripped apart from their land and culture. 

Arrived in Paihia around 3pm and have the boat sorted out for tomorrow morning. Looks like we may have 3 players in the mix now with Vicky, Jess and myself. An early get away though. 6am departure given the tides. 

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