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November 25th
Auckland/Ferry Terminal(369)-Ambury Park Campground(381.3)
Mileage: 12.3mi/19.8km
Campsite Elevation: 23ft/7m

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook Hikes Te Araroa App.

The forecast for today was for rain all day. Yesterday, I texted Becky and felt out if she was ok to do a day in rain or if she was more inclined to double zero. Her response was, “NZ won’t hike itself, so we gotta do it.” Yep, I think Becky has what it takes! Given the camping options, we only needed to do a half day of hiking. The woman Becky stayed with was kind enough to drop us off downtown at the ferry where we left off the other day. We set off just before noon as the drizzle came down. Today was the first of two days walking urban hiking through Auckland. Being downtown to start, there were a lot sidewalks protected from the rain and that was nice. 

Despite the rain, it was a much more enjoyable day than we expected and we had fun. The majority of the day followed Auckland’s 9mi/16km Coast to Coast route that goes from the Waitemata Harbour and Pacific Ocean on one side, to the Manukau Harbour and Tasman Sea on the other. The waterways between the two were historical used by Maori to transport goods from one side to another. 

A rainy Auckland day, but little traffic!

The path wound through Auckland really well, passing through the University of Auckland, many great parks, along the coast, and along two extinct volcanoes. It was warm and humid out, so the umbrella was sufficient, and half the day Becky didn’t even use her rain jacket and didn’t mind just getting rained on. If it had to rain for a full day, I’m glad it was today when we had countless options to step out of it. 

University of Auckland

Partway through, we saw another TA hiker we met the other day named Angeline (from US). We overlapped briefly and then Becky and I stopped for lunch at Burger King, which had “flaming fast free wifi,”great prices, and the first free refills of fountain drinks we’ve seen all trip. Even on a rainy day, we were happy to get thick chocolate milkshakes. 

A socked in Mt Eden summit. Hardly a view of the city or even the big crater up top today.

After lunch, our next stop about an hour later was our resupply at the cheapest grocery store out here, Pak ‘n’ Save. Kinda like a Costco in the US. It was great! We’ve yet to really need a full resupply with all the towns we’ve been going to, but this one seemed like we needed a full five days since we decided not to resupply at the next pricier option. I kicked myself for not photographing the resupply items, and will make an effort to do that on the next big one since I know people have asked me about that. It is exciting to think we might actually go a few days without walking through a town big enough to have a resupply or major food. Becky is challenging herself to cut back on the soda purchases, which have been accessible nonstop basically the last two weeks. The caffeine withdrawal may be tough, but hopefully it won’t last long. 

The one camping option we seemed to have was a very basic campground called Ambury that was along the coast just after Manukau Harbor. It was $15NZ/$11US each for a spot among others in a grassy field, water, and pit toilets. We also found out that there is a shower back a couple hundred meters that TA hikers can use as well that isn’t for the general public. We arrived about 6pm and Angeline was also camped there. She uses Hyperlite Mountain Gear, which is similar to Zpacks in that it’s all made of cuben fiber. It’s pricey, but good lightweight tents and packs. 

Angeline with her Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II tent.

Today is Thanksgiving in the US! It is tough to see the family gathered, all the photos on fb, and to see all those juicy turkeys! At the grocery store, I was able to get enough for us to have our own hikertrash Thanksgiving dinner. It was Becky’s first (of course) and we did it in style in the doorway of the bathroom since it was raining. Yep, one to remember for sure! We made hot chocolate, with mashed potatoes, gravy, and some warmed up thick slices of turkey that we were able to mix all together in our pots. It worked out quite well! Dessert was a sleeve of Oreo Cookies and a Little Debbie Brownie! I have some brownies this leg from that delayed package from the US that I finally got in Auckland that also had my favorite Crystal Light drink mixes for the rest of the hike. 

Our hikertrash Thanksgiving dinner in the bathroom.

It was a fun day and it stopped raining after dinner so we could pitch our tents. It’s going to be a field of condensation for sure, but at least tomorrow will be clear to dry things out. The sun even poked through a bit over the water and there was a nice view tonight. 

Oh one more thing. One of my worst fears happened tonight. I dropped my Diva Cup in the pit toilet! Nooooo! Fortunately, Becky had some tampons, but I may need to get creative in a couple days if I don’t find some supplies tomorrow. Dammit! Those Diva Cups aren’t cheap and I hope I can find one in NZ, ugh!

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