Auckland Airport to Ramarama – 45km (649 km total)
Did I hike 45km? No and Yes! Confused? Well I only walked 40km however, I made it 45km on the Te Araroa. How is this possible you might ask? It is possible by taking a few short cuts. Because I was still in Auckland, I put where I needed to go into google maps and it gave me the most direct route to walk, unlike the Te Araroa which takes you on some longer detours to get to the same place and I’m ok with that. I didn’t need to add another 5km to an already long day.
The day started out going past the airport and industrial areas, before heading into suburbia. The trail goes through Auckland Botanical Gardens, which I detoured through, not to take a shorter path, but to go through the rose garden and cafe.
The last few days I have been carrying very little food with me, as I was continually passing shops, but as I headed out of Auckland, I stopped at the last major supermarket in Papakura to stock up for a few days until I reach Hamilton. Consequently, my bag is not heavy!
The walk out of Auckland, turned onto back roads with road works, as I was negotiating one of these a car pull over and asked where I was heading. The Ramarama Holiday park was my destination for the day. The guy said he has TA hikers stay with him and his family and I was welcome to stay. He gave me the address and drove off. The address was on the trail, unlike the holiday park, so I was sold.
Brent and Suzanne and their 3 kids, were the loveliest family and the highlight of my day. I got to stay in their spare room, have a shower, and enjoy their company over dinner and cups of tea. It was a very lovely night.
Today I am thankful for the hospitality of Brent and Suzanne and the kindness Kiwis show to hikers.