The walk started of pleasantly through the Auckland Botanical Gardens and then through the suburbs before hitting the road to Clevedon - I wasn't looking forward to that road and I'd said to Majella that I would try to get us a ride. I haven't had much success with hitching on the road side. All my rides have been offered or have happened after I've spoken to a person in a cafe or similar. I turned around and noticed how far Gel had fallen behind and I prayed. I literally asked for help to get us a ride of God, of Murray and Leon (put in a good word for me please), of whoever might be listening. We got to the road and the plan was to try and get a ride by standing just after the intersection, if we didn't get a ride, walk for half an hour and try again.
I stood with my thumb out trying to ooze 'I am not an axe murderer' vibes. It didn't happen straight off but soon enough we had a lift! B(Ryan)- not sure which and his son Salvidor were on there way to Clevedon b(Ryan) cleaned out his back seat and we squeezed in. I was so grateful and thanked all the people and Gods I'd asked for help several times. The lift into Clevedon saved us 14km and a big climb. We stopped at a Deli for a coffee and I told Majella that we now had only 12km to go to Hunua falls which now was incredibly doable.
Bit of a road leg to start but it was on a country road that wasn't too busy so was picturesque and quiet pleasant. This led to the Wairoa River Track which was mostly fairly flat and easy going. It had a bit of mud but not really serious mud like I've had previously. Majella seemed to enjoy this track and took her time to stop and take photos. On the way a TA hiker called Lucas, from Czechoslovakia had caught us. He helped Majella adjust her pack so it sat better on her and was generally a nice fellow. He had been taking photos of all the hikers he had met, but his phone had died so we took one on mine. He wanted to give me his email address so I could send him the photo but we didn't have a pen handy(my brain must have been in low gear cause I could have put it in my phone). Lucas was going to leave it somewhere at the cross roads when he stopped for lunch, but when we got there we couldn't find anything.
Lucas, I hope you read this - thank you for your help!
We made it into the falls mid afternoon- super busy there with what seemed like half of New Zealand's population chilling and having a swim. I knew that other people had camped here but while it didn't seem to be prohibited, it didn't seem to be permitted either. We were waiting for the crowds to go but more people kept arriving so in the end we just set up camp. Nobody has kicked us out yet. Starting to get dark and I am writing this listening to the roar of the falls in the background. Very cool.
Guess what manner of creature this is?