Parawai Hut to Waikanae Beach – 30km (1602km total)
Once you get to Parawai Hut you mentally think that you are out of the Tararua Ranges. However, there is still 14km of tramping track back up to over 800m to go before civilization again.
The morning was a short walk on the camping ground roads before entering back into the forest. This was a lovely track compared to what we had just been walking on. Smooth, with only the occasional rock and root, with a good gradient up…I should have know something was up when that was the case, but I was in a happy place listening to an audiobook while thinking how lovely the track was. By the time I pulled out my phone to check where I was, I was nearly a kilometer off the track. It turns out I had stayed on the loop walk which went back around the the camping ground instead of turning left. So I turned around and hiked back adding nearly an extra 2km to my day. 😠
Once I got back to the turn off, the track started ascending straight up with rocks, roots and mud…I should have known. The TA doesn’t go on easy track!
Bad weather had come in again, so it was a misty drizzly walk to the top and back down. The track then came out in pine forest that looked apocalyptic. A bizarre way to finish one of the most beautiful and epic sections of the trail so far. At the bottom I washed the mud off in the creek, so that I could enter back into civilization in some respectable manner.
7km from the end of the forest track was a cafe. The notes said that it was owned by an old lady, but she did scones and I had my stomach set on those scones. The road walk wasn’t too bad mostly because I distracted myself by calling my friend back home and before I knew it I was at the cafe. It was as crazy as people described. Old stuff every where, old people every where, but they did tea and scones and I was a happy hiker.
It was then another 5km into Waikanae to grabs a few things at the supermarket to get us into Wellington in a few days. All I cared about was new socks. What started as one small hole at the start of the Tararua Ranges had become multiple holes, due to being wet and soggy all day. I must have looked a hot mess as I sat down on the bench outside the supermarket, took my shoes and socks off, threw the old ones in the bin and put on fresh new white ones, which were not as white once they went back into my shoes.
It was good to arrive at the holiday park and have a hot shower, wash my hair and put my clothes in the washing machine. I hate to think what the water from that is like because my shorts were 50% material, 50% mud.
Today I am thankful for washing machines.