WhioWhio Hut, Palmerston North (km1505)-Burttons Track and Whare/Tokomaru River (km1543)
Mileage: 23.7mi/38km plus about 5 km walking around Victoria Esplanade
After a nice early breakfast with Fiona (she had to work on Sunday-she’s a radiologist at the hospital), we packed up and headed out. We first needed to go to a small grocery to get a few item for the next 2 days. Then I convinced Connor that we needed to explore the Victoria Esplanade, which is the local park. I visited on my first trip to NZ and remembered it to be an excellent park. It seems to have gotten even better. We found the flying fox straight away, which entertained for a few rounds.
We also played in a giant hamster wheel (like we needed to do extra distance) and with a thing called a whisper dish. It was two dishes placed far apart that reflect sound to each other. A friend whispers things into the tube which can be easily heard from far away. Good thing I had Connor, as it would have been lame by myself.
The park also had a little train and a beautiful rose garden. We litterally stopped to smell the roses, and it was great.
We walked back to the TA route along the river, having put in an extra few kms for the morning. We didn’t have much of a goal for the day so we just walked at a nice pace. My feet felt great in my new shoes and having been able to recover for a week. The route led along a lot of nice pathways outside the city and past the university. Quite a few locals were out walking and running, enjoying a beautiful summer Sunday morning. This town had such a great vibe and nice amenities. I want to come back to explore a little more.
On one track, we passed Rita and Moses and I got to add a new animal to my list of daily pettings. Donkeys! Their little stall had their names inscribed in a board above. So cute!
We did some more road walking up to a mountain bike park, then forest road walking through the park and a logging site. We came to the TA halfway point, where I was surprised to find an elaborate sign. It was kind of bittersweet, as it already feels like it’s going by too fast and I don’t want it to end.
We entered the Burtton’s track, which was slightly muddy and steep, but not bad at all since it hasn’t rained much recently. We did a long descent to the river, then lot’s of short ups and downs along it. We found a nice open space to pitch right at 7 pm. We did a lot of distance this day but it felt so easy. The river and bike ride did me well, even though I’m sore as hell from the bike in some places.