Paihia to Oakura
I stayed at the Adventure Backpackers in Paihia. After the family went home I settled into my accommodation. My room was full of smelly backpackers when I got back which made me feel better about my own odour. I ran into Jayden there and by coincidence the rest of the group had all come there for the night. They were going to have a rest day in Paihia. I had a good catch up with Jerome and Jayden and we discussed our plans and intentions for the rest of the TA. It is possible we won’t cross paths again but who knows?
I was up early again to get started asap. Dan from Bay Beach Hire said he would come to work early so I could get going by myself. Dan has sponsored me by providing the kayak hire for free. He is such a neat guy and really goes the extra mile for anyone.
While I was waiting for Dan to arrive, I got a visit from a work friend Ty-Ray who lives in Paihia and stopped by on the off chance he might see me. Ty-Ray had written a very big message in the sand already in case he did not catch me. It read, “GO DEAN the path less travelled”. So cool.
I managed to get my whole backpack repacked into dry bags so it could fit in the kayak. The trip was awesome up the Waikere Inlet and took me only a couple of hours to cover 17kms. I padlocked the kayak up to stock yard, repacked my backpack and put on my boots before heading up a gravel road and into Russell Forest. The track at the end of the road was easy. The track then became the Papakauri Stream which I walked up for 4kms. I took my time wading up the stream. It was so beautiful and I wanted to really make the most of it. The rocks were slippery under the water so I needed to be careful not to twist an ankle. I was weary of anaconda eels slithering out from under the banks and sinking their backward teeth into my legs. I dont like snakes or eels. Luckily I did not see any. I had to climb over fallen trees and at times cut up the banks to avoid deep pools. It was mostly only ankle deep and at worst up to my knees.
I filled my water bottles before exiting the stream. The trail turned into a four wheel drive track for most of the way out onto Russell Road which I continued up towards Oakura. Not long before the turn off to Oakura I came across a driveway with a sign welcoming TA walkers. The sign promised backpacker accommodation, showers and a toilet so I thought that sounded pretty good. Better than sleeping in my tent anyway.
I walked up the driveway and met Sue. It was such a cool place and felt very homely. There are also cabins available. There was food available to purchase in the pantries, fridge and freezer. I had the whole place to myself. I had another blissful hot shower and put on a set of clean clothes. I am feeling like I am getting a cold so will have an early night.
I will be home tomorrow night after getting picked up from Whananaki. Then a rest on Jesse’s birthday.