February 10th 2017
possible camping – possible camping
Total distance: 1050.5 miles
We aimed to get going at 7am but it was too much of a struggle. We ended up going back to sleep and left at 8:45. I could have continued lying down for a long time. I didn’t go to sleep until around midnight because I was updating the blog. I had cell service and I could rinse my battery because we would be in town in a couple of days and I don’t want to do it in Wellington. A proper rest would be so nice.
What eventually forced me out the tent was the need for a poo. There was no toilet where we were and it wasn’t appropriate for a nature poo, but lucky for us there was a toilet just 0.2 miles away. Still only 2 nature poos 70 days in. That’s quite an achievement in itself!
With that taken care of we walked down the beach for a bit before walking on a road for a short while to get to the start of the Escarpment Track. There was a little shop just before so I got a double dirty Mountain Dew to try and power me up the climb. The track was really cool, quite a popular little spot as it’s super accessible, offers great views and at 10km long it’s achievable for a large percentage of people at the same time as being quite challenging with some hefty stair climbs.
We could see our across the water and the South Island was in the distance. We have come so far since Cape Rienga, we can actually see the South Island! That was pretty cool. It’s a nice well maintained trail and overall a nice walk. It dips in and out of the trees before climbing high up to the top for some excellent views. Just before the top there is a barrel with harvested rain water in. I love all the rain water tanks in New Zealand. It makes so much sense and the water tastes great! Sandy, Colin and Marcus were at the top and when a couple of guys came along we asked them to take our picture. I found out one of them was born in the town I live in now in England. Small world.
We weren’t quite half way on the track yet so we continued on and the trail wiggled up and down and crosses a couple of swing bridges. I’m not a huge fan of the swing bridge because when I get to the other side I still feel like I’m bouncing up and down when I get off it. After the track the trip follows an old railway station and crosses the tracks before going through some small suburbs and plops us out, rather conveniently, at a dairy in Pukerua Bay where we can buy ice creams. So we did.
We carry on down a nice wide walkway which takes us into Plimmerton where we find a fish and chip shop, but when we go inside it’s a Thai place as well and it smells so good we can’t resist the pull, so we get food. I get a Pad Thai and we are very sensible this time, instead of stuffing ourselves until we feel sick we take half of it away with us to eat later.
The walk to Porirua is a weird juxtaposition of things. We follow the railway and state highway 1, we can also see nice bays with yachts and boats and beautiful houses nestled high in the hills, it’s like being in Italy. The sea is one side and the mountains are the other. We have a great pedestrian / cycle path to follow all the way into town. The trail takes you in a roundabout way past a high ropes course, like Go Ape in the UK, it did feel a little forced as the trail could have just carried on straight without passing the Adrenaline Forest. It did look fun though and had we had more time we may have given it a go. Having already done Go Ape I didn’t feel the need. As we come over the bridge we can see Pack’n’Save, Countdown and New World in front of us. We don’t really need anything which is a shame as they are really big stores with lots of choice. We pop into Countdown to get a drink and a snack. Chocolate milk and an apple turnover. Julia leaves her pole in the supermarket, she only has one so she can’t afford to lose it so she goes back to get it. We sit by the river and have our drinks but I’m saving my apple turnover for later.
We try to find the trail and end up in a shopping centre. It’s loud and bright and noisy but Julia wants to use the wifi for a while so we sit there for a bit until it becomes too much, plus it’s getting late and we still have about 5 more miles to go. We walk through some back areas, an industrial estate, which is our second or third of the day and we eventually get to the Colonial Knob track. The first part of this track is a popular destination for locals to get in their exercise. It was quite busy with people running up and down it. The trails is basically a giant staircase all the way to the lookout where you get really good views. I was envious of everyone not carrying a pack! It was knackering but we made it without stopping. I was sweating buckets and very red in the face when I got to the lookout but the views were worth it.
The climb didn’t end there and we continued on up a farm track, through the fields to Colonial Knob summit before descending again. Now about 7:30 the sun was starting to go down and the wind was chilly. With a couple of miles still to go to our campsite we got a bit of a move on. As we descended further we got out of the wind and into the forest and joined what looked like a bike track. It had been a long tiring day and I was totally ready to stop walking, but we chose to push on to the camping that was listed a bit further away to shorten our day by just a little bit tomorrow. I got some water from a stream, which is only about the third time I’ve had to do that in New Zealand so far.
We saw the camp site we were aiming for wasn’t an actual camp site and it was listed as possible camping in places along the track, so we walked a bit further and found a semi flat, cleared patch which was just big enough for our two tents. I was pretty cold by now so threw myself into my tent and tried to get organised. I ate my leftover Thai for dinner which was more delicious than it had been at lunchtime but saved my pastry for the morning. Leftover Thai and pastries, I could get used to this sort of camping!
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.