Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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We travelled to Opoutere and stayed in the lovely YHA hostel beside the estuary. A taboo on sleeping bags in all YHA hostels meant that we didn’t have to take so much luggage. The first of four car loads arrived at 5pm just before darkness fell; the other three came late in the evening. The small and cosy lounge with a woodburner was a nice place to relax in on a cold winter night.
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We left the YHA soon after 8:30am and were at the Lynch Stream Track at 9:30am. One car was taken to Sailors Grave to take the drivers back to pick up their cars after the tramp. The passing showers continued as we waited, but finished altogether by the time we set out on our tramp at 10am. We had to spray our boots with disinfectant provided at the beginning to help fight kauri dieback disease.

The track dropped down to cross the Manuka Stream, the first of an endless succession of stream crossings interspersed by two big grunts. We had an elevenses stop at 11am, and were glad to get out to the coast almost two hours later, after all those stream crossings on the Lynch Stream section. Our lunch stop was on this boulder beach, with views out to Shoe and Slipper Islands.
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There was further grunting, but no more stream crossings, as we set out at 1:20pm to go over the hills to Otara Bay. In places there were views of the coastline, and we came to the bay at 2pm, and walked along the sandy beach to the southern end. Andrew braved the cold waters for a swim as we had another break.
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A further climb through bush brought us to the Sailors Grave. This grave is thought to be the oldest sailor's grave in New Zealand. Surrounded by a white picket fence, the lonely grave occupies a small part of the historic reserve and is maintained by the N.Z. Navy. Sailors, sealers, and whalers were among the first Europeans to frequent New Zealand waters. They played a significant role in early European settlement, the development of trade and industry, and in shaping New Zealand's cultural identity.
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We came out to the carpark just before 3pm. David presented devotions on the theme of sailing, relevant to the place we were in, beginning with singing solo Master The Tempest Is Raging. He likened life’s journey to a trip in a boat, going through calm patches and stormy seas. There is always room for changeand new ventures in life, like having the right boat or changing your routine from rowboat in a lake to sailboat on the ocean. We need to live each day to the fullest, and thank God for giving opportunities. We do have trials, coming in seasons because we are not promised sunny cool breezes each day. Jesus promises to hold our hand and carry us in His arms. We need to seek God’s help in difficult moments, speak good things from His Word over our lives and expect a turnaround.

Distance 7.5km; maximum speed 7.4km/h, average speed 2.9km/h

Everyone was back at the Opoutere YHA by about 4pm. Some of us had a go at playing badminton, and Andrew tried out a pair of stilts. He and John went for a walk to the footbridge leading to the beach track, and admired the mirror-smooth waters of the stream and estuary on the outgoing tide. Dinner was served at 6:30pm, and once more the Cosy Common Room was a nice warm place to relax in, chat and read books, although some of us remained in the dining room to play a game of dice.
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Andrew and Hunter went up to the lookout at daybreak, joined by Ali as far as the first viewpoint at the saddle where they could look down to the YHA hostel below.

Breakfast were served about 8:30am, and after packing up and loading the cars we were away at 9:30am headed for Pauanui and our climb up Mt Pauanui. We set out at 10:15pm on our tramp along the coast to Boulder Bay and Cave Bay, going along formed track part of the way, and over loose boulders in the beach. At Cave Bay the track climbed steeply through bush towards the summit of Mt Pauanui.
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There was much more climbing, and a more level reprieve with a little downhill before the final grunt to the Mt Pauanui summit. We were there soon after midday, and was a great place to have our lunch on a calm and sunny day. There was a panoramic view from the Hikuai valley and Coromandel Ranges down to Pauanui and Tairua.
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Marian presented devotions following on from yesterday. Psalm 1:1-3 likens the good man, God’s man, to a tall strong tree rooted deep by the water’s edge alongside a river. God made the mighty beech trees and also fragile ferns and tender saplings. The giant trees have weathered many a storm and still stand strong. When the rains lash the small and tender trees, they bend with the pressure but if rooted deep they will grow straight and tall. Are we strong enough to stand the pressures of life? How deep are our spiritual roots?

We returned to the carpark down the direct Mountain Track, and we were all out by 1:45pm. Before going our separate ways we stopped at a nearby coffee shop. The birds in the carpark enjoyed the leftovers of some people's lunch.  
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Distance 4.0km; maximum speed 7.7km/h, average speed 2.4km/h.

COST: travel $36, food $12, accommodation $54