by Alwyn Paterson
Tora Coastal Walk, southern Wairarapa has been on my To Do list for a number of years, so when a group from Hamilton arranged to do this, I happily joined them. Tora Coastal Walk was one of the first private walks set up in New Zealand and the first in the North Island opening in October 1995. The farms crossed on our walk were all originally owned by the Riddiford family and formed part of the Tora Station (originally 5,417 hectares). At the end of World Was 2, the government purchased Tora Station and divided it up into ten farms for Returned Servicemen. Edward Elworthy purchased land from one of these Returned Servicemen.
We left Hamilton early Wednesday morning to arrive around 3pm at the “Outstation” and got settled into the accommodation. After a delicious meal, we were briefed by Kiri Elworthy about what to expect on day 1, which normally would take about 6 1/2 – 7+ hours. Unfortunately there had been significant rainfall during the past couple of days which had made the track very slippery and difficult in places, so she would talk to us in the morning when the track had been inspected. The next morning we were given the choice of walking down the road or the track, but the recommendation was only those with boots should walk the track. 4 of us elected to walk the track, and I was very pleased to have my Nordic walking poles with me. The track was muddy, but my boots were great. The hill climbing really tested me, but the views from the tops were magnificent. My poles were a life saver! The bush track was dreadful, but in the end I just sloshed through, keeping my balance with my poles.
Day 2 was much easier, mostly along the beach road. However after the previous day I felt rather tired. However, once I got into a good rhythm with my poles, I just kept walking for the 31/2 hours. We saw some seals in the distance after walking over rocks to the seal colony, and once again my poles helped my balance.
Day 3 was down hill at lot, and using the backward leaning technique for going downhill, I coped better than some of our group. This day was a bit longer and further than the previous day, with some stunning scenery, and birdlife.
This was a most enjoyable walk, I would thoroughly recommend it to any one who is reasonably fit. But I have to admit, I would have struggled much more without my Nordic Walking poles.