We met at 10 Bracken Ave around 5:50am on Saturday, loaded up the cars and left around
6:05 am. We had a few rest stops on the way north, arriving in Te Hapua at 2 pm. an hour before we were
due catch the shuttle. So we spent some time weighing out the shared equipment and food.
shuttle arrived a bit before 3pm and we headed off to Tapotupotu campsite. Once we had set up tents and
had a cup of tea, we went for a walk back along the Coastal Track towards Kapo Wairua. We came to the
high point, an ancient Maori Pa, after about 45 minutes. We looked at the wonderful views then returned
to the campsite. Dinner was sausages, rice and peas. We had a bit too much rice.
We packed up and were on our way by 8:30 am. There were two steep hills to climb on our way to Cape Reinga,
so we took our time. The hills combined with the hot sun and lack of shade made this section quite a
challenge. On arrival, around 11:00 am, we visited the lighthouse and had a break for lunch. The track
then went down to, and along, Te Werahi Beach. Cloud had come over and a gentle easterly also helped
keep us cool.
The views of nature were outstanding all day - giant sand dunes, wind-blown scrub
andvast oceans. Te Werahi Stream was shallow and easy to cross (though can be tricky around high tide).
During the rest stop just after crossing the stream, Tim told a previously crafted Creation Bible story
as devotions. The track up past Herangi Hill was sandy with amazing colours. The last section along Paengarehia/Twilight
Beach was tiring near the end of the long day’s hike. But we found the stairs and the campsite without
incident (18 km total for the day, listed as taking 7.5 hours).
Twilight campsite is basic with
a good shelter, water supply and two toilets. After dinner we watched an amazing sunset over the Tasman
Sea. A possum stole food from various packs overnight - more trapping required here!
We were away about 8am to cross the headland and go down on to Ninety Mile Beach. We made good
time despite some people stopping regularly to take photos. After a few kilometres on the beach we turned
up Te Paki Stream, a wide, shallow, sandy stream that doubles as a road for cars and buses accessing
Ninety Mile Beach. We arrived at the carpark right on our midday pick-up time (12 km, listed as taking
4.5 hours). We stopped a few times on our way back to Auckland, including dinner in Whangarei, and got
to Bracken Ave around 9 pm.