Day 31; Zero Day @ Ngunguru

We spent today finishing off the planning that we started yesterday and making a few bookings for the stretch ahead before packing our gear for the next day.

We wandered down to the store later in the afternoon to get a few supplies for the journey ahead and just generally relaxed for the rest of the evening ready for the big kayak tomorrow.

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Day 30; Zero Day @ Ngunguru

Today we spent most of the day planning the next couple of legs through to Auckland. They consist of a total of 12 walking days and a few bits in need of organising.

The section from here to Pataua South is a sea kayak section to skip a few estuaries so we organise the trip with Mark at Pacific Coast Kayaks who will take us across. Also, we need to get across the Whangarei Harbour after that so we have to look into options for getting across by boat. We found some accommodation there which we will use as a base that is owned by a gentleman who owns a boat and is happy to take us across for a small donation.

Later in this stretch we hit Waitangi Weekend too which is stretching accomodation options meaning we will have to book ahead. Also, there is another kayak just prior to Waiwera which we will need to sort out as we get closer.

Anyway we manage today to draft a little plan for the next stretch and sort some options to look at. We then spent the afternoon doing some blogging and resting before making some homemade burgers for dinner 🙂

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Looking inland up the Ngunguru Estuary.

Day 29; Whananaki – Ngunguru

8 hours.

We woke up this morning reasonably early for a big day ahead. We had a delicious breakfast muffin and coffee at the store cafe then packed up our things and were on our way.

As we left the campsite the trail starts with crossing the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere at 395m long. Very cool. After crossing the bridge we had already knocked off half a km 🙂

At the other side is the beginning of the Whananaki Coastal Track and we continued along the estuary and along a gravel road to where a lovely road sized grass track began at the end of the bay. The track meandered up and down along the coast with stunner views all the way through to where it emerged just prior to Wooleys Bay. We found this cool little Cuban cafe here where we bought a coke and continued through along the roadside by the bays to Matapouri.

At Matapouri we stopped for lunch (fish n chips & a beer), and had a wee break for an hour.

After lunch we headed up Clements Road to the Matapouri Bush Track which would take us through to Ngunguru. The track was an easy gradient through bush, pastures, and pine before a tough wee up and down in the middle after which it opened up to a forestry road track. Along the track was a giant kauri ‘Tane Moana’ which we stopped to look at. The large kauris have been amazing. We have seen a lot in Northland and they have an amazing presence.

We soon emerged (after passing a flying pig a few metres ahead of us with a death wish who sprang out of the bush on one side, across the road to the bush on the other side which appeared to drop off like a bank at lightening bolt speed – I think if we blinked we may have missed him) past a house and down onto the road into Ngunguru.

It was a 40 minute wander from here to our accomodation at the motor lodge where we checked in a little weary before racing for a fish burger before the takeaway closed. Mission accomplished – fish burger acquired!

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Sign for the footbridge.
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Whananaki footbridge.
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Road up along the bay on the Whananaki Coastal Track.
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Trees along the bay side.
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One of the little bays along the Whananaki Coastal Track.
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Whananaki Coastal Track.
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Little Cuban cafe just after the Whananaki Coastal Track.
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Entering the Matapouri Bush Track through to Ngunguru.
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Through the Matapouri Bush Track.
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First views out towards Ngunguru.

Day 28; Cnr Webb & Kaiikanui Rd – Whananaki

4.5 hours.

We got up this morning at the crack of dawn for a 7:30am breakfast and an early departure. The breakfast was delicious, bacon, eggs, toast, homemade spreads with juice and coffee.

We then got dropped off back at the top of the hill where we left off yesterday. It was a short walk along the road to the entry of the Morepork Track which took us through the Kaiikanui Forest. The tracks through here were nice and easy going. We passed a young man in here on the steeper side training for the coast to coast. We had a little chat then continued on.

We decided to take the DOC detour out before hitting the Onekainga side of the area to shorten the trip a little and have an early arrival for Whananaki to get stuff done (laundry and a bit of a blog catch up), and enjoy Whananaki.

It was a bit of a route finding exercise but we did just fine finding the way out down to the road. Had to do a little detour around a huffy puffy disgruntled bull but that went ok thank goodness lol. Had a bit of pigs on the loose coming down the road too. Surprised these people have any animals left with all there gates wide open.

After the animal run we reached the main road and had a 40 minute walk in to the Whananaki Holiday Park where we were booked in for the Naki’d Inn 🙂

I’ve been looking forward to staying here. The owners are great trail enthusiasts and they love the hikers. They are very involved and have this awesome little hut set aside for Te Araroa hikers. They had just featured in a full page article in the local paper about the trail and their enthusiastic input which we read on their wall.

Anyway they were amazing and made us feel right at home. There was even a bowl of fresh fruit in the little hut with some wee flowers and they gave us some laundry powder for our washing.

The Whananaki Beach Store is right at the front of the campsite and has everything you need along with a little takeaway / cafe. You could get anything you need here pretty easily, good food, great coffee. We grabbed some cold beers and headed back to camp for a relaxing arvo.

We had burgers from the wee takeaway for dinner that were amazing and later in the evening we took a little walk along the estuary. It was a wonderful night. We saw some people in the estuary fishing for flounder or flatfish or something at the edge of the water.

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View from the balcony at Hopewell B&B early in the morning.
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Turn off from the road onto the Morepork Track.
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The Morepork Track.
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Morepork Track opening up.
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Morepork Track.
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Cow statue in Whananaki – thought of my good friend Alisa who loves cows 🙂
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Whangarei Leader article about the Te Araroa and the owners of Whananaki Holiday Park.
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The Naki’d Inn 🙂
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Inside the Naki’d Inn.
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Our trusty survival bag ice bucket 🙂

Day 27; Oakura Bay – Cnr Webb & Kaiikanui Rds

3.5 hours.

We set off at a leisurely pace this morning with a short day ahead of us. We stopped on the way out of Oakura Bay at the general store for a cold beverage and then headed off.

It was a complete road walk today but was a pleasant walk. After a couple of hours we got to Helena Bay by the turn-off to our accommodation and took the little road a few hundred metres to the beach for lunch.

The wee bay was a lovely spot with a couple of picnic tables about and we enjoyed our tortilla sandwiches we made for our lunch. Yum. Sandwiches for lunch are always great, in the longer stretches and away from townships it’s usually a dehydrated food lunch.

We rang the owners at the Hopewell B&B where we were staying to arrange our pick up from an hour up the road at the top of the hill where they would drop us off tomorrow. We did this to break up what would have been a long stretch through to Whananaki.

With the pick up arranged we set off for the last wee stretch of the day, up the hill to above the Mimiwhangata Coastal Reserve. We would have liked to have popped down but thought it was a bit far off track for this time and would defeat the purpose of us breaking up the long stretch.

The owner arrived to pick us up and whisked us away back to the B&B at Helena Bay. It was a stunner spot and they were lovely people. We spent a bit of time talking to the gentleman who had been working on a caravan he’d got from trade me for $1! He was busy painting it and stuff and the plan was to have it as an extra accommodation option on the property.

We’d arrived early so we popped down the road to check out the art gallery / cafe nearby which was very cool. We had a couple of wines and I bought some chocolate coffee beans – yummo!!! I LOVE chocolate coffee beans 🙂 I was very happy.

We set off back to the B&B where they cooked us dinner. It was delicious and we ate every last bite lol. It was a zucchini meatloaf dish and was sooo nice. Also, they had made desert – rhubarb crumble with German custard (the owners were German) – this was also delicious. We had a beer and wine with dinner too which was lovely.

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Road walk between Oakura Bay and Helena Bay.
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Our lunch spot at Helena Bay.
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The super tree at Helena Bay.
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Teal Bay just after Helena Bay.
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Ducklings on the river.
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Top of the hill above Mimiwhangata Coastal Reserve.
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View from the gallery cafe.
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Morepork sculpture.
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Gallery gardens.
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Huge dogs at the gallery.
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Egg nest sculpture.
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Our bedroom at Hopewell B&B.
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Hopewell B&B.

Day 26; Zero Day @ Oakura Bay

Today we got up and had breakkie, did the laundry and stuff, then had quite a chilled out day.

Neil had a bit of a kayak in the bay in the morning and we went for a wander later in the evening to get a fish burger for dinner.

Oakura Bay Campsite is really nice. It has a little store with a few basic supplies, plenty of ice cream and beverages.

We have quite enjoyed our horse float accomodation here it’s very unique and very cool 🙂

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View from the horse float.
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Looking into the campsite’s bay.
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Oakura Bay looking south.
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Sign for Whangaruru Harbour of which Oakura Bay lies at the southern entrance.

Day 25; Russell Forest Shelter – Oakura Bay Campsite

3.5 hours.

We had a nice sleep in this morning and had a leisurely day ahead of us through to Oakura Bay so we took our time packing up camp and eating breakfast.

As we were finishing our packing up another Te Araroa hiker turned up. He was German and had hiked in from Waikare area that morning. He had left the top 12 days ago – no zero days. We have taken twice that long lol (mainly due to zero days).

We had a bit of a yarn and found out he has hiked the Appalachian Trail in America – it’s sort of on my list but I’m a bit worried about bears (he had a close bear moment himself). He had a snack and we set off about the same time he set off again. He was soon well ahead though and that’s the last we saw of him.

The track was a nice bush track, quad bike sized, heading out of the Russell Forest over a saddle. We came out to the road and it was a couple of hours of road walking from there to Oakura Bay.

Arriving at Oakura Bay we stopped for refreshments at the store on the way in. The store here is re-supply worthy and sells beer. There is also a fish and chip shop here just down the road.

The campsite was a further 2km from the store and after heading over a hill (the law of Te Araroa physics dictates the day will always end in a hill I am sure) we dropped into the campsites bay.

Stunner spot here, we checked in. Our accommodation for the next 2nights here is in a converted horse float – haha way cool!! Good price too. We settled in and later walked down for scrumptious fish n chips for dinner and to collect some beers 🙂

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The bush track out of the Russell Forest.
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Emerging from the bush track towards the main road.
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This is the 4th similar sign I’ve seen. I don’t think they like dogs around here.
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Dropping into the campsite’s bay.
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Our campsite for the next 2days
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Our funky converted horse float 🙂