North Island Summary.
57 days of exhilaration, wonder, beauty, exhaustion, surprises, generosity and frustration. The North Island is so much more than the sum of its parts…. beaches, forest tracks, mud, farm tracks, cow poop, swamps, views, roads of all kinds, small towns, native bush, confusing or missing signage, questionable choice of routing. I loved and hated it. But I never got tired of meeting amazing, interesting and generous Kiwis. Every hiker I have talked to says the people are the best part of the North Island. And meeting them couldn’t be planned. It was random, spontaneous and always wonderful.
My only regret of travelling thru the North Island is that I skipped the Tongariro Crossing. I wish I would have hitched back from Whanganui and done it then. I have done it before and know what an amazing place it is. I’m hoping to have time and good weather before I fly out of Auckland April 7th. I loved paddling the river all the way from Taumaranui to Whanganui and would highly recommend it.
Some interesting factoids…..
All day rain on a hiking day: 1. The day I walked to Tidesong. I had periods of rain many other days but never all or most of the day. This was my biggest surprise and made my umbrella the most useless piece of gear I carried.
Coldest night: Helena Bay, Northland. This was the only time I was cold most of the night. The morning on Mt Kau Kau in Wellington was a close 2nd. It was also the only time I wore my gloves…. for 30 minutes. My sleeping bag is rated at 30 degrees F or about 0 degrees Celsius. I was hot in it all other nights.
Favorite Overnight: This was a tie between Tidesong and the Homestay near Bulls.
Best Beach: the black sand and driftwood beach between Tarakina and Bulls.
Best hiking: Tararuas. I finally got my open ridges and views I had been craving. And knowing how blessed I was with perfect weather made it even sweeter.
6 zeros… Pahia, Auckland (really a nearo of 5km), Waihi Beach (from Ngaruawahia), Waitomo, Taumaranui, Levin
I didn’t sleep in my tent nearly as often as I thought I might. Here’s how my sleeping locations worked out….
Private Homes: 9…. THE BEST! THANK YOU, ALL.
B&B, Homestay: 3
Luxury hotel: 2
Other inside: 9 These were mostly Holiday Park cabins.
Money spent: US$2200 in just under 2 months. More than worth every penny.