Te Araroa Trail towards Wellington
I had a late start this morning and slept until 6.45am. I enjoyed a lazy breakfast and left Camp Elsdon around 8.30am. The great thing about staying here, is that it’s right on Te Araroa trail, so I started immediately up a pretty steeply climbing track to Colonial Knob. This is Porirua’s ‘Hakarimata Steps’ comprising lots of stairs through a beautiful forest, before opening up to an exposed hillside with an elevation of 468m.
Today was pretty overcast and not too hot, and the views from the top were amazing! I could see all the way back to Plimmerton, Porirua and over to the Wellington hills. There was a big wind farm on the neighbouring peaks. Apparently on a clear day you can see all the way North to Mount Taranaki and South to the Kaikoura ranges! It was very windy though, and I donned my raincoat for a bit of windproofing.
Spicer Forest and Beyond
The trail led down to Spicer Forest, before hitting Ohariu Road, for approximately 5kms. It wasn’t a bad road walk, but a road walk all the same. I looked at the beautiful mountains to the side of me and hoped for future Te Araroa trail walkers that the land owners grant access over them one day. I watched some sheep dogs herd sheep over the mountains to the West. It very cool to watch from a distance how they all work together and how quickly they can get all the sheep from one place to the next!
I lunched at an equestrian centre, where they sold chippies, soft drinks and chocolate. I partook of all three and spent an hour in their lovely garden. Back on trail again, and another short road walk led to a trail up Mount Kaukau 445m, overlooking the Wellington suburb of Johnsonville.
It was super windy at the top. From here the trail took the Skyline Track across the exposed ridge. The wind was so strong I could hardly walk!! It blew me around so much I was literally being buffeted all ways across the pathway. Luckily the path was nice and wide.. I would have been hilarious to watch!
The trail eventually descended into the Bell Track and into the suburb of Ngaio. My Airbnb place was just off the trail.
Talk about money well spent! My lovely host Tory showed me around my home for the night, with a lovely bedroom overlooking the garden & mountains. I made a cuppa and indulged in 3 of the 4 gorgeous little cakes which Tory had left, and I then had the best shower of the trail so far.
What makes a good shower?
This is something most people take for granted, but one thing about Te Araroa, is that it makes you appreciate the small things 🙂
- Actually ‘having’ a shower – as opposed to having nothing, having a sink, or having a small stream in the forest
- Hot water – often they’re not
- Free. Ok I’ve paid for my shower tonight, but I didn’t have to get change beforehand then drop coins in a box for it
- Good water pressure – amazing
- Smellies included – gorgeous, luxurious shower gel & moisturiser – I haven’t had this since Ngaruawahia
- Time – often, camp ground showers are metered for 4 or 6 mins. Plus in a cold water scenario, you want to get it over with asap!
I had purchased a razor in Porirua in preparation for what I hoped would be such a magnificent experience. I will enter our nation’s capital tomorrow smelling amazing, and looking like more like a lady with lovely soft, hair free, moisturised legs!
Dinner tonight was a magnificent curry and a beer mmmmm… I’m looking forward to having a sleep-in, in my lovely bed tomorrow. Of course I’ll probably wake up at 5am as usual, but it’ll be nice to have a large fresh bed to luxuriate in for a couple of hours.