Day 92 – 99: Palmerston North to Napier

Mon 24 April – Mon 01 May 2017

  • Km walked: 201
  • Total Km: 1724

There has been some deliberation again on my part about the route that I would take from Palmerston North. I had wanted to walk the Manawatu Gorge track however it is closed due to a slip at the far end so plan B is to walk across the Saddle Road. I am in favour of walking underneath the wind turbines that feature prominently on the ranges. From there I will take the back roads through to Napier.

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I was fortunate to walk the Saddle road with little traffic. That same night slips closed the gorge road and all traffic is diverted over the Saddle Road. In Woodville I met the talented and award winning artist Nick White at his studio gallery.

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This morning is ANZAC day which I attended at the local square with soldiers from the Linton camp and the local St John youth cadets. From Woodville I walked the quiet back roads up to Dannevirke.

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I overnighted at the St John station in Dannevirke then set out the next morning through to Takapau, enjoying the Central Hawke’s Bay countryside. A highlight was passing the restored 1880 Ormondville railway station, a rare example these days.

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It has been a desire of mine to visit Oruawharo, the Central Hawke’s Bay homestead, for many years. Built in 1879 for Sydney Johnston and his new bride Sophia it harks back to a time of privilege and grandeur. Days before the wrecking ball was to demolish the unoccupied home Peter and Dianne Harris bought it and are lovingly restoring it room by room. It was an absolute treat to spend the night in residence with my gracious hosts.

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From Oruawharo I set out towards highway 50 which provides an alternative route to Napier without walking on the much trafficked main road. The days walk was interspersed with a couple of stops including historic Onga Onga. I overnighted at the vibrant Tikokino Country Hotel care of Jo and was able to partake in a tasting of delicious wines from Hawkes Ridge wine estate.

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It’s the final stretch along highway 50. Another cracker day to enjoy the countryside walk. I wanted to stop in at Gwavas to see the owners but no one was home however shortly down the road I had an impromptu and engaging tea stop with Malcolm and Rohan who were pressing wool from the recent shear.

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Autumn colours at Gwavas

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Impromptu tea stop with Malcolm and Rohan

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View towards Napier from Torohanga hill

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With my dear friend Trish

And then I was in Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand.

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Such a welcome at Two Lippy Ladies

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Walking buddies: Alison and Donna

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Karla and Natalie at Two Lippy Ladies have a St John fundraising box in their shop so it was apt that we draw the April prize there, for a night at the Grand Mercure Wellington. The next day I walked the coastline and restocked for the next journey to Wairoa. The trail through Ahuriri is fascinating with history and fantastic murals to delight the senses.

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