The sun rose as I stood on the fire tower. 900 meters below a mist covered the Waikato river and the distant city of Hamilton. My campsite on the summit of a mountain was much better and more peaceful then expected.
Tree ferns, native palms and large trees did their best to prevent the sunlight from breaking through to the trail. Morning joggers were running up the 1400 stairs to the place I called home last night. At the bottom was the town of Ngaruawahia, big enough for me to find a bakery for second breakfast.
For the next 18km or so the trail following the hiking and cycling paths along the Waikato river. It was a pleasant morning walk made all the more pleasant by the locals. Workers mowing the lawn gave away chocolate muffins as I passed. Another local told of his couple of days hiking the trail north of Auckland and some other locals asked why they were seeing so many people with backpacks. They were left wiser about the trail.
Just north of the city of Hamilton I passed the 750km mark or 25% of the trail. And almost as important, the city of Hamilton marks the point where north of here, 50% of the New Zealand population lives. It’s about to get a whole lot less crowded soon. Possums and sheep will out number humans.
Below 10.28am photo – 25% of the trail conpleted
We arrived in Hamilton for lunch. The rest of the day was taken up with resupply, wash clothes, shower and a night in a backpacker hostel.