Ros and Hugh departed early for a Farmers market.

We were left with breakfast and the offer to take a row boat on the high tide to complete the estuary crossing instead of waiting for lowtide and walking it.  Jeremy who had also joint us yesterday afternoon made up the passenger list with Mike whom we rested with at the eco-camp.  It was only fair I row given both Jeremy and Mike had walked the whole way yesterday.

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The boardwalk out to our transport was constructed by Hugh.  They are such an amazing couple who welcome TA walkers into their home with hospitality above and beyond.  Perhaps Hugh using the little motor to putter us across would have been better than my zig zag rowing attempt.  But we made it and soon were off again heading south.

Negotiating electrical fences is a technique.  The lesson learnt is always approach them with caution because the zap between my legs close to the crown jewels wasn’t at all pleasant.  Jumping six feet into the air with full back pack certainly had me land on the side we need to be on.  Thank goodness, no scorch marks!

The Kauri Mountain track was the first instance we saw over a dozen fantails doing acrobatic darting and twisting around our heads.  They were just magical and so full of life.  Resting at a trig marker point, we could see the beach and Whangarei Heads in the distance that was on the to do list.  The beach walk today.  The altitude tomorrow.

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Nesting along the wildlife sanctuary were Dotterel’s and Oyster Catcher’s with baby chicks.  They were cute.  Parents pretending to be injured so we would focus on them and not the hatchlings trying to hide under the sandpaper colour of the sand.  The gradient of beach fall and dodging waves crashing onto the shore so as not to get sucked out to sea nor be attacked by feathered mothers was a fine line.

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Climbing through rocky headlands onto Ocean Beach our destination at the foot of what awaits us in the morning had us tramp passed beach folk dressed for the beach.  A group of young ones with crates of beers on ice offered a cold Speights to the idiot who stood out and not in beach attire.

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What’s another tattoo?  And shit it tasted good!

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