Day 46 – Hamilton to Whatawhata

Date: 10 November
Distance walked: 11.5km
Trail covered: kms 763.1 to 773.8
Weather: humid but with a nice breeze while I was walking. Storm in the evening while I wasn’t walking.
Interest that the cows showed in me: zip

Set out today after a bit more of a sleep-in than usual. There was a bit of fairly heavy rain in the morning but with only 10km to go, I could definitely relax and take it easy and was able to wait for the rain to stop.

I’m doing the short distance so that I can see my Dad and Whatawhata is really the only place he could pick me up from so that’s as far as I’m going. Plus with feeling a bit exhausted the last couple of days and having done some 50km and 60km days recently, a short day will do me good.

The path just out of Hamilton is a nice relaxing park walk.

Tills Landing

Although, that’s Mt. Pirongia in the background, under a lot of cloud. I’ll be climbing this tomorrow.

Then a bit of road walking. I think this is the first time I’ve seen a footpath that is almost wider than the road itself.

Wallace Road

At the end of this footpath is the Taitua Arboretum. I don’t know exactly what an Arboretum is but there were trees.

Taitua Arboretum

It was a nice walk through the trees.

At 11am I was looking at Pirongia, and the clouds were starting to clear.

11am view of Pirongia

Some very curious cows were down the end of O’Dea Road and they followed me down the fenceline. When I went up to them though, they backed off, but then continued to follow me down the fence.

More curious cows

When you approach the end of O’Dea Road it’s not immediately obvious where to go, until you look around a corner and see tis.

“Tis Way”

It is a few kilometers walk across this farm and it starts out being a boardwalk of sorts.

But then there is a fair bit of very tall grass.

Prepare to get very wet if it has been raining!

It’s a very standard farm walk after this. But I did notice the “kiwi ingenuity” here – two gates joined together with a bit of wire.

Real classy gate

And I thought this stile would be the first place I feel the zap of an electric fence – there are a lot of electrified wires here.

It was only 8km in by this point and I really was starting to notice my pack on my shoulders. I’ve been walking with just a day pack for over a week now and only started again with the pack yesterday so I guess I just have to get used to it again.

My Osprey Levity pack does hurt my shoulders a bit though. I wonder if a heavier pack would have more padding. And tomorrow I will have to take a fair bit more food and water once I head out into the countryside – it is a few days to the next town, either Waitomo or Te Kuiti.

The last bit of the farm was walking through this field of cows.

Find your way through this lot

The first cow noticed me… not sure why it was down hiding under the bridge on the dirty water.

But after that they really paid me no attention at all. They barely moved and some didn’t even look up.

This one looked at me at least

A short walk down Walsh Road and then right onto State Highway 39. Not too long down here thankfully, and there was a shoulder to walk on, except for the usual bridge with no walkway.

Koromatua Stream bridge

You can actually walk on the outside of the barrier right up until this point, but then you have to again wait and then run the gauntlet once no cars are coming.

And then, once you arrive into Whatawhata, you even get the pleasure of walking on two state highways at once!

And you even have to cross the busy road at this point.

Once you cross here, you’re in Whatawhata. There are a few cafes here and a petrol station. This is as far as I went today – my Dad picked me up from here and I stayed with him in Te Awamutu. While I waited for him I had a bit of lunch at the Village Cafe and Eatery. I finally got my salad that I had been craving for the last few days – it was great.

While I was eating I spent a bit of time trying to work out how to pronounce Whatawhata. “Wh” in Maori is usually pronounced “f”, so I figure the pronunciation is “fotter-fotter”. But I’ve been told by more than one person that “wh” in the middle of a word is pronounced “w” as in Mangawhai (Manga-why not Manga-fai) but that would mean that the town is pronounced “fotter-whatter”. I’m sure that’s not right!! It wasn’t so important to learn the correct pronunciation of Maori place names when I was young but there is more focus on getting it right now which I think is good.

I got to my Dad’s place at about 2pm, so I had a bit of spare time. I bought some groceries from Countdown.

Everything I bought today, except the block of cheese which is in the fridge

Apart from these I still have porridge, muesli bars, a few wraps and two back-country cuisine dehydrated meals I bought yesterday from Trek N Travel in Hamilton.

As you can see from the photo I am going to try bringing anti-perspirant. I struggle with my own smell after a week or so and so maybe this will help. It is worth the extra weight I think, especially given that I am getting much hotter and much sweater recently. If it doesn’t do anything I can always discard it. Plus it says “All Blacks” on the packaging. Maybe if I use this deodorant I will turn into a rugby player.

I then spent a bit of time checking on the progress of my goal of getting to Wellington by Christmas. If I use the date 21 December as my goal date then that gives me a few days to relax there and hang out with friends.

There are 41 days until 21 December and 921.7 km to go. That means I need to do 22.5km per day. Definitely doable.

The rain started at 3pm. When it started I thought “I’m glad that I’m not up Pirongia right now”. Eric and Zoe said they were going to wait out the storm before heading up Pirongia. If so then I will see them tomorrow. If not, then they’re getting very wet right now.

View of Pirongia from the car

It rained a lot in the afternoon and evening. Again I’ve been spared a drenching. I’m definitely going to have to provide a sacrifice to the weather gods soon.

Tomorrow will be a 9am start, but not before another coffee at the Village Cafe and Eatery.

Today's walk on the map (blue = Te Araroa, red = today's walk):

9 thoughts on “Day 46 – Hamilton to Whatawhata

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