From Pukerua Bay (thanks Rachel!) the day was filled with big hills (Colonial Knob and Mount Kaukau), gales, bits of rain and a young couple late-returning from an orienteering event in the forest.
The views were stunning, the strong winds bracing and the welcome I received from Andrew Simm was glowing. He is one of the local trustees of Te Araroa and has done much of the route-work, signage and notes for the trail through Wellington. He met me on Old Coach Road and walked with me up Mount Kaukau, pointing out all the local bits of interest.
We were collected at the bottom of the hill by his wife Prue, whose delicious lasagne dinner I tried not to wolf down too quickly 🙂 It was a great evening, with four other Te Araroa trustees joining us, all keen to learn how I was finding the trek – they’re stoked that people are using the trail and making the most of all their efforts in putting the details together.
Given Andrew has also done long trails overseas – including over two months on the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Canada to Mexico along the American west – I’m keen to chat with him further after my adventure about his adventures.
Yesterday (walking day #58) was a shorter day kilometre-wise, but being Wellington it was still full of hills. I actually found it quite tiring… I’m physically and mentally ready for a break. Instead of ending at the top of the cable-car (which the trail originally did, so you could easily get to the ferries) it continues along the City to Sea pathway to Island Bay: from there if you continue south you get wet feet!
When I eventually arrived at the beach at Island Bay, it was a strange feeling. No fanfare. No fireworks. No parade or papparazzi. In fact, the evening before with Andrew and Prue felt more like a ‘completion’. But before long Iain and Carl arrived to drag me kicking and screaming to all-you-can-eat pizza at Hell with the Victoria Rover Crew. Let’s just say I ate my money’s worth of pizza 😉
A short visit to Kelburn 1st 1909 Scout Troop to field another round of brilliant questions closed off the day. It was great to finally arrive at Lorna and Kylie’s place, knowing a sleep-in was not only desired, but expected.
Te Araroa: North Island? Done 🙂