Twilight Beach Camp to Maunganui Bluff campsite.
A brisk start over undulating former sand dunes until confronted with a spectacular view down 90 Mile Beach. Thankfully I am not north bound (NOBO in TA parlance) as the extensive wooden staircase would be a killer at the 2,885 km mark.
And so to the beach…..,. all 90km of it. It is best to walk on the hard packed sand, so tidal timing is everything. Unfortunately high tide wad mid morning so I took a two hour rest stop at Te Paki stream to allow the tide to turn. Two other south bound walkers caught me up there. We’d met at the first campsite, all equally surprised to meet other TA walkers this late in the season. Ian and Nicola ate both planning to hike to Wellington, and are already trying to convince me of the merits of such a plan. Ian has already completed the South Island portion, so he counts as a TA veteran!
However, as I write this and contemplate my first blisters in over 3,000km of caminos, making it off the beach seems like a very significant initial goal! Walking on the sand is brutal, and use of boots, barefeet and sandals (both with and without socks) each contributes a big blister on different foot sections.
Maunganui campsite is as good as you get for a rustic campsite. The cold shower was a welcome surprise after two days in the hot sun. Being the weekend, there were alot of campers here for the apparently great surf fishing off the rocky outcrop, but as they access the camp from the beach in their 4x4s, there kit is more comprehensive than ours, including, but not limited to mattresses, beer, generators and music. One group were seemingly all called “Bro” and no formal names were used at all. But everyone was respectful and just out for a weekend of fishing – which meant getting up at 0600 to make the tide!