Te Araroa: from Puketi to Paihia

Once we left Puketi Forest behind, we had about 20 kilometer left to Kerikeri. Not a lot, however, it would be our first rainy day of the Te Araroa. At least, that was forecasted. And it was indeed raining when we left the campsite in Puketi. While we ‘enjoyed’ walking a long gravel road, the rain stopped and it became reasonably nice weather. While the humidity levels were rising, the scenery changed and we left the gravel road behind and continued through paddocks full of sheep.

Once we negotiated the first paddocks, another long stretch of gravel lay ahead of us. And after that, more paddocks. First, we followed a farm track along a paddock with bulls. After a while, we also had to enter a field with bulls. Suddenly Jasper wasn’t so happy any more with his bright red rain cover on this backpack (who mentioned bulls are color blind?). However, we succeeded to cross the field without being attacked once.

As we were getting closer to Kerikeri, we started to follow the Kerikeri River. First the Kerikeri River was just a small stream, but a few kilometers further downstream, the stream had turned into a massive river. As a highlight we got a pretty good view at the 27 meter high Rainbow Falls.

Once we arrived in Kerikeri, we headed straight for the Kerikeri Holiday Park. A little expensive, but the location is just ideal: close to all shops (at least in comparison to the other campgrounds in Kerikeri). We did some shopping in the afternoon, followed by a great diner in town. You kind a learn to appreciate real/normal food when you are out on a hike like this, so we really enjoyed our burger with fries.

We took another rest day on Friday. On this rest day, it rained the entire day, which made us spend most of the day inside: first catching up with the blog, later we went into town for lunch. We can definitely recommend to have breakfast or lunch at Zest. Damn delicious.

Although the forecast for Saturday wasn’t looking good, we decided we would continue anyway. But once we left the campground, it appeared the forecast was wrong (again). It didn’t rain and it was nice and warm, although very humid. We even got a little sunburn. Today’s track followed the Kerikeri River to the Stone Store (the oldest existing building in New Zealand), followed by some tarmac towards some more forests. However, this time, the forests were not adventurous at all. We just followed a 15 kilometer long forestry road through the forest. The only ‘change’ in scenery was caused by the old-timer rally that used the same exit road as we did.

Just before Paihia, we had lunch at the local golf course, before making our way into Paihia. We asked a number of backpacking accommodation for a place for the night, but all were fully booked. We finally found a bed at the Pickeld Parrot. Which was a truly amazing place with a great host and discount for TA-hikers. After having a shower with a normal tower, we went to the local kayak rental company to discuss the plan for tomorrow. But more about that in a later post…

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