Te Araroa Trail Day 14. Russell Walkway Junction 273.6km – Helena Bay 291.4km – Waikahoa Bay doc camp (off trail)

Te Araroa Trail Miniwhangata

Te Araroa Trail “Chicken Poison day”

A day of Te Araroa trail surprises today. Apparently the unidentified bird I heard in the night was a kiwi – wow! 🙂

Today we started on a 4 wheel drive track out of the forest, which became a full road walk. Road walking is a bit tedious but at least the countryside around us was very pretty.

Anouck, Bruce and I walked to Helena Bay where we stopped to buy some fruit at a roadside stall. Several minutes later Barry, the stall owner appeared, and invited us in to fill our water bottles. We chatted for some time and he showed us around his magnificent veggie garden. We all tried mulberries from his tree (a first for me).

Te Araroa Trail Roadside stall
Te Araroa Trail Day 14 – Barry & Col’s stall

A Guided Tour

Barry asked where we were off to next and offered to give us a little tour to the local beaches and doc campsite instead. We accepted gratefully. Bruce had also heard some recommendations about this same ‘epic’ campsite. Our “off trail” detour began with a drive around the neighbourhood, and stories of Barry’s younger years.

Te Araroa Trail Miniwhangata
Te Araroa Trail Day 14 – Miniwhangata Coastal Park

Barry then dropped us off in Mimiwhangata Bay – Waikahoa Bay doc camp, which was indeed epic! Situated on a beautiful sandy beach with sweeping views up the coast and a beautiful flat field for camping. There were a couple of drop toilets and a beautiful open air shower.

Waikahoa Bay DoC Campsite – Off Trail

When we arrived, there was a school group just packing up. They had been doing their Duke of Edinburgh award. I got chatting to one of the teachers, and she grew up in Blackfield, Hampshire – a tiny village close to where I’m from in the UK.

The school group left so we had the camp all to ourselves. We set up our tents, then Bruce and I went for a dip in the sea which was surprisingly (just) bearable!! We made an early dinner with some food the school group/trail angels left us. Rolls, tomatoes, spinach chicken and mayo.

Te Araroa Trail Waikahoa Bay
Te Araroa Trail Day 14 – Swimming at Waikahoa Bay DOC camp



We enjoyed our surroundings as the sun dipped. Then the ‘fun’ began.

Te Araroa Trail Waikahoa Bay
Te Araroa Trail Day 14 – Waikahoa Bay DOC camp

The Night we Got Food Poisoned…

After dinner Bruce felt a little peaky, so he had a little lie-down before rapidly making his way to the longdrop. He proceeded to be violently ill for a good couple of hours 🙁

Anouck & I decided to go to bed at 8.30pm and then it was my turn to turn my insides out! This was an unfortunte ‘both ends’ scenario. I used a plastic bag for one end and the toilet for the other. To add to my tale of woe I had very little toilet roll 🙁 All the while, I was trying not to drop my head torch down the longdrop, nor be sick over my very expensive puffa jacket.

Bruce popped back up to join me around 10.30pm. He’d finished being sick, but now the sh*ts had kicked in for him.. We acknowledged each other, and both sat weak and groaning in our little worlds of self pity.

Worst Night Ever

Hours later I emerged out of the toilet with a distinct whiff of longdrop and puke about me.

I lay down shivering on the wooden deck immediately outside the toilets, in the dark, wracked with cramps. I eventually decided that I could make it to bed – which was a mistake. With the fastest tent exit ever… I’d had the good sense not to close any zips; I had to get up several more times but unfortunately didn’t quite make it to the loos 🙁

1.30am was my last call.. where half naked, and sobbing I desperately hoped that the others wouldn’t wake and see me in my pitiful state. Thankfully Anouck had no food poisoning, and slept through the whole night!

Aaah, the joys of Te Araroa trail..!

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