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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Days 4-5 Ninety mile beach, part two - Yes it’s a very long beach

An easy 17km on day four to give our bodies a chance to catch up with what’s going on. Leaving the camp we took the direct route over the sands dunes.

This used to be where the track was until the sand dunes reclaimed it. It probably explains why the sign we saw from the beach the day before said camp was 200 metres but in reality was at least 800m up a track from the beach. And when you’ve just done a huge 30km that last unplanned for 800m is torture.

A lot more activity on the beach today as we near civilisation and probably as it’s Sunday. A lot of fishing, hooning up and down the beach and quad bikes in the dunes.

This guy was so happy with his trevelly. He’d been fishing all week and this was his first catch.

Of note on the beach were hundreds of dead, drowning, and sand logged bees. I suspect today’s gusty winds have blown them from the forests into the water and/or wet sand. I rescued a few by flipping them over so their wings could dry but Gerard said we’d be all day if I saved them all. There was also another seal, a lot of shellfish with attendant gulls and a shotgun cartridge 🤷‍♀️

The wind and cloud cover were great for keeping the temp and sun exposure down. And the wind gusts were giving us a good boost from behind. Not so good on our lunch break though with sand blowing into our food.

We’ve taken a step up with our camp tonight. Not only do we have a shower but it is in our room! Along with a toilet. I’m really hoping I need to go during the night tonight to benefit from it!! And another step up - we’re doing laundry. We really are coming back into civilisation. In keeping with our retiree status we even had our dinner in the camp lounge and watched The Chase.

Look away now if you don’t want to see feet. But they’re still holding strong. A little swollen but no pains or sore blisters. I think all the New Plymouth coastal walkway walking we did during lockdown has helped. Also the wool has been good. I have managed to turn it into felt though. How it started vs how it’s going - same volume.

Day 5 was forecast to be heavy rain all morning but there was no sign of it and it turned into a nice still day. The beach was peaceful and quiet right up until our approach into Ahipara.

I’m actually sad to be leaving the beach. It’s familiar and consistent. Each day we have experienced different weather -all of it good, and seen different things. I love the energy of the waves and the sea smells. There is very little coastline on the TA as it cuts down the centre of both islands. Most of my life I’ve seen the sea every day so I’m really going to miss it. But it is time for some new scenery and experiences.

Today’s beach observations:

And near Ahipara (you can see it in the background) some young locals put a display on for us and left these donuts.

Also just before leaving the beach we came to our first significant milestone-100km woohoo. We created a little memorial out of shells for the occasion. It’s on a bank at the edge of the beach where hopefully it can stay a few days and the following TA travellers will see it.

This is the first day we haven’t followed on in Andrews footsteps. We were always encouraged by seeing them in the sand ahead of us and even used them to aid in the most efficient exits of the beach to the campsite. He skipped our last nights camp and had a third big day in a row pushing through to Ahipara yesterday. We are still benefiting from his lead though as he’s shared his research of upcoming stops with us. It is very much appreciated.

I have had contact from Markus who started the day after us and doing the same so will arrive in Ahipara tonight. Really looking forward to meeting another TAer.

The camp here is very idyllic with an established lush tropical setting. We’ve gone for a little cabin again in line with our plan to treat ourselves when we can.

And the camp has a little shop so we’ve made our first on trail treat food purchase. We were hoping to get a fish and chip dinner but that shop is closed Mondays. Lucky I’ve got ample food supplies.

And to teach me for being smug about lack of blisters after day 4, a random one has popped up today. It’s not causing any bother though.

Day 4 ~ Walked 17km ~ Start: Hukatere 90 mile beach ~ End: Waipapakauri 90 mile beach (km 87)

Day 5 ~ Walked 14km ~ Start: Waipapakauri 90 mile beach ~ End: Ahipara (km 101)

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