Day 12 – A Close Encounter

We managed to get fish and chips and several more Tui’s last night after getting into the Paihia YHA pretty late. The other American couple had set us up to Kayak at 0730 this morning so we got up early and walked down the street to the kayak shop to get going. This is one of the qwerks of the TA where not everything is strictly trail. Today involved a 15km kayak through the Bay of Islands and out to Russell Forest where we would continue walking. The kayak was great fun and had amazing views the whole way. It was obviously a nice break from walking as well… We finished the kayak slightly before lunch and after helping the guy strap them on his car we switched into our hiking gear and got moving again. The remainder of the day was about 18km of mixed forest and road track and we had another 4 or 5km walking down a stream surrounded by the forest. Exiting the forest early in the evening we’d planned on walking along a road until we saw a good spot. Far from a good spot, we quickly came across a pair of dogs riding a herd of cattle from one field into another across the road we were walking down. The dogs started to run into trouble and it appeared that the cows were facing off with them a bit. We thought it was quieting down and then a large and mean bull came and stood in the middle of the road ending all conversation and threatening to run down anything that it didn’t like the look of (the red tent strapped to the back of my pack being one of those things). We eventually figured out a route through the field and around the bull. We walked another kilometer or so and came across the old DOC HQ for Russell forest which has been converted into a backpackers hostel and Airbnb. A nice surprise compared to what we’d just faced. We’re bedding down here for a good night’s rest and will enjoy the use of a flushing toilet and warm shower while we have it!

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