News and media

ESC steps out

  • 05 Sep 2008


15th December 03

Taranaki's Endless Step Club (ESC) has now reached Puhoi, just 30 km from the Auckland mnetropolitan area, after leaving Cape Reinga on November 24, 2003.

ESC Departs from Devonport
ESC trampers leave for Cape Reinga, November 22, after consulting maps at Te Araroa HQ, Devonport

ESC's gang of four - Kathleen Weston, a dairy farmer, Jim Reed a retired joiner and marathoner, Fay Edwards a practice nurse and Margaret Leake an ex-beef and cattle farmer, called on Te Araroa HQ as they made their way North, for last-minute checking of route details. The Taranaki Team had already consulted with Dr Norman and Sue Sharpe, two trampers, who've previously walked much of the route, and had done considerable work of their own to refine the route. ESC - known in its first incarnation, as the Taranaki Intrepid Trampers Society (shake that thing!) - has previously walked through some of the North Island's toughest country east to west - from Taranaki's Urenui, via the Central Plateau to Bayview (near Napier) to celebrate the millennium year. This time it's north to south. The group plans to walk 40 days, until January 2, to see how much of Te Araroa's route it can cover in that time. The support team, Bill Leake and Milson Bunning, go fishing meantime, and tow caravans into position to greet the trampers at the end of each section. ESC's first two despatches follow: Disappointing start weather-wise - whiteout conditions at Cape Reinga - could hardly see the sea. Four and a half days to Ahipara - wind assisted first two days, sand-blasted last two days. Good campsites. Four days navigating through four State Forests - Herekino, the horrible Raetea (lots of mud and obstacles), Omahuta and Puketi. Eight and a half hours river walking - some deep, but mostly pleasant. Bush bashing through cutty grass in old cut-over forest. No sign of any other trampers - just a few footprints. Have seen lots of magnificent Kauri trees. Lots of windfalls and obstacles - supplejack, but little lawyer vine. Too much cutty grass and gorse - could have used Rex's secateurs. We all have one or two blisters or sore parts but otherwise fine. Our navigation skills have proved excellent - getting confident at map reading and GPS. Support crew wonderful - lovely to have the caravans. Having our first Rest Day at Kerikeri (Day 10 ). _________________ Last time we wrote we'd reached Kerikeri - what a lovely walk through the forests there. The weather has been a mixed bag, and not many days we haven't needed our coats at some time during our day, but never for long. It is very humid. We've had two rest days so far. All holding up pretty well. The walk along the East Coast beaches is a lovely walk. We called at the Waikokopu Café at Waitangi for a much appreciated milkshake before walking on to Opua - a magnificent walk. Our journey through Russell Forest via the Waikare Valley Road and Papakauri River was another lovely walk, with a long walk down Punaruku Road at the exit and onto Russell Road into Mokau Bay. The tides haven't been in our favour so the next days have required quite a bit of road walking, but the beaches we could use have been wonderful, especially the Mimiwhangata. Crossing from Whananaki North to Whananaki South via the footbridge which we estimated to be half a kilometre long. We ended the day with a long walk down McAustin Road, finally reaching the end of the walkway about 7pm. We've been lucky to have had the use of someone's holiday house while at Ngunguru - much appreciated. Lots of people have been so helpful to us and a lady rowed us across a tidal creek to set us on our way at Brynavon, and another lady rowed us across Waipu River saving us a huge detour around tidal inlets. We enjoyed our walk through the Brynderwyns on a very sultry hot day - nice to be in the shade of the bush and to reach Mangawhai Heads. We're camped at Leigh at present and will walk from South Mangawhai Heads to Pakiri tomorrow. We're all sporting pretty good tans by now. Our support crew are wonderful - would hate to be without them. The Northland mosquitoes are having a feast Until next time - Cheerio from Milson, Bill, Jim, Kathleen, Fay, Margaret.

Page last updated: Jul 28, 2020, 5:08 PM