Nov 1 day 62 Waikanae to Paekakariki 21 km 10:00-3:00
The Otaki Hotel is not the quietest place on earth. There were people and dogs bumping and thumping all night, and I definitely did not need to set an alarm. The place was rocking at 4:30 am, half the town came in for the game and then breakfast. I naively was looking forward to morning coffee, but ended up with morning pints. The game was a classic, and the Otaki crowd was fun. Leo and Remi, my French hiking friends, were there too, so we had the foreigners table, but the guys running it took good care of us. After the game, we caught the bus to Waikanae to rejoin the trail. We had to cut off a section as it was just about impossible to get a ride back to Otaki Forks. Most of that section was on the road anyway. Leo, Remi, and I followed the TA along the river, then crossed for a swamp hike, but this one was all on elevated footpaths. Beautiful scenery took us right to the ocean (Tasman sea). Stopped for lunch in the beach town of Paraparaumu where they had shipped some equipment. As we looked for a cafe, a car stopped and let out Cory, who had stayed behind but then hitched all the way to Paraparaumu. They stayed on there, and I hiked down the beach another 10 km to the campground at Paekakariki. It is the Kapiti coast, so beach all the way down and you could see Kapiti island. At the town there was a large swimming, paddle board competition going on, which was fun to watch. Walked to the other end of town to the small village street and had an excellent meal at Finn’s Restaurant. I really need to top up as I expended many more calories crossing the Tararuas than I consumed (had almost no food in my bag when I got to Otago– will need to plan more carefully on South Island). They also specialize in craft beers which were also excellent. Was great to have a leisurely day after the physical and technical rigors of the Tararua Range. Only a few days out of Wellington and the transition to the South Island.