Long John Cameltoe

After starting Te Araroa, there's roughly three hours with hilly, beautiful landscape combined with small beaches until you get to 90 mile beach. Really enjoyable first hours. Then you hit it.. Unshaded, sandy, right next to the ocean and the sound of smashing waves for as long as the eye can see. At first it seems quite inviting. The rest of the first day wasn't bad at all, did 20 km in total.

90 mile beach  

90 mile beach  

Pitching a non free standing tent in the dunes can be pretty difficult, even with Y-stakes. The sand just doesn't support the stakes enough and there is no stones to use either. You need to find some vegetation to stake it properly.

Start of the second day felt alright, pretty sunrise and not that sore. But this day required me to go 40 km where of the last 15 km was in search of water. Eventually ended up at the 10th dried out stream, 15 kilometers from the last one with water. My feet really hurt and sun was about to set. So I just made my way upstream for about 200 meters and found a swamp. Either that or continue 9 km to a camping spot called Utea Park at Hukatere.

Beautiful water source and clean shoes..? 

Beautiful water source and clean shoes..? 

I decided to give the water a shot and went for Steripenning (purifying) 0,5 liters of water for 1 liter time (90 sec). And I'm still alive so I guess it worked out. The water was really okay actually, it didn't taste that bad at all. Tap water in NZ is sometimes worse, tastes like a swimming pool..

Next day I started at 11:20 and got to hukatere around 13:30, taking my time. Stopped there to camel up and protect myself from the sun. Had 4 liters of water in the same amount of hours. 

Continued after refilling and had a great nights sleep in the forest past the dunes, actually slept another hour after breakfast.  

Last day on the beach I met Jabba the hut. He was a pretty nice dude..  

Jabba the hut

Jabba the hut

The sun was really burning so I burned my calfs the second day, so after Utea Park I decided to go hike in my long johns and long sleeve that I usually sleep in. Such an amazing outfit. After 30 minutes I felt the thigh chafe starting to increase. The only way to solve thigh chafe is to put something between the thighs. In this case Allan I had was the long johns, but I needed to pull them up as high as possible to avoid the chafe. Derived from this, obviously a camel toe. So there I was, hiking the 90 mile beach in a pair of Long Johns with my package split up in two...

Señor Long John Cameltoe

Señor Long John Cameltoe

At last I arrived in Ahipara holiday park at the southern end of the beach and took half a day of, doing some light laundry, yoga beneath a tree in the breeze and just sorting my gear out, trying to brush of the sand. 

Yes, I changed before entering Ahipara.. 

The hitchhiker

Arrived in Bay of islands Sunday 27th, still hungover after an underground metal night in Auckland, went to the release party of Setentias new album. The total opposite of Dvbbs at Hakkasan in Vegas. Amazing contrasts and an awesome night!

Got my Poste Restante stuff separated from my hiking gear and went for a whole rack of ribs. Just managed a half rack and brought the other half for breakfast.

After having ribs for breakfast I handed over my last remnants of civilization to Poste Restante and set out to find a hitch to Cape Reinga. First hitch of my life and feeling a bit awkward about it, sitting by the road with a white pizza cardboard stating 'CAPE REINGA' with black permanent marker filled as good as I managed. 20 minutes in a brand new Toyota Corolla stopped, I thought the ones picked up hitchhikers were stoned people with trucks and doubtable morale. In this case though, it was a danish couple called Niels and Rikke and it turned out to be the first time they picked up a hitchhiker as well. Double premiere!

Niels and Rikke were super nice and they had spent their last 9 years in Greenland! A place a definitely need to visit. And now they're travelling around the entire world for 10 months. Totally cool. They were also heading the whole way to Cape Reinga, 220km in the same way as me. I guess I'd call it a lucky shot! And perhaps the first trail angels I met, even without them knowing it. The last stretch towards the Cape, they played Coldplay - Adventure of a lifetime, and cheesy as it is, we agreed the song was kind of appropriate for the moment. 

Rikke, happy hiker and Niels at Cape Reinga  

Rikke, happy hiker and Niels at Cape Reinga  

We ended up in Cape Reinga on a partly cloudy, partly sunny afternoon and I started my hike towards Bluff at 14:30, Monday 2016-11-28.

Hikerpreps

So there's been a lot of preparation activities going on since I arrived in Auckland this Thursday. Thought I just post something regarding that. Some may be useful to other NZ hikers. 

1. Phone   - Since I'll be here for four months, the easiest way is to get a prepaid New Zealand phone number. I got mine from Vodafone including 3,5GB data, unlimited NZ texts and 150 minutes of NZ calls, one month for $40. Didn't find anything cheaper with that much data (which is what I want), so I guess we're spoiled in Sweden when it comes to data rates. 

This means that I'll be able to FaceTime and Snapchat as soon as I have service! 😬 

2. Maps  - So this is a tricky one. Apparently Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) uses 50000:1 and 250000:1 maps. But the 50k ones are small and will not cover more than maximum one day of hiking, meaning I would need to buy about 150 maps before reaching Bluff..

The 250k is not in store at any retailer in Auckland and there were a bit of a struggle to order with the two shops I tried out. One of them could do it but wouldn't receive them until Wednesday and I don't want to wait until then just to get maps. 

But then I heard that a common way to do with maps is to download them from the Te Araroa Trust (TAT) website and print them on regular A3/A4. TAT reommends A3 for better topographic overview but I went for A4 since it's cheaper to print, lighter and I have the 'Topo GPS' on my phone and I just bought a killer powerbank of 18000 mAh, so juice won't be an issue. Link below to the downloadable topographic maps of TA

 http://www.teararoa.org.nz/downloads/

I will evaluate the A4 printed maps concept until I reach Bay of islands. If I like it I'll continue using it. 

If interested in knowing where I am or where I'm going, you could also check out the maps!

3. Transfer to Cape Reinga  - Easy one, just talk to your hostel/hotel receptionist and they'll help you out with the booking for the first regional bus to Bay of Islands (Paihia). When you arrive you will go book your local small bus all the way to Cape Reinga. You could do the booking by your own as well. 

4. Poste Restante  - Sounds easy. You just buy a cardboard box in the size you need. NZ post has sizes from 1-5 and will of course charge you differently depending on size. I'll go for a size 5 (500x410x295mm) and hopefully make it below 10kg. There will be three pair of shoes, batteries, flight bag for my backpack and some regular clothes. I brought some regular clothes for my US stay and those weigh a lot!!! Another option is to scrap the clothes, but I'll try to fit them in below 10kg. 

So you just pay the regular rate for sending your parcel, first week you get free storage and then you pay (up to) $2,50 a week to store your parcel if it weighs more than 2kg.

Checkout link below to calculate rates for your parcel

 https://www.nzpost.co.nz/tools/rate-finder/sending-nz/parcels

Just need to make sure I'll arrive at the post office when it's open. A lot of post offices are closed during the weekends.  

5. Remaining gear  - Just got a nice Icebreaker 'cool lite t-shirt'. Blend of merino wool and tencel. Really cool and comfy. Will also match great with my OR backcountry boardshorts! And hiking is all about style...

Got some dry bags, 2x64Gb memory card for my camera, NZ charger, Steripen adventurer opti (104 grams!) for water purification and a Swiss mobility 18000 mAh power pack, mad mAh per gram ratio! Now I'm all set in terms of gear. Will post my complete gear list later on. 

Gear list complete

Gear list complete

6. Hikerfood  - New Zealand (or at least Countdown in Auckland, Victoria street) has nuts and seeds on bulk! Amazing! Trying it out. Prepped some nuts and porridge yesterday. Got to post a snack square!

First NZ snack square. Will keep me going for a couple of days.  

First NZ snack square. Will keep me going for a couple of days.  

Bought some freeze dried food from a brand called 'back country cuisine'. Roughly the same prices as Sweden, probably same taste as well... got 2 serves instead of single serves. Will hopefully allow me to go on 'just' 4 müsli bars a day! 

Also found some aged cheddar, looks similar to the black bomber from wales, hope it tastes similar too!!!

That's all for now, time to go get some spare batteries for my Steripen and a lighter jar for my coconut oil! Then pack it all up, cause tomorrow I will go to bay of islands and on Monday I'll start my hike at Cape Reinga.

H Y P E D ! !