About 8.00am the rain cleared so I started getting ready to depart. Things would move much faster in the morning if I didn't have to dress blisters. I was very soon at the quarry but had already decided to stay on the road here rather than head into the forest as I wanted to make sure I got to Kerikeri tonight as I had booked at a B & B that I had also had some stuff posted to, like maps for the next section, and they were fully booked tomorrow night.
I stopped to take a photo of a newly opened fern frond which looked very delicate against the sky, I hope it comes out. After a little more than an hour I had left the forest and was on a gravel road heading south towards the Mahinganingna Kauri Reserve. This was a wonderful spot with elevated boardwalks built with sweeping curves. The whole thing was only five minutes long but had informative panels and a number of small to medium sized kauri. I met an Auckland family in there and spoke to them for a while. The guy works for the ISP Slingshot so I found that interesting. Just as I left it poured down again, luckily it only lasted for about 5 minutes. I headed towards the Kerikeri walkway on roads I believed would be gravelled but very soon become sealed. The seal is so much harder on my feet. Got to the town/suburb of Waipapa and rang the B & B to give an indication of my arrival time. They had gone away so I was pretty dispirited - no bed and worse, no parcels till they returned at lunchtime tomorrow. With a heavy heart, sore feet and sore legs from pushing so hard over the last two days to be sure I got here in time, I headed on. Within 30 minutes I was on the Kerikeri walkway, which is a very attractive spot and was talking to four tourists (two couples) one of whom was a kiwi.
It turned out that one of the couples, Keith and Linda, owned a house right above the inlet and I was invited to stay the night. Amazing!! They proved to be interesting companions, Keith worked all of the time that I was there on his garage and I hobbled out and helped for a few moments. He also owned a yacht moored in the inlet and has cruised extensively. On his return to New Zealand many years earlier he had exhausted his money and walked from Opua to Kerikeri looking for work, so he had some understanding of what a day walking the roads is like. Linda is a teacher in Melbourne but had also done relief teaching in Kerikeri in the past so we had lots to talk about also. The other couple, Tony and Tomoko, are based in Paris, Tony with UNESCO and Tomoko with a Japanese company. Tony had brought an English Christmas pudding with him and that was most pleasant along with a good helping of ice cream.
It was nice to head to bed that night with all my gear washed and dried, being freshly showered and to have sheets to slip between instead of a sleeping bag.
A delicate new frond freshly opened on the side of the track on Puketi Ridge.
Three of the many kauri trees in the Mahinganingna Kauri Reserve.
The force involved to snap a trunk of this size is incredible. The photo really doesn't come close to seeing it for yourself.
A stunning waterfall which cascades over a rock shelf with the opening to a cave in the darkness behind it.