Ken and I left Te Kuiti about 8:00am and started up the first part of the Mangaoweka Gorge past the lime works and an old quarry and eventually over a bridge to the reserve campground.
It was all very nice which may have lead to some underestimation of the time it would take us to do the next part.
The rest of the gorge was very tiring with my right foot always being higher that my left and everything I grabbed seem to be either gorse, blackberry, or some sort of prickly. Added to this some of the banks had been washed away so the track was occasionally a single foothold above a precarious drop into the water. Oh, and it started to rain.
By the time we reached Mangaokewa Road I was tired and after climbing some time we started looking for campsites but nothing pleased us both.
This continued until about 8:00pm and many kilometres later when we both went bugger it and slept beside a Totara near the end of the road too tired to eat more than a snack bar.
Broke the 40kms mark though. That’s a first.
There is a campground a little up the Mangaokewa Gorge which is really the last stop until the DOC campground at Pureora Forest.
Check upstream for dead sheep before you drink the water.
Gloves are handy for situations where everything you grab in prickly.
I have a tendency to follow the path instead of the trail.
When you see advice on Facebook. Take a screenshot. I had read about a place you could stay at but there was no cell phone coverage so I didn’t know where it was.
Although I liked the YHA at Waitomo, I didn’t really get a good sleep. The bunks were to soft I suppose. There was also a group in the same room with us who went to the pub and then made a very noisy return.
Had to wait for a couple of showers to go through in the morning and then it was full wet weather kit and go.
I am mildly sure that the Te Araroa Trust carefully plans things so that your first hour of walking involves a fairly steep and muddy hill and their careful planning paid off again. We navigated stile after stile across paddocks, up and over hills, through sheep and bulls, and finally over into Te Kuiti via an incredibly slippery route.
Te Kuiti is nice. We grabbed some supplies. The guy from Casara Mesa Backpackers came down the hill and picked us up. All in all, I like the place.
It’s hard to start out in the rain but sometimes it gets better.
The infamous “Te Kuiti Tunnel of Gorse” seems to have been dealt with.
People have made some strange access decisions for T.A. walkers. For instance there is a part of the trail to Te Kuiti where instead of just nipping over the ridge past the house the access is up an incredibly steep hill past their lounge where I imagine they sit sipping cups of tea and watching us struggle.
Cows are largely bored and this is why they follow you.