Tora Coastal Walk - day 3 (CONTAINS VIDEO)

Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
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Trip End Mar 21, 2008


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Sunday, November 5, 2006






Today is one of those days when you feel sorry for the colour-blind. The cloudless sky is the deepest of blues and the grass is the richest of greens, like when you pick the most colourful colours on the computer palette, then enhance the saturation.

In the morning we set off to find the wreck of the Opua, which ran aground here back in 1926 when the captain mistook the southern Wairarapa, one of the most rural spots you could hope to find, for Wellington, the nation's capital (!?). We follow the gravel road for a while then drop down to the beach, at which point Mum turns back. Jane and I take our shoes and socks off and saunter along the shore, as the chilly waves lap at our feet and a warm but persuasive sea breeze pushes us along. The beach winds its way on and on until we eventually reach the shipwreck. It is a rather unexciting wreck actually, just a small rusted hulk of metal, propped up on some jagged rocks, like a drunken regular at one of these country pubs.

By the time we plod, sore-footed, back to the hut, it has been a nearly three-hour roundtrip and Mum and Dad are ready and waiting to head off on the day's main walk. Mercifully it is only about a 45 minute walk along the coastal road to our next evening's accommodation, known as the Shearer's Quarters. This is more of a traditional farmhouse, with a beautiful back garden.

I am zonked, so I have a little nap and awake slowly and reluctantly for the Mountain View walk. This takes us up a steepish hill to the ridgeline, where the persuasive breeze is more of a forceful gale, swaying the trees like teenagers in a mosh pit and requiring us to lean on a 45 degree angle in order to make headway. Any inconvenience is more than made up for by the extreme natural beauty of the views. We continue along the ridgeline to the Trig. A 'trig' is a marker at the highest point of a mountain range and it is used for surveying. Not coincidentally, it is an attraction for climbers, given the panoramic views from up there, so we rest for a while and swallow the delicious vistas on offer.
We continue south until we reach the bluff, the last bit of land before the cliffs drop sharply to the sea. Instead of following the map's recommended route, which basically just backtracks the way we came, we decide to take a more direct but much steeper descent down the side of the mountain. From the top it looks manageable but we quickly find ourselves shuffling down, inch by inch, almost vertically. Our sneakers, with their worn-out tread, are not really suitable for the crumbling sheep tracks and things get a little hairy in a couple of places. However, with some mixture of dexterity and fortune, we level out and roll back down to the house.

The following day is the final stage of the walk, a five hour walk back to the Outstation, where we had begun on Thursday. This segment of the trail takes us through some beautiful bush-clad hillside as well as more open farmland and a gradual descent down to the Outstation.

For anyone who may be interested in finding out more about the walk, please visit www.toracoastalwalk.co.nz.
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Where I stayed
Outstation Cottage

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