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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Days 85- 87 Pakiri to Orewa

Day 85 ~ Walked: 26 km, ~ Start: Pakiri ~ End: Dome Valley (km 502)

We set off early as had a big day ahead.

The day started with a long climb which was good to get done in the relative cool of early morning. It was still very hot sweaty work through the open fields of tall grass.

Kas and Alesha passed us fairly early on. Their speed on the hills and the fact they were slackpacking probably explains why we didn’t see them for the rest of the day.

We were then following ridge lines through the Omaha then subsequently Dome forests. The views along the coastline were impressive. I particularly enjoyed seeing Omaha. It really did look like a tropical island fringed with white sand. I can see why it’s a favourite of the rich and famous.

Most of the day the walking was enjoyable particularly along the lush cooling forest ridge lines (mainly flat!). There were abundant kauri, rimu, totara and nikau.

Unexpected weather station in middle of dense forest

When we stopped for lunch after 5 hours walking and saw we were still several km away even from the halfway mark I realised we were going to be in for a bigger day than I thought.

And the terrain didn’t ease up on us. Towards the end when we were really tired was when it got tough. Very steep clambering up rocks - what’s called scrambling apparently.

A bit of misty rain rolled in and then started getting heavier. I’d been losing interest in taking photos of the views by this point and that sealed it. I did get a quick snap at what I thought was our last high point on Dome summit. This is Gerard looking as pissed off as he ever gets.

We were looking forward to the final descent down even though it was quite technical and slow going. Then we were hit with more uphill - very disheartening.

We were relieved to see a sign about a km from the end warning that the track past that point (that we’d just come from) was for experienced trampers only. That meant an easy final km for us, on what they call a benched track, and up to half an hour quicker per km than a harder track.

We finally exited at the dome cafe in dome valley after 11 hours on the go. I think our longest day yet. The owners of the cafe who live just behind it are very friendly to TA walkers and allow camping there. We hadn’t prearranged this and they weren’t home, so we were trying to look at other options in Warkworth but transport was an issue and we couldn’t be bothered hitching. After messaging the cafe owners and no response we thought we’d do everything but set up the tent until we had approval from them. They had toilets, water, shelter, and chairs and tables - all the camping nice to haves. We ate and washed and finally as it was getting on to hikers midnight 8-30pm, started setting up our tent. Just then they turned up home. Luckily they were very welcoming, even offering us a shower inside their home. We slept very well even with the continuous rumbling of SH1 traffic right alongside and below us

Day 86 ~ Walked: 27 km, ~ Start: Dome Valley ~ End: Puhoi (km 529)

We woke up relatively refreshed with the sore feet and aches and pains of yesterdays long day all but gone. Just as well as we had another big day. It was 1km more than yesterday but ended up taking 8 hrs - three hours less. The difference was today was almost all road and farm walking or very easy tracks. Still a lot of climbing. The roads were all quiet country or forest roads so no need to be dodging cars thankfully.

We passed through little pockets of native bush and had nice outlooks over the rolling hills around Warkworth and Puhoi.

But what was really spurring us on was our destination of the Puhoi pub. Nothing beats a cold beer at the end of a hot days walk. We were also staying in one of their rooms for the night.

Puhoi valley

The last few km were hard (aren’t they always) as the track seemed to keep climbing up yet we could see the pub down below us, hear the live band and see everyone enjoying themselves out on the lawn.

Full pub at centre of image

It was like when you’re nearing the end of a half marathon event and you can hear the loud speakers and music but know you’ve still got 10-20 minutes to go.

We finally got there and joined Kas, Alesha and Alesha’s partner Mitch, and mum Sharon, for drinks and dinner. We’d been playing cat and mouse with Alesha Mitch and Kas all day - with us being the chasing one mostly.

Kas, us, Alesha, Mitch

We had a great room - all very modern in an old authentic pub with lots of memorabilia decorating the halls.

Day 87 ~ Walked: 10 km, ~ Start: Puhoi ~ End: Orewa (km 547)

The trail from Puhoi to Wenderholm regional park is on the water by kayak but unfortunately we couldn’t do it today due to the timings of the tides. We’ll be back to do it another time as it looks like fun. We got dropped at Wenderholme and enjoyed the short 10km walk through to Orewa.

First up was a climb - seems to be the thing these days.

Motivational steps helps the climbing

The track was lovely, taking us up into the treetops where we got close range to lots of tui and kereru. Also good vantage points out along the coast.

Puhoi river

Whangaparoa peninsula

We dropped down from the hill and into Waiwera where we had a quick chocolate milk and ice cream before taking on the coastal track.

The notes had said to start the coastal route half an hour before an outgoing low tide. We were two hours after on an incoming tide. It was the soonest we were able to get there and it looked ok so off we went.

The rock forms were fascinating and it didn’t really feel like rock hopping more like textured concrete walking.

Walking on the soft sand was harder.

But then there was less and less rock to walk on and with sheer cliffs we had to wade through some waist deep parts. Luckily the water was warm and clear enough to see the rocks below for footing.

Camera went away after this

Then with each corner we turned we were getting into deeper and deeper water literally. At one point I even did a little dog paddle swim to bridge a gap. The weight of the sodden pack when climbing out was quite noticeable. The adrenaline was certainly running but it didn’t feel unsafe as there was no strong current.

Wet to chest height

With relief we made it to the safety of Hadfields beach and continued over the hill to Orewa.


It was nice to have an easy half day and spend the afternoon relaxing, getting the washing done and drying what got wet from our pack swim. Everything that was supposed to stay dry did, so that was a big tick for our packing methods.

Olivia has now joined us in Orewa to walk a few days with us. We are starting off with a rest day tomorrow though which wasn’t the original plan but we’re hanging out for one after 15 days straight of walking.

Day 85 ~ Walked: 26 km, ~ Start: Pakiri ~ End: Dome Valley (km 502)

Day 86 ~ Walked: 27 km, ~ Start: Dome Valley ~ End: Puhoi (km 529)

Day 87 ~ Walked: 10 km, ~ Start: Puhoi ~ End: Orewa (km 547)

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Jan 13, 2022

Wow, day 85 loofed a real bitch - when they drop a rope down for you to help climb with it must be pretty steep ! Some great shots as usual, and the Puhoi Pub looked like just the ticket ! Welcome Liv Liv !!


Dale Connell
Dale Connell
Jan 10, 2022

Enjoyed reading this update. You’ve certainly done some long days and big kms! Enjoy the rest day with Olivia and planning out your ventures through Auckland!

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