The Papakauti stream is the trail through the magical Russell Forest, followed by road to Helena Bay.
It's straight up on a ridge with sensational views, then deep into steep up-and-down bush.
Crossing the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere at Whananaki, the trail is easy along beaches.
An easier day on a sprained ankle through the chest-deep Horahora River to Tidesong.
The birds, people, and sound of my feet through water, mud and sand were the hiking conversation.
From Tidesong, it's a walk across the Taiharuru estuary to Ocean beach then up magnificent Bream Head.
It's 76 flights of stairs out of Peach Cove, then over foggy Mt. Lion to Smugglers Bay and Marsden Point.
It's a beach walk with spectacular reflections, then up a steep hill to views from DragonSpell.
There is a lot of magic on a thru-hike when we have faith and juts let it happen.