Tora – walk on the wild side.
Arrived at the home base and had a relaxed evening over a nice meal . Met the rest of the group , one couple and one mother daughter pair. So we are 7, Kiri the matriarch of this huge farm came over and gave an orientation talk on what to expect on the days ahead. The first day is the hardest – maybe a 6 – 7 hour day depending on stops.
One of the seven innocents asked on hearing that there are no toilets enroute
” well how do we go to the toilet ???”
Kiri had this sort of quizzical expression on her face – I could hear her mind saying, ” do bears shit in the woods? — silly jaffas!
As it turned out the walk might truly be described as a real shitty walk – never seen so much sheep shit and the last day we saw areas – perhaps sheltered from the stormy southerlies that where great aggregations of sheep shit made for very carful footwork.
Chris got sick of waiting for the olds to hit the track so he elected to start alone – long legs and young bones he disappeared from view very quickly. We spotted him at one point – a distant dot moving purposely, even jogging declines. Unfortunately for him he somehow managed to miss an important junction and took the ” loop” track that wound down a steep bush track and eventually back to the cottage. The dawning realization confirmed by the family car parked gave him his confirmation that he was going to do a 20 km walk – not the 15 km we did. With a full head of steam he retraced and eventually caught us in the final few Kms.
Pics of an old wreck – the Opua which struck rocks in about 1925 ish. The local commercial cray fishers on the coast use bulldozers to get boats in and out of the ocean. They can only launch / retrieve about 30% of the days – a very hard coast.
The walk traversed the rugged Tora sheep station , climbing to the tops of a couple of amazing view points including Limestone hill with its trig. A steady breeze and morning cloud cover was welcome . Some of the ridgeline fences had singing wires , pure notes , giving the walk a musical expression. If you were a violinist you would no doubt stop and attempt to tune them.
We arrived at our final destination which is a lovely modern building right on the coast. Called Stoney Bay shortly after midday.
The afternoon strong winds have whipped up to a crescendo of gale force and from the expansive view of the great digs we can watch the endless procession of white caps and willy winds lifting water into the air. No problems for us -” timing is everything “as they say.
The final night was a a place called Greentops – the shearers quarters on this farm owned my Jenny and Chris. Next to Te Awaiti station ( Tar White ) owned by one Dan Ridderford. We enjoyed our last evening here.
Chris did a very unusual thing this morning– he rose at 5.30am !!!!!! and made a dash to the top of this trig station – about 300 metres – then hot footed it back to the start point arriving well ahead of the rest of us.
Our companions on this walk – Rose and her daughter Martha from Welly and Tots and Alison from Tokoroa. We all got on well and enjoyed the camaraderie of the shared experience – a few aches and pains and blisters shared round.
Would I recommend this walk ?? A qualified yes – you need to understand that it is really a walk through backcountry sheep stations on the beautiful Wairarapa coast. Not one of NZ ‘s great walks – lacks the virgin bush. You need to be comfortable dealing with loads of sheep shit and sheep of course. I take my hat off to the ladies who have risen to the challenge of taping into the tourist market and generating a little much needed revenue of what is otherwise very marginal land economically.
But the FOOD – worth doing just for the food. Each stop was marvelous but our pick was Jenny and Chris from the last stop at Greentops. She created a feast of stunning dishes that would take some beating even at a good restaurant.