I took a bus bound for Kaitaia the most northerly town in New Zealand . From where I planned to spend the night before taking a tour bus to Cape Reinga (the start of the trail) as there is no public transport.
On the bus I spotted the road sign to the Cape and asked the driver if he thought that I would be able to hitch a lift in the late afternoon and he seemed sure I would. So I jumped off the bus.
It had been all most 20 years since I had hitched around New Zealand and I was sure that times had changed. To my delight I discovered they hadn't. As soon as I stuck out my thumb a guy picked me up and I was on my way to the Cape.
My last lift was from a British brother and sister who were traveling around New Zealand in a hire car. We walked down to the light house and the sign post where they took the picture of my first step on the trail.
They heading back south in their hire car and I felt strangely abandoned sitting alone contemplating the what lay ahead of me. I didn't feel ready, I was there a day early.... It was 6pm I took a deep breath and set forth.