Wednesday 18 November – Day 4
Being in a B&B it would be rude not to partake of the breakfast. Cups of coffee and filled up nicely I could be out of the door just after 8am. We had seen Darnay setting off already and I wasn’t far behind. Today would be another 30 odd km, somewhat daunting after days of the same but equally it was the final day of 90 mile beach and a milestone was in sight – Ahipara. It was a lovely morning for walking. The breeze was cool on my back and the dappled clouds kept the sun at bay. High tide is not expected until around 1pm so there was plenty of time to take advantage of the harder sand, hopefully all of the way to Waipapakauri where I would rendezvous with my trail angels. This first stretch is 17 km which I hope to do in 3 hours.
Again there were gigantic shellfish beds walked across or around if I could. There was a shellfish ban extending from Waipapakauri all the way down the coast to Kaipara however I have now read that it is removed. The k’s fell away quickly and before I knew it I had reached Waipapakauri, one of the few locations where there is access on and off 90 mile beach. A picnic table made a perfect lunch stop and shortly thereafter my trail angels arrived.
Being that this is a beach access there are clear signs of the danger to vehicles. We watched as a van pulled into the car park and got stuck in the sand – in the car park… the occupants were not having much success extracting it from the sand so we went down to offer advice, support and muscle power. The travellers were most grateful.
After an hour break I reemerged onto the beach for the final 14 km stretch to Ahipara. The clouds were getting ominous and I could see showers in front and behind me. I reached Darnay as a few spits were falling and we walked the final stretch together, with Ella maybe a km behind us. We had a good stride together and it helped chatting to pass the time and make the walking easier.
The beach swung around to a more southerly direction and we were greeted by a strong, direct headwind for they final haul into Ahipara. We certainly had to work for these last few kilometres however with each step we were closer to the magical 100 km mark. Paulette had written notes of encouragement in the beach however the wind blown sand ruined that so we made our own to mark the accomplishment. 90 mile beach and 100 km done and dusted.
Ella was right behind us so we got a photograph for her too, then my trail angels took our packs so we could walk the last km to the holiday park. There we were greeted with bottles of beer – time to rest tootsies and enjoy their company. Tonight we enjoyed snapper, scallops and chips from the local takeaway and then that was it for the day.