Stacked packs at the Puhoi Pub.
Auckland

TA Day 22, Puhoi to Wenderholm – 7 km + 1 km

Relaxing in my private terrace at the Puhoi Pub Hotel. I was the only guest and they let me hang around all day.
Relaxing in my private terrace at the Puhoi Pub Hotel. I was the only guest and they let me hang around all day.
Mussel fritters and a local cider for dinner in Puhoi.
Mussel fritters and a local cider for dinner in Puhoi.

The barkeep Sean has just asked if I met the ghost in room 7, he carries his head in his hands and has a bad case of flatulence. Whoever my ghost visitor was, he was friendly – and healing.

Since departure is not until 4:30, I took a room and it was the best decision. I took two, loooong hot baths, hung out on this huge covered veranda in a fluffy bathrobe, tried every local beer and cider and generally rested my body and spirit – not too mention finished my next audio narrative.

Sean also told me don’t rush, enjoy your stay and has allowed me to just be in this beautiful place. It works for them as there are no other guests in the hotel – except the ghost – but still, there’s an incredible generosity that has made me emotional to the point of tears. Even Judy the housekeeper who walked in on me early this morning when I had my isolating headphones on, said just stay and enjoy, that she would get to my room later.

The tide pushed my kayak right up the gorgeous Waikare Estuary.
hike blog

TA Day 11, Paihia to Waikare – 13 km + 3 km

The day dawns damp and chilly. Our tent city at the Pickled Parrot spreads out now over couches and picnic tables to dry, most everyone is on their phones, others making choices about whether to move on or stay a few more days.

The reason is because some have swollen feet, blisters, a Rorschach test of sandfly bites scratched to bleeding. I feel fine and just look around in amazement at the luxury of a hostel.

Spending most of my young adult years chasing a flute career, I never did the ‘gap year’ backpack through Europe. Though one January, years ago, Richard and I were stuck in Santiago due to civil strife and got to know a hostel really well. But mostly, I’m inexperienced.

The babes of the Pickled Parrot.
The babes of the Pickled Parrot.
The Pacific Ocean feels glorious on my tired feet.
The Pacific Ocean feels glorious on my tired feet.

Everyone is lovely with Bluff, another 1,800 km ahead, as their goal – Dutch, Australian, French, Belgian, Polish, but no Americans yet. Three of us will kayak later today. The time is specific so the tide will push us up the estuary rather than pull us back to sea.