2011-2012 has been an emotional 12 months for us

We became kiwi citizens. Our kids, Ben and Beth survived the Christchurch earthquakes. I lost my mum and brother, Brian, to cancer in the same week. We sold our outdoor activity business in Hanmer Springs that we had run for ten years. We ran the Forest Camp as managers and we will celebrate 30 years of marriage.

It has been a time of intense emotions and hard work but a great network of friends and family has supported us.

Losing Brian at the age of 60 has convinced me that we have to “live life for today”. With that in mind Steve and I have decided that the best way to celebrate surviving, being kiwis and the “life of Brian” is to walk the length of New Zealand. Now here is the irony, Brian would be convinced that we are finally, totally and unreservedly barking mad!

Thanks to Ben and Beth for their support to let us go, to Sharon and Serge our Hanmer backstops and to Shalane for inspiration.

Follow us on our journey – meet us on the way with tea and scones, walk a section with us, join us for a beer or just support our cause and donate to Cancer research!

Feel free to add comments to our blog below, just click on "comments" below the blog entry and write in the box then add your name or be anonymous!!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

We have reached 350 kms and $650 so we are feeling very pleased but weary !! A day off today thanks to the generous hospitality of Sam's Uncle's family - Chris, Donna and Jess. It has been quite a while since we were last with internet!
Old Grizzly Beardy in the tent!
We walked through the Waitangi Forest and were very pleased to be joined by Sally and Rob (a Dutch backpacker), it was great to be spurred along and have others to talk to. Thanks to Peter for being shuttle bunny. We had great views of the coast at last and easy tracks to walk.
Through civilisation, past Paihia and onto Opua to the car ferry , a beautiful day for crossing and a walk along to Orongo Bay to a great campground surrounded by kiwis. After a long walk along the road we got to the Russell Forest and a tough walk up through the magnificent forest, past all the Kauris onto the ridge. A long undulating ridge that seemd to only go up!! Finally we met an old logging  track which was great to walk on and a gradual descent down to the road. Sadly the second part of the forest is closed and we hitched onto Oakura to have a night at the campground. What a beautiful spot, we will have to go back.
Liz and Terry gave us a lift back to our end spot the day before and sent us on our way with homemade fruit cake - what a treat. We walked on to Helena Bay and Steve had his first swim, or should we say dip in the ocean, too cold for me !!
Another bypass day and a walk around to Whananaki North. Well done to the Whangarei District Council for the paths and signs for the Te Araroa. The estuary path was stunning. We had a wonderful night at the campground and especially enjoyed Happy Hour with Pat and Liz and all the campervan folk.
The walk from Whananki North to Ngunguru has to be one of our favourite so far 24k but a stunning day of views, beaches, forests and streams.
We collapsed at the Salt Air cafe for a great pizza ( Steve had an all day breakfast at 6pm !!) where the guy told us he had had a few Te Araroa walkers through but we were definitely the oldest !!. We took it as a compliment !!
Sally and Maureen joined us today from Kerikeri - thanks guys, it was awesome to have company and a shuttle bunny. The Mackerel Forest track was wonderful and the river crossings not too deep. On we went to Tidesong - what a beautiful haven nestled on the estuary. Thanks to Ros and Hugh for sharing their family birthday with us and firing up the pizza oven.
We were rowed across the estuary by Hugh - a great new boardwalk has been constructed to help with this and onto Taihararua.

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