Absolutely exhausted from a month of walking, Blissful takes a well-deserved rest day, or "zero."
"Slackpacking" is section-backpacking while sleeping in the same place each night.
It's a rainy day for slackpacking up Maungakiecke and through Jellicoe Park to Manukau Bay.
The trail winds south through Ambury Park, reclaimed coastal wetlands and past the airport.
The trail is through soggy bottomland and over electric fenced farmland to Rangariri.
It's easy tramping to Huntly and a beautiful sculpture garden, then up steeply into the Hakarimata Range.
The Hakarimatas is a muddy bushwalk to beautiful stairs, the Te Awa Cycleway and Hamilton.
It's farms, the cool Taitua Arboretum and finally Whatawhata, where the Backyard Bar allows camping.
I just happened to be passing through Auckland at Thanksgiving and have a lot to be grateful for.
The trail is through swamp up into the Kapamahungas and muddy, moss covered Tawa on Mount Pirongia.
I'm rescued by a trail angel after a 5-hour hike from the hut down Mount Pirongia in deep mud.
Under threatening thunder, the walk is in farmland, muddy bush and across a swollen stream.
Waitomo is the perfect day for a "zero mile" rest day at the Hamilton Tomo Hut.
This long thru-hike is less a "walking holiday" than a full-time job.
Wet farmland and the glorious Pehitawa forest is followed by a river sidling nightmare.
Out of Mangaokewa Reserve, Blissful is picked up by trail angels and learns how a farm works.
It's a long road walk through karst landscape including cone-shaped hills in brilliant green.
The Timber Trail is a hike/bike path through native podacarp forest saved by "tree sitters."
At Piropiro Flats, Blissful has two beers for brunch and crosses the trails's largest suspension bridge.
The Ongarue Spiral was built in 1914 and includes a tunnel and two trestle bridges.
It's easy walking past sheering and a cafe, where the gardener shares coffee and philosophy.
Rain is a constant companion on the Te Araroa causing anxiety until I learned to accept it.
It's a gorgeous country road to the Whakapapa where Blissful sees two rare whio.
On the steep, and deeply rutted Waione/Cokers Track Blissful accepts a ride with a trapper.
The weather is perfect for the spectacular volcanic Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Blissful awakens to a snow-covered Ruapehu and the storms don't hit until she's in town.