Day 19 – Devil’s Stones

Oof this was an exhausting day. We broke 40km again (41.6!) and didn’t make camp until after 9pm. We’re both super tired but glad we pushed through as the camp seems really nice, we’ll find out more in the morning. The day started out great as we woke up after what seemed like an incredibly windy night inside the cabin with a great view. As we’d pushed through the night before we were able to jump right onto the forest track and avoid the need to do any roads at the start. We had a great hike down that trail and finished up pretty quick with some amazing views on the way. The one downside was the extensive amount of gravel path that we needed to walk on, these really remind you of any blisters when you stand on a sharp stone. Gravel would later on become today’s nemesis. With a little road and a lot more gravel we got started on the next track that would take us into the town of Mangawhai Heads. This led us out towards the ocean and again provided great views. The water was so blue it looked like the Caribbean. We found a shady spot to stop for lunch along here as well (more tuna and wraps). We finished up on the beach again and headed around an inlet and into town to resupply. Before resupplying we stopped at a local cafe that was serving thick shakes and each devoured a shake. Note that in NZ a regular milk shake is just flavored milk, a thick shake was getting closer to your classic Chik Fil A shake but not quite. Feeling refreshed we did our grocery shopping for about a four day carry and got moving. The next 10km were across various roads and down a lot of gravel which was horrible and much more exhausting than we thought. We hit the beach pretty late and had another 10km to do including a short climb over a non beach section. At about 9pm we past the point where we were supposed to look up into the dunes for the sign to the campsite and after a bit more walking eventually managed to find it. It was still a good 10-15 minute walk up to the campsite and the host had come down a bit to meet us but was practically sprinting back up to the campsite once he found us, we lost Heather quite a few times. We eventually made it and another couple gave us a quick tour and the host set us up with some leftovers to eat which was much appreciated! Super long day but rest day tomorrow. I’m not sure if this last photo is the actual boundary but we did also officially cross over from the Northland region to the Auckland region which was great!

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