El Rancho camp 1602.5km to Camp Elsdon 1645.5km
The long distances between campsites dictated an early start. No one stired except us hikers and the early morning fitness freaks. But it wasn’t long before the beach became the trail, with that the miles flew by.
On the west coast just north of Wellington is a dedicated section of the Te Araroa trail. Up to this point the trail has been a route on highways, roads, farmland, beaches and trails that already existed. This recently built section of trail is the first attempt (I think) at building it’s own trail. And it did a great job. Swing bridges, staircases and no mud. Sometimes I appreciate such things.
The trail was 300 meters above the ocean below. The busy highway was choked full of holiday traffic heading north. It felt like I was hiking faster than the traffic.
The perfect weather had crowds of people on the trail. It was great to see so many people hiking. This section can be easily reached by car, bus or train from Wellington.
As the afternoon progressed I stopped for dinner at a food court inside a busy shopping centre. People wearing perfume and sweet smelling deodorant walled past while I was there with my dirty, smelly backpack. As I set up my tent in a nearby campground I thought to myself, please take me back to the wilder places, please take me to the south island. It will not be long now. Tomorrow I reach Wellington and the end of the trail on the north island.