Day 19: Peach Cove Hut to Waipu

Distance travelled today: 33 km

Total TA distance covered: 420 km

Perhaps I would have been better off in a tent for a good nght sleep. The idea of a hut yesterday seemed like a good idea. In hindsight I didn’t factor in the constant tossing and turning; snoring, frequent ups and downs of my hut mates off to the toilet, and the occasional although I’m sure unintensional door slam.

I think I just need more sleep but it didn’t come easily last night and there was no time for a sleep in this morning – I had a boat to catch.

Packing mostly last night made for a quick exit out of the hut at 6am. Throwning my sleeping bag into my pack, topping up with water and putting my stnky trail runners on, I made for the climb up the 803 steps (thanks Whytey – not sure who’s authority but I’ll accept it, I’m often day dreaming on the trail.)

I had a boat ride booked for 11am with David Chapey, a local at McLeod Bay, some 12km away, and needed to climb a mountain, traverse a ridge and climb down the other side to get there on time.

I took my time climbing the stairs out of Peach Cove. I knew it was going to be tough rising from sea level to 370 metres over a distance of 400m. The weather was mucking me about at bit too. It would start to rain and I’d get my jacket and skirt out (I’ll get you a photo YT) but it was just too hot. I think my jacket was getting wetter from the inside with sweat. The rain would stop and it was too hot to continue wearing this stuff so I’d take it off. This cat and mouse game with the rain and jacket continued for a long while.

Climbing steeply up onto Mount Lion with stunnng views on three sides. I could clearly see the route I’d taken yesterday and the massive boulders that stand like sentials over Bream Head – these were in cloud yesterday. I could also see the Marsden Point warf and oil refinery, the long beach walk ahead of me later today and the numerous sheltered bays I was headed to, to reach the boat. The view was spectacular and I decided to eat my breakfast overlooking the vistas below.

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From there it was a steep climb down another serious set of steps to Urquharts Bay. A quick road bash around Urquharts and McKenzie Bay brought me to Taurikura Bay and a small shop. It was time for second breakfast – this is Middle Earth – of coffee and meat pie. Yum. After a week of trail food my stomach thanked me.

I knew Chris and Cathi were aiming for the same boat and were somewhere behind me so I phoned to see that they were on track. On confirming all was well and we would all get to McLeod Bay just after 11am, I phoned ahead to David. Chris and Cathi were about 2km behind and just after I confirmed with David, I got a text from Chris saying they had scored a ride with an offering local at McKenzie. Half their luck!

I continued on to meet David at his house and the quick ride across the harbour. The waters here are crystal clear with great visibility down quite a way. In about 15minutes we were across.

It was then a short road bash around the oil refinery and back onto the trail along the beach. Again I hit the beach walk at high tide and it made for tough walking. Along the way I hit the 400km mark.

After around 7km I reached the Ruakaka River mouth that on low tide is waist deep. High tide, there was no chance in wading across. But as it happens another local Simon was on the other side of the river in a double kayak and waved over to me. In no time he cut across the water to reach the side I was on and offered to take me across. Awesome! Trail angels abound.

Then for a 5km section of sand, passing Uretiti Beach camp and onto Waipu. Another big day. The upside, my legs are solid as bro.

I found the Waipu Wandereres hostel, a really small, 7 bed hostel with a homely feel. The owners weren’t home so I called and they said just make yourself at home, which I did easily. Washing done, clothes dry, showered and resupplied.

Later on Vicky showed up, who I hadent seen for a couple of days, and a German couple I met at Whananaki, and who feature in an earlier photo of us tucking into burgers, but I can not for the life of me remember their names – would it be rude to ask at this late stage? No sign of the rest of the crew. I think they opted for a shorter day to Ruakaka.

I can highly recommened the Waipu Pizza Barn for dinner. Gourmet pizza and craft beer. What more can obe want. The perfect meal in my mind. I tucked into a Globetrotter Pizza – venison sausage, caramelised onion, streaky bacon, garlic, tomoato and copious amounts of cheese.

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