Distance travelled today: 9 km(plus 4km ferry)
Total TA distance covered: 595 km
Easy day today. More like half a rest day really. Found a nice, fancy, waterside cafe this morning close to the campsite, for some Sunday morning eggs benedict. It was a bit weired being back in civilsation though. Surrounded by city folk in their desinger clothes, reading the Sunday paper over lattes, while I rock up in my dirty clothes and unkempt appearance. But they were happy to take my money and my belly was happy with museli and powdered milk for a change.
The walk from Takapuna to Devonport felt really quick for what seemed like a dawdling pace. I knew I could not check into my roo until 2pm so strolled along nice and easy, a meander really, down the Takapuna beach, where every dog in town was out taking their owner for a walk; through some side streets and back onto more tucked away beaches. Before I knew it I was at North Heads and traipsed around the old military gun emplacements overlooking to entrance to the Auckland harbour. Up high the views across to the city made for a great vantage point for some photos and video. The wind was up though and I’m not sure how the audio will turn out.
Down to Devonport and onto a ferry I arrived in Auckland around 11:00am. I rambled up Queen Street on my way to the hostel and had another coffee on the away. Paid up and bags left at the hostel for a few hours I had to do really was saunter around the city.
It’s great to be in Auckland. It has been a mini goal within the bigger mission and marks a milestone. I get to pick up my first real resupply box that I mailed ahead, pick up my maps for the next section and start thinking what’s around the corner. I fly into Auckland when first arriving and it really feel like this trip is underway once I move past it.
Not much to say about the city really. It’s a city. A small city. If you have seen one you have seen them all. You could have been anywhere with the same familiar shops lining the streets. From the ferry terminal it was all Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada, before moving into the poor mans designer wear like Rip Curl, Rudd & Gunn, Oakley; eateries galore and gift shops, cheaper clothes retailers; outdoor shops (now we’re talking) and more easteries and speciality stores. I had a browse through but I really don’t need anything and don’t want to be carrying any extra weight. I must confess I did check out the outdoor stores but didn’t spend a cents. I will, however, be buying a gas canister tomorrow; in addition to a food resupply; and posting my bounce box ahead – probably to Taumarunui as I don’t think it will take too long to reach Hamilton.
Looking ahead, I think I’m likely to skip a day and catch a train through Auckland rather than spend a solid day walking 40 kilometres through city streets and suburbs. Where is the fun in that? It’s just a city and I don’t feel the need to complete this section just for the sake of staying on an concocted continual line. There are the trampers that must walk every simgle kilometres along the line, to the letter – to those people I say good on you, that is dedication. There are those that just want to do the fun bits and will hitch around most walk walking sections or entire sections all together – to those guys I say great, have fun, you’re only likely to do this once. And there are trampers like myself that will stick as close as possible to the main route but are willing to make some small changes along the way. As they say, hike your own hike. We’re all doing this trail for our own reasons in our own way and don’t need to justify our decisions to anyone but ourselves; and shouldn’t judge the decisions of others because they differ from how we think Te Araroa should be approached.