Koitiata to Bulls

Sun 17 January – Day 65


Today is to be another big day in terms of distance for the walk from Koitiata through to Bulls. The first half of the day is 14km along the beach then cut through forest and farmland to the 14km road walk section to Bulls. I awoke to a dry tent. No condensation at all. Maybe the gentle breeze kept it off. Not sure but it is nice to pack away a dry tent. I made a coffee and had a little snack then set off across to the beach through the loose black sand. Seeing the river mouth this morning I imagine it is probably shallower than where I crossed yesterday on the official trail. The river is low with little rain plus the tide is out. I will benefit from a waning tide this morning allowing me to walk on the harder sand closer to the low water level rather than up in the soft sand negotiating around the timber debris. Low tide is 13:30. It would take me twice as long if the tide was in. 14km is a long way to walk on a beach that doesn’t change dramatically from start to finish. I haven’t had to do this since northland. I pass the time picking out items of interest, artistry in the debris, patterns in the sand and watching the continuous breaking of waves. I practice the Maori national anthem, a throwback from my 2017 walk, and often fall into a daze to walk semi-consciously. I could listen to music too if I wanted to. After three hours I can turn off the beach when I reach the stream near the fire watch tower. It is positioned to look for fires in the Santoff Forest which adjoins the airforce bombing area. Not a place we’re allowed to venture into. There are no TA markers so I go in the general direction following a quad track and my TA app for guidance. I do appear to be somewhat off course but push on regardless as I will reach the road if I continue straight through the farm I am on. There are lots of curious cattle and gates to pass through which I diligently latch properly behind me. I chuckle at the final gate at the no trespassing sign. Woops that was me.

Kitchen at Koitiata campsite
Sperm whale vertebrae
Turakina River mouth at Koitiata
My beach beyond here
End of beach walk. Fire watch tower centre top
I guess it is this way
Edge of Santoff forest
Woops, that was me

In hindsight I would have preferred to walk the beach again than the road to Bulls which is inanely dull. I got drenched in water by a pivot and ate blackberries from the roadside. Those were the only standouts believe me. I tried to hitch but no one would stop. It felt like penance I had to endure. My feet were tired. What a relief when I reached Bulls to be greeted by a plum tree hanging over the footpath literally begging me to have some fruit. The branches bent down by their weight. I happily gorged before the final couple of hundred metres into town, stopping at the first of many life sized bulls that adorn it in a clever marketing campaign that celebrates the name of the town. Bull is used figuratively in naming the businesses and services. Tonight I am looking forward to staying with a trail angel, Loïc whose hospitality I have read about. It is all I have read about and more. I am in admiration of his unwavering generosity. He also has a self contained Airbnb unit if anyone is after an overnight in Bulls.

Pivot – good for water relief
14km to go
Argh boring walk
Bulls welcome
Loïc’s aviation inspired entertainment area
Categories: 2020 Te Araroa


  1. Hi Mark, loving the posts!! We are based in Longburn, just south of Palmie and would love to host you if you are anywhere nearby, happy to come pick you up 😊
    Ngā mihi,
    James Chatterley
    Event Dynamics
    (09) 520 4580 DDI
    021 777 928 MOB
    An Associate of the Pan Pacific Travel Group
    [Email Large]


  2. Hey Marky Poos, Looking good! As you come through Foxton, look out for the Kilsby Stock Underpass:) Its named for Michael (husband)’s family as they used to own all the land there. 3 Kilsby brothers, sadly 2 were killed in Erebus, so 2/3’ds of the land sold and 1 remaining brother continued farming for some time. The cow ‘road’ is a bit of a laugh to the family now. When do you make Wellington and how long are you staying there? I arrive on the eve of the 31st.


  3. Love reading these Mark Thank you Any idea when you will need a meal and comfy bed in Twizel?

    On Thu, 21 Jan 2021, 11:07 AM Mark Walks for Life, wrote:

    > Mark Kerr posted: ” Sun 17 January – Day 65 33km Today is to be another > big day in terms of distance for the walk from Koitiata through to Bulls. > The first half of the day is 14km along the beach then cut through forest > and farmland to the 14km road walk section to Bu” >


  4. Love it. The last gate you go through has the ‘no trespassers’ sign on.
    What a great spot to stay. Was that a hot tub I spy near the bar?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: