Te Araroa, Day 17
Thursday 25th October
Morepork Track Lookout > Sandy Bay, KM 312.2 > 328.5
Distance Walked Today: 16.3km
We talked in depth last night about the takeaway/general store at the next town, Whananaki, and day dreamed of a quick 7.7km walk into town, followed by a nero (near zero) day of hanging out at the takeaway and enjoying food, followed by a rest day the following day. We even googled the takeaway and found a photo of the menu and started placing orders in our minds the night before.
Today actually played out very differently.
The day began with a steep descent, a few river crossings, then a steep climb. We were then into farmer’s paddocks. Not far along and we met up with Pim, Bruno and Eric, who we would walk with for the rest of the day.
At the bottom of the farmer’s paddock was a brief road walk and then a detour along a Estuary Track where I managed to once again drench a foot in stinky mud, and then finally we were in town at the takeaway!
Now, maybe it’s a seasonal thing, but the takeaway was nothing like google had led us to believe. Although the menu was a whole page full of promises of burgers and wraps, the sour faced lady at the counter informed us that only about half a dozen deep fried items were available. We went with the wedges (and Erin had some very salty fish). Although we had spent the night dreaming of a rest day at this place, the disappointing menu and the unpleasant attitude of the lady behind the counter meant the decision to walk on from here was easy. There was free camping just 12km on, and it was just after mid day so we had plenty of time. We set off, beginning with the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere.
Pim seemed the fastest, and walked on ahead of everyone, whilst I was the slowest, so Erin walked in the middle, keeping pace with Bruno and Eric. This track went up and over farm properties and was very well maintained.
Two or three hours later we were in Sandy Bay. Erin went for a swim, and we all sat around playing cards after dinner. We even had some trail angels - retirees in a camper van - offer to refill our water and charge our devices. What a fantastic day!