posted on 2019-12-03 14:43:04 in New Zealand
Day 3 Bark Bay – Awaroa
After yesterday’s “easy” walk today was a little more challenging completing about 15km. Again we needed an early start to cross the river estuary, unfortunately when we arrived at the river the water was still knee deep so we decided to back track and follow the slightly longer high water track. This was only an extra 700m and quite scenic crossing two bridges and walking through fern tree bush. With a small climb to negotiate it warmed our calf muscles ready for the big climb out of the bay.
On the hill out of the bay our bird life encounters continued with some Fantails busy chasing the bugs we were disturbing while walking. A small white moth sought refuge close to Thomas’s shirt, unfortunately for the moth 150mm was not close enough when one of the birds swooped in and grabbed the moth right in front of Thomas. It was so close Thomas felt the rush of wind from the wings as it dived in.
Today the track had more hills to climb and was more bush than coastal. The trek finished at Awaroa by the side of a huge inlet. The tide was in when we arrived and it looked a long way across the water to the orange track marker. Lots of water but quite shallow, Thomas waded out several hundred metres and it still didn’t reach his waist.
We arrived early afternoon before most people so managed to get a good pitch for the tents, sheltered from prevailing breeze and sun and not on walkway to toilets and bush kitchen, nothing worse than stream of campers walking past the tent. Instead we had to contend with the annoying little sand flies constantly landing on us a taking chunks from our legs despite covering ourselves with repellent. It wasn’t long before my long socks and long sleeve shirt came out of pack to cover the body. At this site the Weka were also a pest constantly pecking at our fly sheets trying to get into the tents for our food. I was worried they might poke beak right through the fly sheet.
Later on in the early evening when the tide had receded I checked out the river crossing for tomorrow. There was no alternative route on this part of the hike so I wanted to make sure I was fully prepaired for the crossing.
Day 4 Awaroa – Whariwharangi
Low tide for crossing the estuary was 6:25, we started the 1km crossing at exactly 6:24 knowing the water would be at its lowest we decided to wear our jandels to make it easier on the feet rather than treading on the upturned cockle shells and being easy to slip off and on at each crossing. The deepest point only reached my knees which was great meaning my shorts and more importantly my pack, stayed clear of the water. We ended up having to cross 3 channels across the inlet.
After putting on our boots we then walked about 90 mins to Waiharakeke Bay for “breakfast on the road”.
Today was a long hike, so drawing on Patagonia experience we broke the walk into sections with a second rest and snack at Totranui. Here we saw our first Kereru, NZ’s native pigeon. A colourful large bird much bigger than the grey pigeons you see in the cities.
The hike had many ups and downs to cross between each of the many bays. At apex of most climbs a bench and lookout point was often found, perfect places to rest and take in the views and water. At one such lookout Thomas asked if the hills on distant horizon was the North Island. I squinted my eyes and then had a double take being quite surprised with what I could see. I said in a joking voice (but being serious at same time) “Yes look there is Mt Ruaprhu, Ngaurahoe Tongariro and over there Mt Taranaki” of course he didn’t believe me then he too took a second look before telling me it really was them. When you consider the volcanic plateau is in the Central North Island that is a long way away from where we were. It actually sums up how lucky we have been with the weather throughout our trip.
After the several mini breaks along the way we held out for lunch at the campsite. This however, nearly proved to be a disaster, I left Thomas to make up our cheese and salami sandwiches while I made up the raro orange drink. As I left for the water Thomas went to retrieve his fly sheet, in the meantime a Weka had climbed onto the table and jumped off with the whole packet of cheese, all 250g and 12 slices! As soon as we realised we were in hot pursuit searching out the villain. I eventually found him deep in the bush busy prodding his beak into the wrapping. By the time I got to him and shooed him away his beak had pierced 4 of the slices rendering them no longer fit for consumption. Lucky it was our last full day of trekking and not the first, and we still had plentiful food left between us.
As we progress along the track the number of people hiking in both directions had got less and less. In the campsite at Whariwharangi we were the only ones camping and only a couple of bunks were taken in the hut. We had a very quiet and peaceful evening.
Day 5 Whariwharangi – Wainui
In the morning however, quite a different story. We had an amazing wake up call for first day of summer, rain drops on the tent and the most intense dawn chorus yet. Bellbirds, Tuis singing the melody with a large variety of smaller birds adding their voices to the choir, the sound of nature at its best.
The final hike to Wainui was straight forward, 50min climb to 200m then 50min decent back to sea level. With the low cloud base when we reached the lookout the view was bleak, although a little break in the clouds did add some sparkle for about 30seconds!
We managed to get all the way down to the track finish and eat an early lunch before the rain returned. At least we had some shelter under the welcome gate while waiting for the bus to Takaka. After such a good week of walking it was a little rather disappointing end to the trek.