As we started to hike the Te Araroa we were all pretty nervous. It was really foggy when we left the lighthouse at Cape Reinga and there wasn’t much in the way of views.
Once we’d descended a little we came out of the fog and the views were amazing!
Soon we came down onto the beach.
After the first little bit of beach we climbed a huge mountain of sand dunes.
Our thighs were screaming by the time we got down to the beach again but the view made the climb worth it.
The first beach we got to walk along.
Our first views of Ninety Mile Beach. It looks so beautiful but it also seems to go for an awfully long way. You mean we have to walk all of that?
When we were still a few kilometers out from the camp for the second night a storm hit. There was lots of rain, gale-force winds and some hail. There was really loud thunder and I got pretty worried that we were going to get struck by lightning.
Rex was tired so I carried his pack on my front for the last few kilometers to Maunganui Bluff camping area. It wasn’t very heavy as mum and dad had already taken most of the weight out, but it was still awkward.
When me and my sisters finally made it to the campground ahead of the others we stumbled into the small shelter there. The four French people who we’d been see-sawing with were already there. They cheered us really loudly. The lady who spoke English told us we were the “champions of ze day!” I certainly didn’t feel like a champion. I was tired, cold and bedraggled but happy for the day’s walking to be over.
Our camp for the night. Thankfully the sun came out not long after we arrived. All of the clothes we’d been wearing were soaked. We did our best to dry them but they were still wet the next morning.
There were thousands of these huge, pink jellyfish washed up all along the beach.
Tania from Utea Park Campground drove past us on her way to town and stopped to talk to us and offer us water. A little while later she drove back past us on her way home. This time she stopped and gave us each a banana! I don’t normally eat bananas but that was the best banana I have ever tasted. Apparently, we’re already famous on the trail! She asked why we hadn’t stayed at her place on the way down (we hadn’t been able to make it that far, that day). She wished us luck and continued on her way.
The kind words and bananas raised our spirits a lot and we soon came to the boat ramp at Waipapakauri. Unfortunately, the holiday park was shut. We asked a man if we could just camp on the grass beside the picnic table and he said that was fine.
That evening a man came and put witches hats beside our tents so that no one would accidentally run us over. It wasn’t a particularly dangerous spot but it was still good of him. The people here are so nice!
The last day on the beach was bright and sunny. It was way better than rain and wind! Now we have to be VERY careful of the sun. The sun here burns you really quickly so we wore our buffs up over our faces and our gaiters covering our ankles. We stopped every few hours to put more sunscreen on our hands.
Collapsing for a break in some of the sparse shade and eating peanut butter. We eat a lot of peanut butter. I have a high peanut butter tolerance but I have a feeling that I’ll be sick of it in a few months.
Endless beautiful beach. You do get sick of it after a while.
100 km! I was far too exhausted to do the celebratory, happy kind of photo I’d planned so decided I might as well be honest about how I felt!
I currently hold the record of biggest blister!
Just past the hundred-kilometre mark is the tiny town of Ahipara. We stayed a night at the caravan park there. I had a lovely hot shower and an even better cuppa. I even managed to dry my socks. It was so nice.
Next step, the forests! I’ve heard that they’re pretty bad but bring it on!