Awoke early and then pretended I was asleep for a while longer. Shortly after 7.30 I was finished breakfast and packed ready to move. The only problem with camping at the bottom of a hill is that you need to walk up it in the morning. Still it was a short jaunt across Te Aria Point and on the other side there were a group of surfers already in the water and doing some impressive looking stuff.
Again the beach proved difficult to walk on with little firm sand and it was generally inconsistent underfoot. After about 1 hour I was at a point where a river came down over the beach. Careful consideration brought me to the conclusion that if I got my timing right then I could keep my shoes on and dry. I guess I may have been right but my timing sucked and my shoes got wet through with salt water. Should have taken them off it seems.
I turned off the beach about 1km before the Pakiri River and made my way along Rahuikiri Road thinking I would find a bridge. I found a café at Pakiri Beach Horse Riding and so I had a cooked breakfast for lunch. If the bridge on my map is still there then I didn?t find it so ended up backtracking to the beach and wading across the river there. At it?s deepest it was about mid-thigh.
The road to Pakiri was hard and dusty and it was about 1.00pm by the time that I arrived there to find the start of the track over Tamahunga. The track sign was in fact about 1 metre beyond a much larger sign that said ?Private land? and ?Entry Prohibited?. After pausing for a photo I started up the hill. Boy was the first part steep. The day was so hot that I could also feel the heat being reflected back up off the ground. After the first 150m of climbing I stopped under a tree for a rest ? I had scarcely been moving for 30 minutes. I ventured out for another photo looking back up the coast I had come down over the last two days.
From here the hill climbed in a more tramper friendly fashion, soon I was at the end of Rodney Road which had more signage as it is another entry point for the track. The sign here was looking a bit shot up.
The track meandered along a grassy ridge often on a 4WD track, the last few hundred metres is very steep and descends alongside a fence with three strands of barbed wire. I wouldn?t like to slip beside a fence like that.
The final climb to the summit of Tamahunga is through native bush, the track is narrow but well defined and it is very pleasant walking. The last few minutes of the track climbed very steeply through large rocks. I was puffing pretty hard coming up the last section and on one particularly large step up I exhaled so hard that I lost my barley sugar while it was still only half sucked.
Soon after passing the trig I turned off the marked track as I wanted to head for Matakana Valley Road. I followed an old track to a weather station on the next peak. From there I followed the power cable down, in hindsight I would have been better off on the more westerly ridge that heads straight towards Govan Wilson Road. Once I had run out of power cable to follow I could not find an easy exit to the road s there was a lot of gorse and/or bush.
It was a lovely day however and I was on a dusty ridgeline that was headed northerly so I just wandered along it until I found a place where the farmland finally extended all the way to Matakana Valley Road. This was just north of a quarry.
I stopped at the farmhouse to apologise to crossing without permission but no one was home. I now had a couple of hours walking to get back to Govan Wilson Road where I would start the next section. Unfortunately I had dropped right down into the valley and I had a substantial climb to get back to the ridge line. As I made my way up the gravel road towards the top, I stopped for a while to yarn to Lauren, a young man from California, who was out for a run and invited me in for a cold drink when I passed his parents house on Govan Wilson Road tomorrow.
From the top I had cell phone coverage and I arranged for my brother Jon to pick me up from Matakana, I will base myself at his place in Auckland for the next few days. I also rang Geoff Chapple and arranged to do tomorrow?s section of track with him as he hadn't walked via what is now the proposed route.
The sign for the track is hidden behind a much bigger and meaner sign.
Looking north towards Te Aria Point.