Day 71: Porirua to Wellington, CBD
Distance today: 36.7km
Distance total: 1923.9km
Time hiked: 11h 03min
Time total: 562h 30min
7 o'clock, I'm standing at the top of 459 meters high Colonial Knob. Panting and sweating.
It's quite warm and humid and the early morning climb via never-ending stairs was more strenuous than expected.
As the fog is rolling in quickly, I decide to descend right away. Initially the trail crosses damp pastures before entering Spicer Forest. A simple, steadily descending track with heaps of switchbacks leads down through the pine forest to Ohariu Valley Road, which I follow for the next few kilometers. The longer I hike along the road, the more I'm looking forward for a cold drink and some pastries at the Saddleback Cafe, which I know is located at the end of the road. However once there, I stand in front of a locked door. Only open on weekends... What a bummer!
With a half-rotten apple in my hand I continue my hike, climbing steadily up Old Coach Road, which leads past Johnsonville nearly all the way to Mt Kaukau, 445 meters above sea level.
With the fog now completely gone, the views of Wellington are pretty awesome.
While descending down to the city, the remaining clouds give way to the sun, which lets the temperature rise quickly. Especially as there is no wind at all. Rare t-shirt weather :)
Once in the city, the trail takes me through several parks. It's a constant up and down that, to be honest, gets a bit annoying. Probably did more than 1000 meters in elevation gain today.
Finally at the bottom, I meander through the lovely botanical gardens before crossing the bridge into busy CBD (Central Business District), following the golden "Te Araroa" signs on the sidewalk. Really cool! Amongst all the business men and women I feel totally out of place, though. So I'm very happy when I cross yet another bridge and head down to the Marina, where I enjoying my last few steps of today's hike in the bright, warm evening sun.
What a promising beginning of the summer!