"Te Araroa - The Long Pathway 2 - Down the Tohe" Ninety Mile Beach Travelogue by kotitihaere
Ninety Mile Beach Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 66 photos
Te Araroa is a 3000-km trail stretching from Cape Reinga in the North of New Zealand to Bluff in the South.
It starts at Cape Reinga - Rerenga Wairua - and I have written about this part of the travel in my travelogue
Te Araroa - The Long Pathway 1 - Cape Reinga
It then comes into this area - 90 Mile Beach - Te Oneroa a Tohe, a place that I totally love as it is home and where I live.
While I have not officially walked Te Araroa I have roamed these lands for many years and offer these tips as tangata whenua - Maori Local - to all of our manuhiri - visitors - who wish to come, explore and hike / tramp our beautiful lands :D You are most welcome!
Moving on from Te One I Rehia - Twilight Beach we head across the top towards the Tohe - 90 Mile Beach.
If you come to a farm gate and a paddock, you will need to double back about 10 minutes, as you have gone the wrong way
Heading along the top is spectacular with the Tasman Sea stretching into the horizon to the west.
The crashing of the seas on the rocks below can often be head and every now and again you get amazing views of the ocean below with various shades of blue and white surf.
All of a sudden you will see the Majesty of the Tohe stretched before you, disappearing into the distance.
Breath taking and stunning, this to me is Home and a place that I truly love!
Wild and untamed, with moods of its own it is both beautiful and dangerous.
The Tohe demands respect and to the unwary it can unleash its fury.
I have read blogs of people who have walked the Tohe and find it boring, however, it is never boring if you know what there is out there to see.
So, come with me and I will guide you down my Tohe, teaching you about the ways out here!
After you have climbed down the steep steps you are now on the Tohe so welcome to my world!
It is about an hour walk down to the entrance of Te Paki which is also used as the northern most off ramp for buses and cars that use the Tohe as a road.
If you wish you can take a detour up Te Paki - watch out for the buses and have a play in the sand dunes.
At the end of Te Paki stream is a longdrop - bush toilet.
(You can also exit here if you wish - it is about an hour walk to the main road and Waitiki Landing.)
Make sure you have enough water with you as finding water along here can sometimes be a bit of a mission. Each time you do find water, fill up. If you run out of water and are this side of Hukatere, look for stream beds and follow them in a ways to see if you can find water.
To save your water, cook with sea water from the Tohe! While you may think it would be very salty, I assure you that it is not. Cooking in sea water releases the minerals of the Tohe and the flavour is not salty at all. It is a very distinct taste and potatoes or noodles cooked in sea water are to die for!
Matapia is an island situated off the Tohe that has a hole in the middle of it. This Island is often used by seals as a landing place and keep an eye out for seals on the Tohe too! They move along this coast usually between June and October.
When you are walking on the Tohe, start as close to the sand banks as possible then slowly work your way towards the sea. When the sand under your feet is hard enough to be comfortable, walk there. This way you will not be in the way of the cars and buses that can come along here.
The bluff is about 20kms from the Te Paki Stream mouth and is the only bend in the Tohe.
At the high tide The Bluff becomes and Island, cut off from the rest of the Tohe.
At the low tide it again becomes part of the Tohe.
Many locals go to the Bluff to fish off the rocks. At the edge there is a drop down to another ledge. Be very careful when you are on the edge as waves sometimes come in and rise to over 2 metres above where you are standing and you can be pulled off in the backwash.
However, the Tohe will always warn you when this is going to happen. You need to listen to the Tohe! Hear the sound of the roaring of the surf and take particular note of how low it is. As soon as you hear that sound drop to much lower still, you will know that the king wave is on it's way in and that is your warning to MOVE! Especially if you are on the edge!
The Bluff is an interesting break on the Tohe.
There is also a camping ground here and you can access the main road here also.
One of our ancestors, Te Houtaewa set out from here to run down to Apihara (at the bottom of the Tohe) to get some Kumara, a sweet potato. He made the round trip in the turn of a tide.
Today this feat is celebrated yearly with the Te Houtaewa Challenge, the ultimate Ultra Marathon Run!
So as you walk along in the footsteps of Te Houtaewa, imagine the strength and endurance he had to run to Ahipara and back!
Information about the Te Houtaewa Challenge held annually every March.
About 30ks south of the Bluff is Hukatere where a prominent hill stands and another way off the tohe.
There is also a camping ground here called Utea Park and a last chance to stock up on water before starting on the final leg of this section of the Tohe and Te Araroa.
When walking off the Tohe the camping ground is on the left - NOT THE ONE ON THE RIGHT!
Instead of having camp fees they run on a Koha system.
Koha is a gift from the heart and should show your appreciation for what has been done from you.
A koha is not a charge, but what you give willingly.
A koha does not have to be money, it can be anything you want it to be.
Never EVER Abuse this system!
The people at Utea Park willing and happily share their place with you - the least you can do is give something back!
You can also exit from here and get back to the main road.
Leaving Hukatere it is about another 20kms to Waipapakauri and another offramp where you can get back onto a main road.
To find out some of the things you can see while walking down the Tohe, check out my other travelogue Te Araroa - What You Can See Down The Tohe
I had to split it as there is a maximum of 8 sections per travelogue.
I hope you have enjoyed your journey with me and have learnt something about this wild isolated place that I love and call HOME!
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