Utea Park to Ahipara
I was not feeling confident about making it to Ahipara and again I found myself feeling apprehensive. I had a terrible sleep and didnt think I would have enough energy. It is the longest day yet and there is a holiday park half way at Waipapakauri that will be very tempting to stay at. But I am determined to stick to my schedule as best as I can and have a rest day when I get to Ahipara. I found all the inspiration I needed written all over the walls in the bathroom and toilet at Utea Park. There was only good positive vibes and no dirty graffiti so it was actually very cool. One quote stood out for me and was exactly what I needed to hear.
I set off at 8am just after high tide. This meant I was walking in soft sand for an hour or so which is hard work and had to run up the bank a few times to avoid rogue waves. I learnt today that pufferfish are not good swimmers. I passed at least 50 washed up. I fought off some pesky Gannets who did not like me for some reason. They were swooping down on me and I had to swing my walking poles at them. I would have enjoyed connecting with one. Very annoying.
There were no more highlights after that. It took me 9 hours to get to Ahipara. The last 5kms again were agonising. And then the last 1km off the boat ramp to the Ahipara Holiday Park was worse. I was limping heavily and desperate to get my boots off. Rashes round my ankles were stinging and I had reached my absolute physical limit.
The holiday park was awesome. The office had a shop! There were drinks, chocolate, chips and heaps of other stuff. I sorted out my hostel room and purchased a can of L&P. I sat outside for a while to get my boots off and enjoy the refreshing beverage. My first mission was to clean everything, laundry and get rid of all the sand I am carrying. It gets into everything no matter how careful you are! It feels great to be off the beach finally!
I slept in the hostel and had a room to myself with ensuite. I met Tim who is backpacking around the country and then the next morning I got talking to a Taiwanese family who arrived late the night before. Very nice people. The father told me all about the mountains in Taiwan and that there are over 100 mountains over 3000 meters elevation on their island. I have added the Yushan National Park to my list of future destinations.