Day 14 – Any Room at the Inn?

Two weeks on the trail and we’re both feeling positive. There’s certainly the problems (mainly focused on feet currently) that we’re having but we’ve worked through them all so far. We’ve enjoyed every part of the trail, sometimes more so when looking back on it than actually doing it. It’s certainly a long way to go yet but we can slowly feel ourselves building a rhythm if doing things and there’s a certain inevitability setting in about accomplishing this eventually. At our current pace (average of 23km per day) we’ll look to hit Wellington at around day 72. I think there’s a good chance we could shave a day or two off that as there’s some easier/longer road days ahead. We started today in the forest after having our first completely dry night in the tent. I’m not sure if it was being in the forest or just a freak weather night but there wasn’t even any dew on the tent. We had about 9km left on the Onekainga track and after some steep up and down terrain we came to some very impressive views of the ocean, coast, and the Poor Knight Islands. Coming down towards the ocean we reached the Whananaki Footbridge, the longest footbridge in the Southern hemisphere. We crossed that and had lunch on the other side. Following lunch we continued to head towards Matapouri, our destination for the night. We didn’t know where we would camp so had made a few phone calls and knew that we needed to hit the Matapouri Store by 7pm to resupply for the next few days. We had plenty of time and the walk to Matapouri was along really nice rugged coastline with continual drops to secluded beaches. Unfortunately a lot of this land is private land so you can’t really go exploring off trail. Near the end we had a fun run in with a bunch of cows that decided it’d be a good idea to stand right on our pathway. They were pretty harmless (no bulls) and we’ve gotten much better at just walking through them.

We made it to the store with nowhere in mind to camp yet but after a solid serving of fish and chips we asked inside and they recommended we asked the people across the street from the store. They’re a Maori family who own a lot of the land we’d just walked through and were very happy to have us camp out back. They don’t advertise but have a perfect set up for it with a covered seating area, toilet and hot shower, and large kitchen. We’re the only ones here right now and it’s great to be relaxing at a nice spot on Christmas Eve.

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