Heading north


So we sat on our backsides and ate fish and chips and drank beer for the past 4 days, rethought this whole idea of trekking and looked into car hire or flights to a warmer climate … No, no, no we didn’t, shame on you for believing that even for a second! Since we arrived in Auckland we have been touring the outdoor gear shops to get the last few bits of gear, and the supermarket to stock up on our first week’s worth of tramping food, the conservation office to get maps and we even paid a visit to an embroidery shop for Daniel to buy that oh-so-very-special needle and thread in case we have a backpack emergency. Now, finally, we are ready to hit the open road and are booked on a 7.30 bus tomorrow morning.

Before talking about tomorrow’s plans, a final comment on shopping: I have lost count of the number of times Daniel has held up a pair of pants and asked me whether i think these are the “ONE”. So far he has bought a lightweight grey trekking pants with zip off shorts, a heavier weight grey pants without zip off shorts, a pair of green cargo pants with a strong comfort factor, and black lightweight trekking pants with zip-off shorts (in fact, identical in every respect except colour to the first pair he bought). Each one was bought with the conviction that he NOW had the pants he would happily wear day-in day-out in NZ. He ended up bringing the cargos, and guess what? Today he decided that he wants a different pair …. So we are heading off to the shops (AGAIN) and let’s see what variation on the theme he ends up with this time …

Tomorrow we will be heading North, which is in-line with our original plan to hike from the Northern tip of the North island to the Southern tip of the South island (the Te Araroa trail). However, we are not sure how ‘ready’ we are to start a major hike yet, so have decided to ease ourselves into it with some day hikes. Or destination tomorrow is Paihia, about 100 miles short of the Northern tip, and about a 3 hour bus ride from Auckland. The choice of destination was made easier by a free tour to Paihia that landed in our lap, courtesy of Ann’s brother Padraig (thank you Padraig!). It means we can travel there for half nothing, and an ocean cruise to see whales and dolphins is included. Bonus! As a cruise is definitely not something our normal budget stretches to, we decided to go for it and live like monied tourists for the day! In fact, budget is a big factor at the moment, and we need to start camping asap as staying in the Auckland backpackers has blown a huge hole wide open in our budget!!

From Paihia, we can decide to head North to the start of the official Te Araroa trail, or do a few day hikes in the Paihia area to test our fitness, Daniel’s injured foot and fine tune our gear. In keeping with our general approach these days, we’ll decide when we get there!

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