Start: Parawai Lodge (1,515km)
Finish: Oharui Valley Road (1,595km)
Distance for the day: 80km
Cumulative distance: 1,595km
Today’s objective was to get as close to as possible to Wellington, the finish point of the North Island. We made the decision last night, based on careful interrogation of the weather forecasts, to set our Cook Strait departure time as 1pm on Saturday. There seems to be a near perfect weather window which we need to pounce on and, although the timings are tight, the whole exercise has the potential to be super slick and very time efficient – which of course I like.
I started at 7.30am this morning, 30 minutes later than intended, because my alarm clock didn’t go off – again! However I woke up naturally and felt very refreshed which wasn’t such a bad thing. The only real challenge in today’s schedule was the last little part of the Tararua Range which came first; a forest climb up to Pukeatua at 812metres, and then back down the other side. It was fine if a little slow. The views looking back towards the main range were incredible, making the exercise seem worthwhile. From there the running for the rest of the day was gently undulating on a mixture of tarmac, beach and mutli-use trail, so it was all fast.
The highlight was unquestionably the weather for the long coastal section – clear blue skies and a fresh breeze. It was a pretty heavenly setting, although the temptation was to curl up in the long grass next to the dunes and have a little snooze although I managed to resist.
The final section over the Colonial Knob Track from Porirua was incredibly special, with the spectacle of a beautiful sunset and clear views across to the mountains of the South Island, and of course the Cook Strait which is tomorrow’s objective. I actually felt quite emotional stopping and taking it in for a moment; I don’t think I have witnessed a more beautiful setting, but perhaps that was because it was such a poignant moment for me at the end of my long 24 day journey down the North Island.
|A special moment, a sunset overlooking the Cook Strait and South Island. All happening tomorrow....|
And I nearly forgot, I also passed through the halfway milestone (1,527km) late morning today. The exciting moments are coming thick and fast at the moment, and everything is moving so quickly it’s actually quite hard to take it all in.
|James' stats wall in the van. 50% complete - happy days|
So the plan for tomorrow is to complete the 28km to the North Island finish point in Wellington, then hop on a bike for 11km to Makara Beach ready for a lunchtime launch of the sea kayaks to make the crossing of the Cook Strait. We will head straight for Cook Monument – the get-out point on the South Island - where we will camp for the night before I set off on Sunday for the first of the South Island sections along the famous Queen Charlotte track.