Day 17: Ngunguru to Pataua.

Distance covered today: 30 km

Total TA distance covered: 366 km

Today is when I rant, bitch and moan about road walking!

WARNING: there is very likely to be frequent swearing in this post.

Seriuously what the fuck was today about other than getting from point A to point B. All of about 4km of ‘trail’ walking today through bloody harvested pines on old logging roads and a short section along a river with two crossings and the rest of the damn way on bitumen roads. Not a single interesting thing to look at today and I don’t think I even pulled the camera out. I did pull the gropro out and have a similar rank which will be aired at a later stage.

What is more, the first 13km of road out of Ngunguru were bloody outright dangerous. No verge to walk on, you’re basically on the white line, tight turns and very bloody busy. And the locals drive like lunatics!

I wasn’t about to start hitching but after 5km of this nighmare an Irish guy pulled over and said “Jump in mate.  Too fuckin dangerous for this shite. It’s a notorious road.” With my philosphoy of saying ‘yes’ to opportunities on this trip, I didn’t have to be asked a second time. In no time Tim had me through the worst of it to the turn off I needed.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, road sections are necessary to link sections of track and to form a continous line from top to bottom of New Zealand – but today was a fucking joke.

Even after the pines another 13km hard slog on similar but quieter roads to Pataua. Given the constant traffic and the need to stay vigilant to make sure you don’t scare the drivers and maintain enough space, it was impossible to even try and kill the time listen to a podcast or audio book – too dangerous for headphones in ypur ears.

Relentless pounding on the bitumen plays havic with the feet. Everyone is having the same hard time.

The consolation at the end of the day was that I found a nice quiet camp site at Treasure Island in Pataua. I was windy and sunny, perfect for getting some chores done like washing all my clothes. Pataua is quiet at the moment but this place must rock in peak holiday season.

Chris and Katy showed up at the same spot as well. I haven’t seen these guys since the Puketi Forest and it was great to cach up, share stories and laughter. They had exactly the same thought on todays road bash marathon. WTF? We talked shop as well, discusing tactics for the next couple of days, how far we might get with the tide conditions, diffetent options and what we may do to get across the Whangerai Harbour to Mardsen Point.

While eating dinner, the man who can not be stopped, Bob, showed up and said that the US girls and Bernard might behind him as he saw them crossing the Pataua footbridge. We have become quiet the trail family. It is great to have people who are experiencing the same journey and shared memories, albeit we are each walking our own walk; at different speeds, stopping at different places, but reconnected each night or every couple of days. I love this life! Think I need to approach the TA Trust about a job – I could walk all the time, with a support vehicle of course, updating the track notes each year and working with landholders to reroute off roads. Rob if you’re reading this – call me.

A really early start is required tomorrow with a 3km section through estuary mangroves that needs to be done at  low tide.  While I wont be walking through at vey low tide around 4am, I’m aiming for a 5:30 get away from camp.






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