Day 1: Auckland to Twilight Camp

Km walked today: 12

Total TA km: 12

Today we began with a 7am departure from the cozy home we had established at the Auckland YHA hostel to walk to the bus station, where we would begin the first leg of our journey to Cape Reinga. A very scenic drive in the large charter bus brought us to Kerikeri (where Jasper has mailed a pair of shoes to pickup in a month). Here, we transitioned from the large bus to a smaller van, which brought us to Kaitia where we met a lovely gentleman by the name of Arthur; a local security guard and our hired pickup truck chauffeur from Kaitia to the Cape. 

Arthur was very knowledgeable and provided a detailed commentary throughout the trip, which was SUPER gorgeous! The transition of the terrain as we approached the cape was stunning, starting with sprawling grassy hills that housed countless sheep and cattle, to the vast sand dunes as we got closer. Arthur dropped us off at the Cape, we took a few pictures (the view was truly insane) and made our way to the “start” of our trail at the famous light house. 

Few pictures there with the fun sign with arrows pointing to different cities (totally my jam) and then we headed out. 

Trail starts with stunning view of ocean to your right and huge lush mountain side to the left as you walk down the trail/wooden step system. 

Then we began our walk along the beachy area (not quite 90 mile beach yet). Very pretty walk, sand pretty compact if you walk close enough to the water. The walk up and down the sandy mountains up off the beach was very tiring, but still, unlike anything I had ever seen, truly beautiful. 

Towards our final stretch of walking before Twilight Beach (our campsite for the evening) I was feeling a good deal of soreness in my shins and ankles. This was alleviated by the group playing “crush the seashell with your trekking pole” as we skirted the shore (note: this game, though fun, only distracts from the soreness and does not fully alleviate. Still, strongly recommend). Finally we reached our campsite at Twilight Beach, where we enjoyed a cold dinner that we had prepared the night before, in addition to a bit of warm couscous provided by a German couple who are serving as our neighbors this evening. 

With our tents set up and the soothing sound of the Tasman Sea crashing in the background, we are all set to wake up tomorrow at sunrise for another full day of beach walking. Very excited and thankful to be with this group of fellas. 

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