Puhoi to Stillwater Holiday Park – 27km – (548km total)
Puhoi is a really cute little town. The general store opened at 7am, so we packed up and headed to the general store for coffee or in my case a chai latte and breakfast. A Raspberry and White Chocolate muffin for me.
We sat around on the picnic tables enjoying ourselves and it was well after 7.30am by the time we decided we should probably start hiking. The official trail out of Puhoi is a kayak if the tide is high. However, the tide was low and we couldn’t be bothered spending the money, so we decided to road walk into Orewa. Part of it was on highway 1, but it wasn’t too bad. There was plenty of shoulder to walk on, it is just not pleasant to walk to the sound of rushing traffic.
We were soon off the highway and at Waiwera. The track then follows the coast into Orewa. This part of the track was meant to only be done at low tide. It was 2-3 hours away from high tide and it looked fine so M and I set out. The others decided they didn’t want to chance it and roadwalked, which turned into a hitch into Orewa for them as they thought the road walk was too dangerous. The rock hopping, beach walk was fine for the majority of the track until the last 2km where again I got a little wet and slipped onto my butt again on a slippery rock (Butt fall number 9, I think 🤔. I am about to crack double digits for falls!). Despite, not being the best option with the tide coming in. It was the most enjoyable part of the day and way better than road walking. As we were walking into Orewa, a guy pulled over and offered us $5 because we were hiking the trail. We refused it, but it is cool to see locals supporting people and being generous to those who hike the trail.
We made it into Orewa, where we met up with the others and I enjoyed another chai latte. We sat around for ages enjoying ourselves, before we decided that we should probably do the last 10km into Stillwater.
This section was not fun and seemed to last forever. It was initially along Orewa river which was fine and then past a shopping centre. But then it was 7km along two roads with little shoulder to walk on. I usually have a pretty good sense of how far I have walked, but every time I checked the gps the holiday park was further away then I thought it should be. Finally we arrived at the holiday park where they let TA walkers stay for free in their hall.
Today I am thankful for New Zealanders who support TA hikers.