Trip Report TA: North Island pt3

Ebb and Flow

A bright sunny days wakes me up and I begin the long beach walk to Pakiri. I catch Isabella and we have deep chats all the way into town. There are a few shallow water crossings, plenty of oystercatcher birds and a hot hot sun beating down on us. There is a tiny shop in town were we grab snacks and regroup.


Out of Pakiri we have a steep climb up and over the hills of Omaha Forest. On the other side we are greeted with out first trail magic, a cooler filled with ice-cold sodas! Near the trailhead there is the King family who offer their property to hikers to spend a night for a small fee.

Trail magic
Clay and Morgan
Group photo
Soo, Me, Clay, Brandon, Morgan, Michael, Isabella, Rachel and unknown hiker(?)

Today we are treated to a decent amount of continuous track. Following forested ridge lines through the Dome Forest we undulate between shallow peaks. The sky is cloud covered and high winds rip through the trees. A bit of mud is found but the day speeds along as Brandon and I lead the pack.

We arrive at the home of some locals who provide accommodations we are quickly convinced to spend the night there. As we duck inside it starts to rain heavily further justifying our decision. We have a beautiful little home that's used as a bed and breakfast to ourselves. Our group eventually arrives later in the day and we are joined by a new hiker, Pascal from Switzerland. We spend an hour watching clips of the Tasmanian Devil and eating multiple loaves of bread and Vegemite given to us by the hosts. For the rest of the evening we cosied into our living quarters, we're fed fettucini alfredo and a massive potato casserole by our hosts, and finished the night by watching Firefly on the big screen.

We leave around 1030h as we don't have a large day planned. We see Draggin and his crew as well as Kingo and Grit. Everyone ends up at the same spot in the mid-afternoon, the Puhoi tea house. The tea house is a quaint spot that lets hikers camp for free and provides some meals for purchase.

We place orders with the tea house for tomorrows breakfast and head into the town to hang at the pub. I order a massive pizza and a serving of loaded fries to get my fill. I meet Chris from Britain, another hiker who started off with Isabella. She leads a group yoga session in the evening which is great fun. Before heading for bed Kingo, Grit, Morgan, Michael and I play some cards.

Start of coastal walk

Leaving Puhoi I decide not to take the kayak route to save some money and instead spend the morning walking along side a highway. The route then leads us onto unmarked coastal tracks from Waiwera to Orewa. The steep sandstone cliffs loom over head as the water laps at rocks just a few feet away from my feet. With good timing I get through the section three hours before hide tide. Because I was so early I had to jump into the water or scale some stone walls at points which added to the fun.

Coastal walk

After the rocky coastal path we walk the beach into the city of Orewa. Wide streets, tons of cars and the sounds of civilization overwhelm the senses. I put in headphones and push to get through as quickly as possible. I meet a South Korean pedestrian, Yun, on the side of a busy road and we chat a bit as he's surprised as to what I'm doing. Out of the busy city centre, I'm led onto side road with no shoulders and sporadic local traffic speeding along the pavements tight and winding corners.


I finally make it to Stillwater without getting run over and spend an hour at the local marina waiting for them to start serving food. After eating a burger I head over to the nearby campground where the rest of the crew manages to catchup to me.

Today time drags. We have the last major water crossing on the North Island ahead of us but the low tide is set for 1600h. We try killing time in the campground common room watching Jason Bourne and Fantastic Mr. Fox. I get restless and end up heading out at 1400h alone.

The tide is receding but there is shallow standing water all along the sand floor. I make it to the crossing and catch Dale, Josh and Iris just starting to go across. I manage to cross with the water nearly reaching crotch level. On the other side is a beautiful reunion with Laurel and Mikki! Max and a Canadian hiker, Annie, are also here.

Coastal walking
Philip and Josh

We have a short coastal walk into Torbay where we have contacted a trail angel to spend the night. There are six of us and we are all given blow-up air mattresses to sleep in the garage, cooked a nice dinner and then we head out later into town to down massive amounts of fish and chips. As we are out the angel's dog gets into Rachel's bag and eats a bunch of food but they go out and replace it all for her. Amazing people.

We are treated to an egg breakfast with the family and good chats. After a short prayer for our journey and hugs we finally head off into the heart of the concrete jungles of Auckland. The day begins with walking along residential beaches where tons of people are out enjoying the great weather. They stop to ask us why we are all equipped and walking around to great amusement when they realise where we've come from.

We follow the coast on the way to Devonport and I take a detour to attempt one last bit of coastal walking. I arrive at high tide and so have to get into the water to make progress. Nonetheless we all make it to Devonport and take the ferry over to Auckland proper. It's odd walking down the shopping arcades and everyone looking at us pass by. We head to our private lodgings we booked to settle in for the next three days.

The first thing we sort out is taking showers and getting laundry running. To our dismay the laundry machine is leaking water. Morgan tries to hand wash his clothes but accidentally opens a tap directly connected to a water main that is faulty. It stays open despite out best efforts for a minute or two gushing water all over the floor of the apartment. We call management and they don't seem concerned and meanwhile the boys rabidly mop up the pool of water by drenching and wringing out towels. After half an hour of manual labour the water is soaked up and we head out to do laundry at a laundromat.

Laundry cleanup
Morgan mopping up water

The evening is decidedly chiller as we order in tons of food, crack some beers, and pass the time with movies, music and anime.

Today is a zero day. We cook a massive group breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon and pan-fried potatoes. We head out to a gaming cafe to waste the day away. At lunch we connect with Rachel and head for a family hot-pot. In the evening we head back to the gaming cafe.

Today is a zero day. Rachel leaves to start a side trip through the Coromandel. The rest of us boys head to a nearby gaming cafe to crush some video games. We take a midday break to go back to the apartment and order in Indian food. The rest of the evening is spent at the gaming cafe.

I'm excited to get back to hiking today. I plan on continuing along the TA but the other boys will hitch ahead to skip what is considered a boring section coming up. Walking through Auckland via residential paths and trails is quite peaceful. At one point I climb the dormant volcano cone which over looks the downtown and then leave Auckland behind.

Auckland volcano

The day is bittersweet with short stints along the water and then suddenly finding myself beside some industrial sectors and even walking directly by the airport which I had originally flown into. I resupply in the plaza directly opposite of the international terminal. 40km(25mi) of walking leaves me behind a large warehouse district where I find some forested area to camp in for the night.

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