We continued to follow the river as it meandered through bush-covered hills, stretching the legs at the Mangawaiiti Campsite. DOC have done extremely well to provide areas to rest the head on the shoreline banks; this one was perched high above the river. A shelter to cook during inclement weather; rain water is collected for patron usage; and the long drop loos with plastic toilet seat for bum comfort. Remember to take fly spray so as to not only sweeten the smell of poos and wees; it’s also handy to knock out the beasties that are attracted to the exposed parts of skin around the lower mid-drift.
Another place we got to stretch the legs was when we arrived at the Mangapurua Landing. This is where old riverboats used to tie up to let off passengers who lived or visited the Mangapurua Valley farm settlements. We took a walk up to the Bridge to Nowhere – a poignant reminder of how returning World War 1 Soldiers were granted land to recognise their contribution to the cause. They carved out farms from the harsh terrain only to have landslides break their resolve. Many walked off the land; the remaining forced off as the riverboat frequency dried up. The bridge was constructed during the times in preparation for a proposed road from the top end of the valley.
It never eventuated and hence today, a bridge to nowhere.
Today’s journey concluded some 29 kms further down the river at the Lodge campsite, Ramanui. Directly across from us was Tīeke Kāinga campsite, one of the many old pā on the river and where more of the day’s paddlers ended up. Them and us – with just a bit of water bridging us in-between.
At least everyone was somewhere they needed to be.