Te Araroa Trail – Mangamuka Dairy
I woke at 6.15am after a great night’s sleep. Anja and Markus were up and out early again and I spent a little longer packing up before hitting the trail for day eight.
Bruce was still getting himself together so I toddled off for the first 6kms of road walk which led to the famed Mangamuka dairy. The Mangamuka dairy is legendary amongst the Te Araroa community (and I’m sure all it’s other patrons) by virtue of it’s wonderful hosts, amazing hot takeaway food and ice-creams, assortment of other goodies, and the fact that it reminds trampers that after the horror of Ratea forest – friendly civilisation is only 6 short kilometers away. They do offer a few beds as well, if you manage to get out of Ratea early enough.
We had been dreaming about arriving here for most of yesterday, but to our horror as I walked up to it, I could see a group of people outside… IT WAS CLOSED!!!
Thankfully only a minute later a door opened and some Te Araroa hikers who had overnighted there, informed us that the shop and takeaway would open shortly. This was the dairy’s first Saturday of the summer season, thank goodness! In total, eight of us TA’ers enjoyed hot chocolate, toasties, bacon and egg muffins, croissants, soft drinks, ice creams and a water refill.
Eliza our host was charming, super helpful and a great cook!
We stayed for an hour or so then started the road walk to Apple Dam campsite. Our group today consisted of Anja and Markus (German), Reka & Dan (Hungarian), with Bruce (Kiwi) and Luzia (German – carrying a ukulele) a few hours behind us.
We reached Apple Dam by 1pm and continued through my favourite section of Te Araroa trail so far – 2.5kms through the Mangapukahukahu river.
Mangapukahukahu River – Our First River Walk
The river is only navigable in clear weather and low water, so with our good weather window we hit it just right!
The beautiful walk up the river cleaned our muddy shoes and was refreshing for our hot feet! The river level was mostly ankle to knee deep water with a couple of thigh-high sections.
This was NZ tramping at its finest.. The often steep-sided river gorge was dripping with ferns and trees of all sizes. We saw kingfishers, tuis and parakeets! We made camp in beautifua l spot in the trees at 4.45pm just after the junction with Waipapa river – my favourite wild campsite yet.
Bruce and Luzia came along later. Most of us enjoyed a little skinnydip in the river at some point during the evening to cool down and wash off (the first of many on Te Araroa trail). I had the company of an eel for my swim! After dinner, we slowly drifted off to sleep, listening to the sounds of the forest.