At one o’clock at night something scared me off. Something was screaming outside of my tent but I actually wasn’t sure if it was in or outside of my tent. I actually screamed back to scare it off but it continued. So I carefully opened the tent and used my torch. But I couldn’t see anything. At least there was nothing in my tent. I took one of my hiking poles inside the tent – just in case. I recorded the sound to find out later with Thomas what it was. Turned out it was a possum bull…
Next morning my alarm was set for six and I was very thankful for the rain which hit my tent so I had a good excuse to snooze for an hour and go back to sleep. So I packed up inside of the tent – which is quite an acrobatic spectacle and just when I wanted to go outside to take the tent down and leave the rain started again. I waited for another 15 minutes until the rain got less and hurried up to get everything packed up. I hate wet tents – not only do you have to try to get them dry during the day but you also have to carry extra weight…
Anyways, I was in a very good mood this morning. Funny how quickly you can go from down to high again – just one night of sleep. I enjoyed the trail and walking alongside the Waikato River.

Since I had to walk through high grass without an existant trail my shoes received a free cleaning from the Pirongia mud. My feet were soaking wet and my shoes were full of water but they got cleaner and cleaner with every step. Good as gold!

I continued alongside the river and on the stopbank the entire morning. Had a few encounters with cows and bulls. They are very curious and especially the bulls come up very close and follow you.

Some camper did set the right priorities! I have no clue how he did it since this peace of equipment probably fills have of his caravan ?
@ Sascha: quiet impressive for a “mobile” version, ey?

The track did not exist anymore so it was fighting through the overgrown area.

Then a few hundred meters over a race track – that’s the official trail! I wonder what happens if you arrive here during a race? Do they stop it for you with an announcement: “And now all cars come back in to let this TA tramper quickly pass…” or do you just have to wait until the race is over?


Then a 6km walk on the State Highway 1 followed. That’s really the nasty part of the trail on the North Island. It is also very uncomfortable to go in line with the direction of traffic since you don’t see what is coming… I was happy when it was over and I reached my lunch spot Mercer, also since I only had one litre of water left since I got up this morning and no water source on the way (you don’t want to drink out of the Waikato river…).

It was only a gas station, McDonalds and a cafe. I sticked to my principle not to enter a single McDonalds in NZ and made use of the cafe. After that another 2km on he highway. Auckland I am coming!!! ?

And another 12km on a stop bank until I entered the last road for today – Lyons Rd.

Just as a side note. When I entered the Rd of course a car pulled up next to me. “Are you a TA walker?” After saying yes, Steve handed me his card and said. When you pass my place give me a call you can stay with us and I will make some good food and beers for you. I am a tramper myself and take care of the TA walkers when I see them. No comment.

At the end of Lyons Road Warren picked me up and we drove back to his place. So great to see him and Thomas again after almost 3.5 month now! I also got to meet his wife Fiona and his daughter Ella. We spend a nice evening with good food, chocolate beer and caught up on the last month. Thomas helped me identifying some of my bird spottings on the trail and I went to bed extremely tired and happy after anoth