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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Days 88- 91 Orewa to Onehunga

Day 88 ~ Walked: 0 km, ~ Start: Orewa ~ End: Orewa (km 547)

After 15 days straight of walking including some particularly big days we thought a rest day was in order. It suited for it to be here and now, as tides were better on following day for the next section, Orewa was a nice spot and our motel was quite a nice one. It was just a shame for Olivia who’d joined us late the previous day all ready to get walking.

We had a great relaxing day enjoying Orewas restaurants, Olivia and I went to see House of Gucci, and I managed to fit in getting my covid booster shot.

Day 89 ~ Walked: 22 km, Uber 10km ~ Start: Orewa ~ End: Mairangi bay beach (km 579)

We started off with a 5 km leisurely walk into Silverdale along a shared cycle/walkway.

We’d been advised that the next stretch of road into Stillwater was quite dangerous for walking so we ubered that - advantage of being in Auckland city now.

Soon after Stillwater was the crossing of the Okura river and estuary.

We got to it 20 minutes before low tide as planned to give us the best chance of getting across safely. We used up most of those 20 minutes walking up and down trying to decided on the best crossing spot. The trail notes talked about a point at the 4th white pole up from river mouth. But there were numerous sets of poles and in varying shades it was hard to know exactly which was the 4th white one. We tried going in where we thought best (and thought the 4th pole was) but it was up to our necks and getting deeper.

Just before I packed phone away - deepest part where water is still

Gerard and I both had moments of having to swim where we could no longer touch the bottom but it didn’t feel safe with our packs super heavy and pulling us around. So we turned and backed out. We tried several spots but all were similar. Finally we got a good spot much closer to the river mouth where it was mostly knee deep and chest deep just very briefly. Olivia coped very well with her first little TA challenge. Just a shame her pristine white socks are no longer white or pristine.

As always a relief to get over safely. Although we were crossing exactly at low tide, it was a particularly high low tide at 0.9 which didn’t help. Alesha and Kas were on their way behind us so we waited for them to arrive to give them guidance over. Just as they were crossing and approaching the deep channel a dinghy came motoring along and offered them a ride over!! Where was that when we were up to our necks!!

From there it was a well frequented path through to Long bay where we stopped for lunch.

Long bay regional park

We bumped into Murray again here, having not seen him since Waipu Cove.

We then followed the coast down along Waiake beach,

Torbay, Browns bay,

and finally to Mairangi Bay.

Even with the chocolate milkshakes and ice creams along the way to revive us we were pretty shattered. Although a flat walk the heat and adrenaline of the river crossing made for a tiring day.

We caught up with Max and Maree for dinner at a very nice restaurant - feeling a bit more conscious than normal in our hut clothes/ active wear.

Day 90 ~ Walked: 20 km ~ Start: Mairangi bay beach ~ End: Newmarket (km 599)

Another hot day so nice to be following the coast again.

Leaving Mairangi bay as they’re setting up the water park

With the tide out we were able to take the beach option around the bays, rock hopping where necessary.

We came across a dad and two young daughters who informed us they were hunting for Kina and eating them alive.

The time has passed very quickly these couple of days having so much to look at. There are a lot of stunning and interesting properties along the coast to see. They mostly fall into the category of ‘international coastal styles’ from Cape Cod, Mediterranean, Palm Springs, to NZ modern. I’ve also been surprised how much building and renovation work has been going on, even on all the side streets, especially as not all trades would be back at work yet.

Our coastal route came to an abrupt halt just before Milford beach with a deep looking river. Again we walked up and down and tried wading across at a few points. We weren’t up for a third day in a row of sodden packs so backtracked to Castor bay and took the road option.

Milford beach

We’re pleased we did as we saw the river was in fact the channel for yachts exiting the Milford marina so would have been quite deep.

We lunched at Takapuna with Olivia having a refreshing swim. I’d cooled down enough in the shade and breeze and couldn’t be bothered with having wet clothes.

Soon we rounded the point to Devonport and saw Auckland city.

The ferry ride was a nice little break for our feet, as was the ice cream break on the other side.

We’d decided to stay at Newmarket as it was ‘only’ 3km out of the city. This thought put things in perspective. Whenever we’ve stayed in Auckland previously I would always have got transport between the city and Newmarket, but here we are having just walked 17km in searing heat, and considering the extra 3km nothing.

Queen st

Olivia’s uni building

The domain

It’s been interesting to note the differences in Aucklanders vs residents of smaller towns who have struck up conversations with us. Mostly they’ve assumed we’re training for something as they’ve not heard of the TA. Then they’re astounded at how far we’re walking that day. A few Aucklanders have been familiar with it though. They’re always the most enthusiastic to talk to us and one family even invited us in for a cold drink or shower. In smaller towns we pass through everyone is generally familiar with the trail and it’s walkers.

Day 91 ~ Walked: 11 km ~ Start: Newmarket ~ End: Onehunga (km 610)

We’d planned to get away early to beat the heat, but plans are continuously revised on the TA. Olivia had had a bad night with a fever and headaches. Seemed to be a delayed reaction to heatstroke and/or dehydration. We let her sleep in for an extra hour or two. She then assured us she was better and could keep walking - what a trooper.

We were now following the coast to coast walkway from east coast beaches and the Waitemata harbour to the Manakau harbour. I’m sad to think we’ll now longer see any beaches till the last week of our journey when we reach the bottom of the South Island. Although it seems our timing is good for getting off the beaches with the approaching cyclone.

Mt Eden was our first climb of the day but was a nice gradual gradient so we didn’t get to hot. Awesome views in every direction.

Looking to one tree hill

We then crossed various fields, parks and schools along with a few streets arriving at Cornwall park in time for a late morning tea.

Olivia was desperate to sit down then a few minutes later rushed outside to lie down. She felt very faint and thought she might throw up. She clearly hadn’t recovered from the heat effects of the previous day.

We decided there was no point in walking any further. We were in a great spot - food, drinks, toilets all nearby and lots of shady trees to sit under. We were all happy hanging out there until Olivia’s scheduled time to leave for the airport. There was lots of great people watching.

Once Olivia left by Uber we continued on our way. We didn’t quite get to the airport as planned but found a satisfactory motel at Onehunga with a pub next door that suited us for the night.

It’s been great having Olivia with us and she coped very well with the distances and challenges we had. A shame the heat got her in the end. I think I’ve become acclimatised to the heat. I’ve always struggled and got easily dehydrated, but now my head no longer feels like it’s going to explode when I overheat and I can better judge my water needs.

Day 89 ~ Walked: 22 km, Uber 10km ~ Start: Orewa ~ End: Mairangi bay beach (km 579)

Day 90 ~ Walked: 20 km ~ Start: Mairangi bay beach ~ End: Newmarket (km 599)

Day 91 ~ Walked: 11 km ~ Start: Newmarket ~ End: Onehunga (km 610)

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Jan 17, 2022

Great to get that view of the city, both the maps and the re-live view - very interesting. Lovely beaches & great sunset pics. A bit nervous when you're chest deep with a pack on, good that you backed out, a bummer you missed the dingy ride ! Poor Liv Liv, but she's tough and bounced back. Seem to be a lot of icecreams eaten.... The heat seems brutal, but you're obviously trail-fit and hardy. Press on !

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