New Zealand 2003 travel blog

Awaroa Bay from Tonga Saddle

Over Awaroa Lodge

On Bark Bay beach

The sandflies were hard at work last night on all of us, especially as the heat generated in a room of 10 bodies encouraged one to expose more skin just to cool down. Sandflies can bite pretty hard and the marks stay for days and keep itching. Anyway, we had another 2-3 hour walk to the next hut to do today so we didn't need to push ourselves very hard at all, which was some compensation.

We had only one tidal crossing to make today and that was just a 10 metre channel with about a 4-5 hour window of opportunity. We got there about midday and waded through the water carrying our packs above our heads. We were now on the famous Onetahuti beach, a lovely narrow golden arc that looked out across to Tonga Island - a very much smaller namesake to the one we had intended to see on our trip. We even saw a little blue penguin, albeit a dead one that was rolling in the surf.

We found a patch above the high tide line to sit on and relax. Naturally, I immediately got the cooker out and made us a brew. You can keep your fancy cocktails even if we are sitting on a sub-tropical beach. We lazed for about an hour or so, and Jane and I took a swim in the cool sea - Kate dipped a toe then quickly retreated. There was a steady stream of walkers passing us, but it still didn't feel like the frantically busy walkway that we had been led to believe.

We reached Bark Bay in the afternoon and bumped into the Canadians again, who had kindly picked up a pair of Jane's trousers that she had left at the previous hut. We are obliged to like them now and make conversation. Actually they're not so bad after all, and we even brave being in the same bunk room again.

Later Kate and I went down to the beach to read, while Jane went and did some snorkelling out in the Bay. She saw a few sea urchins and fish but nothing too spectacular. We returned to the hut, made our tea, then had a game of cards, finally remembering between us how to play Hearts.

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