km travelled today: 23
total TA km: 247
We woke up at 6:30 AM to begin our 23 km walk to the east-coast beach town of Paihia. We walked a few km out on town roads until we reached an ATV track that weaved through the Waitangi forest, a track that branched out into mountain biking trails well-known to the folks around Kerikeri and the Bay of Islands.
Out of the forest we reached Te Puke road and, following the track notes’ suggestion, decided to go check out the Te Araroa Cairn, a volcanic rock formation celebrating the 1995 establishment of the first TA track. We hid our packs in the bushes to begin the walk to the cairn, only to discover the cairn was not even 10 feet from the Te Puke turnoff.
Soon we reached the Paihia golf course where we laid down for a near two-hour lunch break in the beautiful sun and ocean breeze. After a meal of meatstick, peanut butter, and gummy candies, we walked past the Waitangi treaty grounds, across the Waitangi bridge, and into Paihia.
We checked into our 4 Bed Room at the YHA Paihia (low-carbon traveler discount saved us a total of $88) and Shep and I headed to the Countdown for our next resupply. We all headed to get a massive dinner of pizza, wings, garlic knots, and craft beer at Paihia’s hottest beachfront pizza joint: Sauce.
Afterward, we headed to the sports bar at which Jack won about $42 on a slot machine first try.
After some cold beers and game of pool, we headed out and ended up at Jam Night at a bar called Thirty30. There, we met a german couple setting off to start the TA tomorrow. We talked to some of the band members who were playing great all night, and I ended up on bass for Mrs. Robinson, and Jack sang on Rocky Raccoon.
We danced to awesome music with a packed Kiwi crowd for a couple of hours, then headed back to the hostel for a good night’s sleep in a bed! Great music and great food to top off a gorgeous day of walking.