Labour Weekend Trip - Thursday 20 October 2016 to Monday 24 October 2016 (5 days)

Photo Gallery - Uta Machold

Having the luxury of 3.5 days to cover the 48km Cape Reinga Walkway meant we were able to do a few side excursions and really explore the area.

Before we started off there was a suggestion of summiting Maungapiko Hill. Larry remembered this from his youth as a climb providing excellent views. Unfortunately, as we approached the area we noticed a sign with no public access. It was then onto Te Horo Beach. With the tide being in this proved an arduous walk and a short while later Catherine led us up and over the dunes and onto a lovely track just behind the dunes that took us all the way past Paranoa Swamp, then onto the excellent bridge and boardwalk and onto the beach side of the Waitahora Lagoon. The track ascended to give excellent views back to Te Horo Beach, Spirits Bay, the lagoon and swamp. Our lunch stop was at the Pandora Campsite - excellent shelter and with a good water supply. With our group of 12 and one or two of us with heavy packs we decided this would be our stop for the night, allowing time to explore the area. Some of us managed to access private beaches over Ngaupoko Rocks, others collected mussels on the point while others explored the rocks pools and waterfall above the camp site.

Day 2 started with a 4-wheel drive track behind the campsite and heading for Te Paki Summit. This was a slight detour so we missed what appeared to be a new track that crossed the Whangakea stream of the actual walkway. Doc appears to have this on their online maps but on phone topo maps....never mind!! We left our packs at a junction and Julia kindly offered to keep watch while we summited Te Paki. A good side trip, rarely used, except to reach communication towers. The trig was overgrown and without views but the return walk afforded us good views of our destination of Cape Maria van Diemen and the Western coast of Cape Reinga. Joining back onto the main walkway we backtracked to explore a lookout over some cliffs and could see back to where we started our trip at Spirits Bay campsite. Again this side trip was mainly overgrown and rarely used except for plenty of pig activity!!

Back onto the walkway and heading to Tapotupotu Bay campsite. The track followed the ridge line and we had excellent views of the rocky coastline. After dropping down to Tapotupotu stream we crossed using a boardwalk. We arrived mid afternoon giving some of us a chance for a swim. Our group grew at Tapotupotu Bay with the addition of Edith, a local school teacher from Kawakawa.

Day 3 was our longest day. We started earlier with a steep climb - up and down, up and down then up to Cape Reinga, filtered drinking water, flush toilets, plenty of tourists and the lighthouse. We headed off to Te Werahi Beach, an easier walk with the low tide. The track was marked well, crossing the mouth of the Te Werahi Stream and a good stop for lunch. Then suddenly we had what seemed like copious numbers of trampers, mostly those starting their long long Te Araroa journey of over 3000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Apparently October is the recommended month to start the trail and we were fortunate to meet a number from Israel, Germany, Canada and America. Off we went across Herangi Hill, a very different landscape of desert like red sands, to our next side trip which was Cape Maria van Diemen. This was well used and a must see. Walking across windswept dunes with what were apparently flax snail shells seemed unique. Up to the Cape Maria van Diemen lighthouse then taking a break to watch the merging of the Pacific and Tasman Seas. Back on a well walked track heading to Twilight beach, at low tide, we were happy to reach Twilight campsite and shelter after a long day. Once we were settled in the campsite housed about 30 tents, some with 2 and 3 people per tent.

Day 4 was an early start as we headed over Scott Point and dropped down onto Ninety Mile beach then a short walk to Te Paki Stream.

Te Paki stream was a surprise to some of us as it had changed its course and looked very different, even completely dried up midstream. We were told, and could see the tour buses struggling to access the beach via the stream due to the soft sand. A quick walk up the stream got us to the Te Paki Stream road end, time for some dune surfing while waiting for big blue to collect us.

A very enjoyable trip with great company.

Trip members: Tina Jacques, Larry Beard, Uta Machold, Catherine Doyle, Simon Rainger, Dennis Brown, Philippa Geary, Karen Manning, Dave Best, Julia Huang, Lynda Langridge, Edith Davies

Scribe: Kathy Engelbrecht