Roads, Rain Come with Manawatu Terrain, Te Araroa Trail, NZ

326kms to Wellington on the Te Araroa Trail; so close, so far. We’ve walked 1374kms without too many issues but we are finding our bodies these last few kms require a little more nurturing. Physically, psychologically. The trail now encompasses many more roads with some busy highways and heavy rain accompanies our journey. 

Whanganui Youth Hostel provided hospitality and respite from the trail. A chance to rest and allow John’s feet to heal; blisters and recurrent foot pain. We are determined to finish in Wellington but our trail maybe modified to allow for ease in daily kms walked and where accommodation provides shelter from expected heavy rainfalls. 

Notes from the trail – diary : Whanganui to Bulls via Marton. 

326 kms to go. So close, so far. 

How will my knees fare? They are tired. Will John’s blisters heal by tomorrow or the next? Will his foot, giving grief for so long, be rested enough for continuing? 

Will the bad weather predicted for the coming weekend and into next week cause consternation? 

We face the uncertainty?  We drink coffee!  

This trail; Te Araroa, Aeoteoroa, this long pathway trail is certainly ‘not a walk in the park’. 

Weather: hot cold wet windy misty. 

Track conditions rough, demanding, smooth. Hills, mountains, rivers, streams, beaches, farmland, roads and more roads; sealed, unsealed, dusty, rocky. 

We’ve been blessed so far. Solutions to issues have always presented themselves when we’ve gone looking for them. We are looking now and considering options. 

Meanwhile we drink coffee. 

Notes from the trail – diary : Bulls to Fielding

It rained most of the walk down back country roads from Bulls to Fielding ; more heavily the last 6kms which did not stop us lunching beneath large trees on the side of the road that provided a modicum of shelter as we ate avocado, red capsicum and vita wheat cracked pepper biscuits with cream cheese. Hardly noticed the large drips from between the overhead leaves or the spray from occasional cars tearing round the country road. The countryside is lush and green over rolling and folding landforms. Mostly cattle farms with some sheep. Inquisitive bulls rushed then gathered along a fence to stare our progress. They didn’t like my singing. They took off somewhat startled. What a laugh we had. 
Mt Lees Reserve. Beautiful little park with a small rotunda with a seat. Morning coffee, boil the billy, serve with choc biscuits beneath the wonderful large oak and other deciduous trees. Three geese entertained. 

Second beautiful thing of the day

The first was a cuddle. 

Despite the rain, we enjoyed this day’s walk. We talked the walk with future plans. 


Bridge Motor Lodge and Caravan Park

I am distracted                                                             I am hot                                                               Humidity, rain                                                          And more rain is promised

Bulls                                                                               A motor lodge                                                               A cabin                                                                              No frills                                                                        No utensils in the kitchen                                    But pots and crockery                                                A stove top                                                              And an assortment of dilapidated microwaves

We ate                                                                              We ate well                                                   Especially silverbeet                                              Bulls supermarket was vegetable depleted       But it had silverbeet

We indulged a plateful each with tuna and rice and vegetables                                                        And potatoes with sour cream                            We ate with relish                                                       Not the pickle variety but with gusto                                                We were hungry after our day’s walk in the rain

It is hot and humid in this camper’s lounge. With a tv that sports the rugby               Between the Blues and Highlander’s                    Thank goodness for the rugby                   Saturday TV is a reduced affair peppered with adverts that are excruciating 

So I read, with an eye on the game             C’mon Highlander’s at Blues Eden Park      They won                                                           

One could feel sad, or down                                  In this nondescript place away from comfort                Homesick, which we are, but we are not sad or down                                                                                    We have nice wine and each other                    And a purpose 

Enroute to Wellington 

We are troopers of the highest calibre Determined, dogged                                                To complete this North Island Te Araroa trail

We will take some alternative routes                With shorter daily distances                                     To encompass sore feet                                               But determination will get us there nonetheless 

1434kms on this TA trail…266 to go!

How awesome
I can see Wellington                                                  Close to John’s birthday on the 26th               And Kate and Chris and my cousin Julia

Then it’s Nelson                                                  Where John’s sisters and friends await. Nelson, my home town 

John is planning                                                           John has been awesome in planning              This journey of journeys                                     This epic journey                                                        

John writes, with downloaded maps and the app                                                                      Our projected schedule                                               As I while my time                                               With a book half heartedly read, sudoku, the rugby and these recordings

Just notes recording this slow or drab wet day      A day In amongst days of highlights                But included nonetheless                                   With gratitude  

Not many drab days                                                          This must be a first                                                          However we are not in a tent                                    On this wet wet day                                                      But In a cabin in a bed that is clean                 With power points to charge batteries

Much of Northland is experiencing Unprecedented rain with massive flooding

Areas we’ve walked through and enjoyed on our Te Araroa travel. 

Palmerston North appears on the horizon        2 days away                                                        Where cousins await to greet and shelter our while                                                                           We look forward to kind hospitality       Familial and precious 

Notes from The Trail: Palmerston North jottings

Cafe Cuba 
Features wall paraphernalia                               Che Guevara                                                           Fidel Castro.                                                             The draped Cuban flag.                                 ‘Havana Splendid’                                                 And posters advertising ‘impossibly gorgeous dancers’                                                            Maximo de Cuba

I ponder                                                                    Over good coffee.                                         Memories of our Cuban experience, two years ago,                                                                              On this wet, wet Palmerston North morning. This cafe harbour                                                       In the Square of the city                                        On our Te Araroa trail

Reading the Dominion                                   Amidst savoury scone crumbs                             Of ‘released secret US files of prime minister Muldoon’                                                                     Of a ‘frustrated country filled with testosterone fueled working class men…’ ‘Muldoon’s weakness for the rude retort gets him in trouble with some New Zealanders’ so too, says the report

Of a mighty fine tribute to Murray Ball Cartoonist extraordinaire               humanitarian                                                 Provider of backdrop political satire                   In our ‘growing up years’ in 1970’s NZ                Creator of Dog and Wal                                 Footrot Flats and so much more

Of ‘The Value of positive failure’ says another article                                                                      Each failure a step closer to success                 The benefits are far reaching                               It’s the positive learning from the demise of failure                                                               Spurring 

Depends on your mental alacrity                           I think                                                                   Failure or a succession of failure, is crushing for some                                                                      So too, physical weariness                            Physical breakdown                                             Life-knocks                                                          Worn, fatigued                                                         Age can bring hesitation                                  Easier to live with mediocrity 

Choices.                                                                     Age can also recognise                                          The dictum ‘use it or lose it’                      Engaging in New.                                          Breathes oxygen into sedentary comfortableness.                                                        To live life                                                                Fully                                                               Embracing new challenges

Despite perceived ‘failure’
Youthfulness is not just for the young              But the for the young-in-learning               Anew                                                                Renewing                                                                 New skills perchance                               Continuing a life long learning of life upon life

Brings colour to the cheeks and a spark to the eyes                                                                                To ‘talk the walk’                                  Conversation, discussion                      Connection                                                                 An attitude that breathes deeply                          Of life lived                                                                 In fullness                                                 Engagement

At Cafe Cuba                                                              The coffee was good                                               The generous sized muffin and scone delicious  The decor a little memory trip                           And the Wellington ‘rag’                                  More food for thought                                        More jottings on the trail                                         In this refuge from the rain                                  On the corner of Cuba & George                          ‘In Palmy’ so say the locals. 

Palmerston North 

What a pleasure to stay with cousins Chrissie and Jeff who have welcomed us into their home. Also to have cousins Judy and John Bark travel from Havelock North to spend a day with us, means a great deal. 

John, Judy, Nancy John
Celebrating Jeff’s birthday with Chrissie at Brew Union in Palmerston North

Without NZ family and friends to connect with, we realise our epic journey would be a much harder journey. 

Spending weeks alone travelling the length of the North Island has drawn much to our attention;  particularly that our lives are enriched by the love of family and friends.  We knew this at the onset but distance reinforces the deeper meaning of what is important in life. 

Tomorrow we head to Back Track and Burtons Track and camping under the stars. The weather man promises sunshine!  We’re reached 1498kms…we pass 1500kms tomorrow!  200 kms to Wellington. 


5 thoughts on “Roads, Rain Come with Manawatu Terrain, Te Araroa Trail, NZ

  1. Hey you two, we’ve just caught up with the latest. You’ve finished and on Johns birthday!! What courage and commitment you two have shown. Wow, trust that you now are with family and friends in Nelson enjoying some hospitality of a more luxurious kind. Well done, our love and blessings once agin.

    Janice and Terry

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Nancy & John. You are so close; hang in there. have been very concerned in the last few days as you struggled with the weather, so unexpected at this time of the year. And hope your feet are ok John. Just a few more km and you’ll have achieved this wonderful goal: epic!!!
    Do you have somewhere to stay in Wgtn? Son Scott & family would welcome you in Ngaio I’m sure. Do you know when you might be there? I will be there Fri 24th for the weekend. Would be wonderful to welcome you in.much love, one step at a time, nearly there.xx


  3. Congratulations to you both. On the home stretch now, less distance than a 5 dams ride. Good luck, god speed & a safe conclusion to this epic journey.


  4. Wow, 200 k to go can you see the end now?
    I remember when Keith and Debby walked John o groats to Lands end how,towards the end, so,near so far, they tired, took a little ill, Debby gave up one day then was OK the next.
    I think,the last bit seems to be the hardest as you are tired and maybe sore, but you will make it and then enjoy some rest!
    Sending you love and strength


Comments are closed.