Melbourne to the start of the Te Araroa
We walked down great nanna’s road to the bus stop. It was a bit tricky to fit into the bus with our huge bags. We took up two seats each. We got off the bus at the train station and got onto a train Southern Cross station, in the middle of Melbourne. From there we got on a Skybus which took us to Tullamarine Airport.
It was 12:30 at night when our plane finally took off. I managed to curl up in a tiny ball in my seat and sleep without elbowing the man next to me too much. It’s luck that I’m flexible enough to twist myself into a pretzel and sleep!
Arriving in New Zealand
We got into Auckland Airport at 5:30 am New Zealand time the next morning. It took ages to get through customs and out of the airport. New Zealand has Skybus too and we got on one into Auckland Center.
We stocked up on food at a shop called ‘Countdown’ which is what the Kiwis call Woolworth. I watched in horror as the mountain of food in our baskets got higher – we had to carry all of it on our backs!
After a breakfast of bread and cheese, we got on the Intercity bus to Kerikeri.
I was exhausted and slept for half of the four hour bus trip. Unfortunately I kept waking up as the driver seemed to be driving like a maniac and I got very car sick. We were behind schedule and I think he was trying to make up for lost time.
We stumbled off the bus into Kerikeri at about 3pm. Ramona, the lady we’d arranged to give us a lift to Cape Reinga, was waiting for us. We bundled ourselves and our bags into her car.
There were road workers on part of the road. A man was holding a stop sign behind a witch’s hat in the middle of the road. We came around the corner and our driver only just saw it in time to stop. Ramona told the man with the stop sign she thought it was dangerous how hard to see it was. Their conversation went something like this:
“I think that it’s a bit dangerous how hard the sign is to see coming around the corner.”
“No worries, we’re about to go home anyway.” With a grin and a thick kiwi accent.
“But it was really dangerous.”
“Yeah, but it’s Friday and we’re about to go home, bro!”
He just grinned happily and she gave up. As we drove away we all erupted into laughter.
We said goodbye to Ramona. She drove away, leaving us by ourselves in a remote part of a foreign country with night coming on. We felt kind of abandoned and all I could think was ‘what have we gotten ourselves into? I have to walk 3000 km and it’s 100 km to get to the next town! There’s no way out of this now. Why, oh why, am I doing this?’
So we went to the lighthouse at the tip of the cape and took some photos.
The sun was going down and we debated weather to go down the trail toward the beach and find somewhere to set up the tents, or to unroll our sleeping mats and sleep in the toilet block. We ended up sleeping in the women’s toilet block next to the car park at Cape Reinga. Not the most promising of starts to an adventure.
We managed to light our stove in the howling winds and cook up some pasta with lentils and tomato sauce. That sounds like quite a nice meal but we realized that we didn’t have much fuel so only half cooked it. It was horrible but we gagged it down and went to bed.
A lady must have come to the cape very early as she came into the toilet blocks when we were still asleep. She must have gotten quite a shock! We packed up quickly after that. The morning was really foggy and chilly.
For breakfast we had left-over half cooked pasta. Sadly ageing didn’t improve it at all.
After finally getting all of our stuff together and packed we started down the Te Araroa. I sure hope that the rest of our trip won’t be like this first night!
Read about the first 100km of the Te Araroa to see how we did…
Loving your blog Gabrielle! Best of luck to you all on this most epic of epic adventures!