After bidding farewell to Nick, Mike and Amy who went their separate ways, we explored Wanganui.

At the Information Centre, a model of the landscape tackled gave perspective to the past seven days blogging and storytelling.  The friendships made and conversations had, have been enriching.  The bodies weary yet ready to attack the next bit so as to end the North Island part of the Te Araroa Walk at Wellington, only a three-hour drive away.

There was a large road walking section of the TA to Palmerston North, however, for us we had made the decision to hitch to Levin and enter the Tararua from there.  It wasn’t long after Ben the owner of the Wanganui Top 10 got us out onto the main highway, we were soon picked up by Malcolm who drove us all the way.

A stop off first to meet his parent-in-laws whereby we also met his wife and daughter, and were offered lunch.  Malcolm used to reside in Wanganui as a builder before moving to Tauranga to start over, re-invent themselves.  With his wife, they now own a ‘Gap Year’ programme offering students life skills so as to prepare them for the wider world.  There was synergy in the conversation as it was in tune with our Outaskool Teenage School Holiday programmes that we used to own and operate.  Except there’s was on a larger annual global scale.

Even more exciting was the fact that Malcolm used to contract to the Department of Conservation during his time living in Wanganui.  He was responsible for the construction and maintenance of all the DOC huts and facilities along the Wanganui River we had just paddled and used.  Our chatting time finished prematurely when we arrived into Levin.

The hitch hiking rides have been just as enriching us making our way down the island under our own steam.

Meeting his in-laws, just as heartening.