Pirongia West Road to Waitomo
Even with the 5km head start this was a massive day for me. 37kms with a full pack load and mostly off road. It was perfect blue skys and the heat really turned up a notch.
I was walking the road for the first hour or so through the Pirongia Forest Park. I had stopped for a drink and saw another hiker coming speeding up behind me. His name is Eddy and he is from Holland. Here for eight weeks trying to do as much as he can. I told him to carry on because I wont be able to keep up with his pace. He asked if I would like to try so I said, “ok, why not?” It was literally 100m up the road and I had to slow down. There was no way I could keep that up. Just up from there I crossed a stile and into farmland. Eddy was already well ahead.
The day was tough. It was up and over lots of hills and exposed to the heat. In and out of bush tracks and over an airstrip. I was up high and had awesome views back to Mt Pirongia and all other directions.
I caught up to Eddy a few times when he stopped for breaks then we ended up walking together for half the day. I had warmed up by then and was able to keep up. I go at the same pace as him when off road and faster climbing uphill. When it gets flat he takes off with his long legs. Being from Holland he is used to hiking on flat terrain. We followed the Moakurarua Stream for a while and then crossed it which happened to mark the half way point to Wellington. 844kms!
A 5km road walk to Waitomo to finish the day at 6pm. We walked straight into the Tomo Bar and Eatery before going to the holiday park to set up camp. We bought each other a handle and then got a few things from the general store. Waitomo Holiday Park charges 27 bucks for a camp site! After setting up my tent I called home quickly and then went back to the bar for a burger. Two other hikers turned up and joined me. Jesse and Jason. It was 8pm and they had just arrived in Waitomo. I met Jason at the top of Pirongia and had talked to Jesse on Facebook prior to starting this trip.