If you're like me, you may be getting on a bit, and finding the trail is getting tougher with 3 days food and gear on your back, but you are certainly not yet at the stage for hanging up your boots and mouldering away in that zimmer frame, chasing the old girls around the rest home. With that in mind there are some very pleasant walking tracks, developed to allow all age groups and abilities to stay on the trail, merely by portering your pack for you between each night's accommodation, leaving you to lightly wander the forests and hills, with just a daypack for the essentials of water and a packed lunch. So much easier. Cheating almost?
In 2005, three entreprising farm couples commenced Tora Coastal Walk, situated on the Southeast Wairarapa Coast at the bottom of our North Island, an easy walk through farms, native forest, rolling hillscapes and coastal scenery. And the best part is they arrange for your main bags to be portered to each night's accommodation, and they will have your beer and wine chilled ready and waiting in the fridge for quenching that thirst you have worked up. It's a 3 day and 3 night walk, fully catered with gourmet local food. "Depending on weather conditions and the farming calendar you may dine on venison, paua fritters, fresh blue cod or succulent lamb." Lip smacking scrumptious.
Accommodation these days has been much upgraded since our group of friends had a team bonding session on the trail 6 years ago. Old shearers and farm labourers huts were used then, basic but clean and cosy once we'd stoked up the fire to heat water for the showers. I can remember no electricity in the second nights stay, but candles made the place very cosy. Today facilities have been upgraded to ensure you'll enjoy your experience even more.
Day 2 is an easy coastal walk of 8 kms along a shingle road but you'll be able to beach walk some stages also. We were were not lucky enough to see seals but there was plenty of marine bird life.
Yes cheaters. Not the long legged, spotty, furry African kind but a unique weird kind of feminine wiley beast, that challenges their males to be first to the next roost stop. Then when miles behind and out of site, dangles a gamey leg at a passing prospect 4WD, piles aboard their host and hunkers down and whizzes past their males to scoop all the chilled beer at the next stop!
Night 3 dining. Note the empty bottles and 4 flushed faced women!
Day 3 is an easy walk of 4 hours, with an extra option to do a 1 hour return walk up to the ‘Bugler’ for stunning 360 degree views of the area. The rest of the walk takes you back to your start point of 3 days earlier and you'll finish around 2.30pm.
Overall our group of 10 Kiwis and 1 stray Australian, Terry from Sydney, who had flown over to join us, had a thoroughly enjoyable walk, and no sore backs or shoulders either. Food was excellent. Those ladies know how to present good fresh food and cook it well. And there was more than enough. A very memorable experience, and one we keep meaning to repeat!
For more images and information on the Tora Coastal Walk, go here Tora.