We were presently surprised by how pleasant the next section was. Fishers track winds down a valley making easy walking with nice views and we kept our feet dry!
The Te Araroa maps and route description for the next section were a little confusing and didn't quite match up so we came up with an alternative route which looked good on the map.
We followed a scenic dirt road along which we saw more deer than vehicles before reaching the point of our alternative route. There was a clear paper trail marked on our map and everything on the alternative route was looking good as we ascended gently through sheep fields on a clear track. Then we heard the sound of a 4 wheel drive coming up behind us. When it reached us it stopped and out jumped a guy asking exactly what we were doing on his land. We explained and although he was perfectly pleasant he didn’t want us to walk across his land so we retraced our steps and walked a 40 kilometer detour! Fortunately for us it was easy walking and we actually quite enjoyed it.
Whakahoro was a tiny settlement located at the end of a dead end for some reason indefinable reason I rather liked it. Our route then headed along a bush track to Mangapura Landing on the Whanganui River.
We had made good time and realised that we would be arriving at the river a day earlier than we had expected. As is usual we had no mobile phone reception although we kept running up and hills that we passed hoping that we might get some so that we could call Joe the man we had arranged to hire the canoe from to see if he could meet us a day early. Alas, we didn’t get any reception and so disappointingly knew that we would have to waste a day.
We walk for days and days it is rare for us to see a soul and so as we neared the end of the Mangapura track we almost jumped out of our skins when we turned a corner to find a group of about 30 tourists at the Bridge to Know Where. They were part of a guided tour and had walked 20 minutes in from the river to see the bridge. A man came up to us and said “you’re those two girls walking the trail and you’re a day early”. We had found Joe. Madeleine was quick to ask if he had received our food parcel and he looked at her blankly – I knew he was pulling her leg but she fell for it in style.