Te Araroa day 126 – Otautau

April 7th 2017
woodlaw forest – campsite 
12.2 miles 
Total distance: 1797.1 miles

It was a lot warmer than expected last night, and apart from some cracking of branches in the forest the night went without incident and I got a good 9 hours sleep in. We managed to get going a little earlier today because it was a town day, with only 7 easy miles to reach the road to Otautau, a small town 13 kilometres away. 
We walked a farm road, through some fields of cows and sheep, along some gravel roads before climbing gently through the forest. We arrived at the road much quicker than I was expecting and we had just 1.5 miles to walk along the road to get to the next junction where we rejoin a gravel road. We walked that part of the road so we didn’t have to do it this afternoon. It was still pretty cold and my hat and gloves stayed on all morning. 


Sandy and Colin were a bit ahead of us and they got a hitch really quickly, as they passed us everyone in the car waved as they went by. Crusher and I reached the hitching spot and after about 1 minute the first car that came by stopped and picked us up. Yes! The man who drove us to Otautau was on his way back from a 4 day hunting trip, Crusher had to sit with his rifle pressed into her back but other than that it was a pleasant ride into town from someone who never picks up hitchhikers. 

He dropped us at the 4 square supermarket around 10:30am, which was right on the edge of town so we continued to walk into the centre. It’s one of those towns which is made up of a single street, completely centred around farming there is a tractor repair shop, lots of animal based shops, and farm supply shops. We made our way to Main Street Cafe just as it was starting to rain. Perfect timing. I ordered a hot chocolate and bacon and eggs on toast and we settled in for a few hours. 


We were sat round a big wooden table with place mats, and plates hanging all over the walls. It was like being in someone’s house. The people in there were really nice and they were used to hikers coming in and encouraged us to get out of the cold. We plugged in our electronics and used there very fast wifi while we ate more food and drank more drinks. We made a plan for the next section and we took it in turns to go down to the supermarket to resupply. We stayed there until just after 2pm. We were packing up ready to hitch back to the trail, the owner of the cafe let us go in the kitchen and fill our water bottles up and he asked us how we were getting back to the trail. Then he said he would drive us as it was ‘only 5 minutes up the road’. It wasn’t only 5 minutes and we were so grateful to Lester for driving us so we didn’t have to stand in the cold and hitch. He had a great big car and we all fit in without having to have our packs on our laps. He didn’t need to ask us where we were going and took us to the exact place we left off. What a great little town. 

We had 5 miles to go to get to our chosen camp spot and it was a bit of gravel road, past a deer farm with a lot of very vocal, very stinky deer, before it turned into a 4wd track, a little muddy in places but avoidable. It was a nice easy day and it didn’t take long to reach the camping area. Plenty of room for all 3 of our tents. 


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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. 

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