November 15, 2016
km traveled today: skipped city walking via train
total TA km: will start after city at Hunua Falls (km 672)
We woke up at a lazy seven o’clock roused from our cozy beds by Miles announcing breakfast. A wonderful breakfast spread lay in front of us. Bacon, eggs, bagel, toast, and hash browns meant that we had little time to talk so we could focus our attention on eating. Inhaling our breakfasts we turned to repacking our backpacks.
Three of us packed quickly, ready to start our day and explore Auckland just a bit more in the overcast drizzle. But Jasper decided he’d like to take his time, so he neatly folded and placed each of his items to the side of his bag so that he could refold them and lay them properly in his backpack. We set aside a couple of items to be sent to Wellington, most important of those being the tarptent. Happily we all said good bye to it and we each packed away a new piece of the MSR hubba hubba tent. At about 10:45, Jasper had finished packing and we were ready to go.
As if all of their hospitality hadn’t been enough, Sheryl offered to drive us to the train station. She dropped us off and we tried to thank her and Miles but she just said that it was no problem.
With our backpacks on we wandered the streets of Auckland, trying to find a secondary meths burner without any luck. At noon, we needed a snack to tide us over till south Auckland so we got lamb kebabs. Realizing how hungry we were, we devoured the kebabs and then headed towards the train. We had to sprint to make the train but we got on it. An hour train ride to papakura meant that I passed out immediately. We headed up the stairs to meet our new host, Penny.
Penny took us back to her house and we met her husband Jeff. She then took us to pack ‘n save, a grocery store, where we outfitted for three and a half days.
We came back to her house and talked for a while about the cool things coming up in our travels and how to be prepared for them. We also divided up the gear, and although it took way too long, we each now carry about 6kg of group gear. Food, stove, tent pieces, two plus pounds of gummies, etc. all are part of the group gear.
Dinner was spaghetti with an amazing sauce. After we talked for a while, Penny brought out the cake and ice cream. We sang Jasper happy birthday and 6:39, which truly is his birthday back home. We dug into the chocolate cake and cookies and ice cream loving every bite.
After dinner and dishes, we sat around talking and playing Wii with Penny and Jeff.
At about 8:30, we called it a night, returned to our room and sprawled out on our air mattresses, fat and happy. We have found such amazing hospitality so far. We don’t have nearly enough photos of this day to express the fun we had staying at Jeff and Penny’s. They are sweet people with an amazing set of stories to share. Immense thanks to them.