I am taking a breather at the Papa Kauri shelter. This is where Geoff Chapple carved "Te Araroa 5-1-98" into the table after a DoC officer had explained to him why they had recently removed all of the signage; because too many people were getting lost. I took a photo.
I awoke this morning in a Kauri grove about 20m from a twin bole kauri that is sign posted from the road. At ground level it is a single trunk but it very quickly begins to show signs of forming two trunks and these start in earnest at about 5-6 metres. They then go straight up side by side with about 300mm separating them. I took a photo.
I started walking after 8.00am and had a couple of kilometres on the gravel road before turning on to the Russell walkway. This started as a very pleasant meander in the bush with the occasional kauri still present. The climb to Te Ranga trig was fairly demanding however, steep and enough gorse to cause a few problems.
By lunchtime I was at the turnoff to Parangiora Stream so I lay in the shade and ate a surprisingly large meal - must have been hungry. DoC had recommended I head out to the road from here but that would mean missing the Papa Kauri shelter which I would like to visit.
I was now on a dirt road to the shelter. I got to a stretch of the road about 200 metres long which had hundreds of small holes burrowed into it with the excavated dirt piled around the opening like a small volcano. There was no sign of anything coming or going from any of the holes. I remembered reading somewhere that in England they have competitions to see who can coax the most earthworms out of the ground by beating on the surface to make the worms think it is raining. Not to be outdone I set about making my best rain impersonation by beating the road with my Leki poles. This proved a complete failure. I am not sure if flailing leki poles do not sound much like rain or if the inhabitants of these holes are considerably smarter than the average English earthworm. I couldn?t just leave defeated so I took a photo.
Papakauri stream was a welcome sight and not just because it is close to the shelter. I drank my fill and replenished my water bladder. The shelter itself is fairly unremarkable, it is situated in a small clearing that is covered in knee high grass. It is about 4m square and has internal walls to divide it into one half and two quarters. There are no external walls just some bench seats, a table and a long drop.
From Papakauri shelter I decided to had back the way I had come and bail to the road that way. It would mean no more time on the road but about 10 less km on the track (which was a dirt road anyway!)
It was nice to be out on the coast although there was more road walking ahead of me. I made my way down to Oakura Road along a sealed road through beautiful rolling country. I passed a number of rough dwellings, many of which were surrounded by derelict looking vehicles. I also passed a number of old weather board houses with gardens that were meticously kept and full of flowers.
From Oakura Road I decided to push on for Helena Bay which I reached around 9.00pm. There I was offered a bed by Mike and Colleen Collins who were holidaying with their two adult sons Mark and Sam. Later in the evening we took some suitably smelly food down to the creek where I was introduced to Neil the Eel. Neil was a wiley old resident who was happy to be hand fed by Mike. I don't know that I would have left my hand there.
Geoff Chapple and Eric Martinot were here. I couldn't bring myself to carve anything on a table, sorry to let the team down guys.
A picturesque stream just before the shelter.
If anyone knows what made these holes please flick me an email to let me know.