We left our beautiful spot after our stuff had more or less dried in the wind.

We had to take a 15km detour today since the next part of the trail which was supposed to bring us to the Herakino Forest was closed due to logging. So we got on the road and were desperate to get a ride. We had calculated that we would need to be entering the forest latest at 10am to safely make it out during daylight. We had an estimate of 8h for 15km in the bush. With 10h of daylight challenging already. So the additional road walking didn’t help. We got a lift for about 2km, but the rest needed to be walked. We arrived at the forest at 10.10am.

We did a first steep climb to the highest peak for today. Surprisingly the trail was in rather good conditions. Not to slippery and wet.

But also today we were expecting tougher terrain after all the stories. We wanted to stop for a good break on top but just when we took down our packs a heavy shower went over us and soaked us. We were immediately wet and cold due to the wind on the ridge. So we kept going without food. Already after 12pm. We also had to put on a layer of thermals underneath our rain jackets. It was just to cold. First time for me. I guess the winter is really coming now.
We continued through the bush and the track had its muddy parts.

But overall not to bad. Besides a few bits of bush bashing today. So there was also time to think. This was the last bit of bush on the TA. The last hills. The last time mud. The last time steep and slippery slopes. Very exciting and promising. But sad as well.
This trail and life has so become my comfort zone already. It’s amazing. You would think it is tiring and awful to go through this. And it is partly. Packing up in the rain, being wet, having a wet tent to crawl in at night… But at the end of the day you know there is always some warm food and (hopefully) a dry sleeping bag in a sheltered tent. You lay down and rest and next morning you are good to go again. Walk, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. It’s easy and limited and you know what to do. I am a little bit scared to leave my new comfort zone again. Many people encounter so called “post trail depressions” when they stop ?

But for now it’s rather time to look forward to. I wish I could walk to the lighthouse at Cape Reinga five times in a different way. I would love to walk up their listening to AC/DC and screaming, as well as just quietly and with humility. And a few others as well. There are just so many emotions running through my body when I think about arriving at Cape Reinga…

But first we had to make it out of the Herakino Forest. A little bit more of bush.

A few more climbs and slippery parts.

River crossings.


More mud. You never know how deep it is until you are in it. Sometimes it’s firm underneath the water and sometimes you are just gone up to your knees and tights. The good thing is – once your feet are wet and muddy (usually within the first five minutes) you don’t care anymore. And you also know you can’t change it. Accept it and it’s a lot easier and more fun. There will for sure be a river to clean off or if not – it’ll dry and fall of at one point of time. So you can do what you always wanted to do as a kid – just jump into the mud ? Only annoying thing – it’s exhausting and you are always endangered to loose your shoes…

We passed the last Kauri sanctuary and had some massive trees on the way!

And then you could feel it. The bush was getting less dense and we knew we were almost out. Survived the Northland Forests. Yes, tough and rough. A few sections of pointless suffering but also many nice stretches of beautiful bush and rivers. Hard but worth doing it. Two days of thunderstorm probably didn’t help but it feel like the TA wanted to say good bye properly. I am glad we did it despite the warnings and official trail closure due to the weather.

Got out on the road at 5pm, so just in time. Rose decided to hitchhike the last 9km to Ahipara but I wanted to walk. So I started going into the sunset.

I really wanted to see the beach – 90 mile beach – after bashing through the forest.
It was hard. I had 25km on the clock already and not in easy terrain. And I received quite a few rain showers on the way. It was pitch black and the road had no shoulder. I had to take out my head torch so also cars could see me.
When I arrived in town I grabbed some fish & chips and milkshakes for us and went to the hostal. I was exhausted! After eating I went straight into the shower – just as I was. With shoes, shirt, shorts and everything. The water was brown for quite a while until the majority of the mud was washed out. The warm water felt great. We chucked the gear in a washing machine and called it a day. What a day…