We started out surprisingly early given the previous days’ arrival time. Before falling asleep I’d managed to book the hostel in Wellington so perhaps the motivation that we’d be reaching the city was all we needed. Amusingly no one else in the campsite was even stirring by the time we left just before 0830. It was a lovely morning (cloudy but warm enough) and we set out for the final 2km through the village to get to the escarpment track.
The escarpment track is a really cool little 10km section that takes you up on the cliff next to highway 1 and the ocean. It was super windy but there were some great views and thankfully the wind was blowing us into the cliff and not out. The wind was intense enough that you could lean out into the air and feel like it would hold you, this was a little risky to test however. While you didn’t have much choice crossing the swing bridges also raised a few hairs, you could see the bridge pulling against it’s supports with the wind. There were plenty of warnings of vertigo at the start of the track and these lived up to the expectations. Lots of places were barely two people feet wide and it was a long drop down to be squashed by the cars or train. The views were very impressive and we didn’t get any rain for this entire section even though the sky was threatening. Of course, as with any crazy New Zealand track, there were somehow sheep on the path.
We finished this section around 11:30am and continued on with the walk towards Wellington. The next part was largely a road/path walk winding along next to the highway and railway and periodically crossing both.
We constantly had clouds circling over us and would get dumped on with rain for five minutes at a time. It was on this section that we really started to learn why it’s called Windy Wellington. Other than the rain and the wind it was a fairly easy walk in and after a brief stop for lunch during a sunny break we reached the train station at Porirua.
From here we decided to end for the day leaving about 45km left on North Island. We took the train into the city (only about 15-20 minutes) and checked into our hotel. We’ll head back out tomorrow and finish up as much as we can then continue the day after if needed. I think it’s a decently hilly and tough section so it may take two days to get through. We spent the evening at a friend’s house who had been holding onto all of our resupply boxes for us. They cooked us dinner and drove us around which was very much appreciated. It feels great to finally be in Wellington and nearly done with one island!