Four beats to freedom - a horseback journey through New Zealand


Mary's New Zealand Diary   -  23 May

We’ve reached Kaitaia!  A signpost yesterday said ‘Cape Reinga 120 km’. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – suddenly its nearly all over….

Whangarei RDA had a ‘fun day’ on the Saturday in which Boris starred as Lady Godiva’s horse. He was tickled pink and showed off unmercifully. The photo will help you to really appreciate the depths to which his taste can go….

From there we had a couple of short days on the road and a day off when the rain came down in torrents before going to Kaikohe, through the Hikurangi Forest Block, (shh! Carter Holt didn’t want us to be there lest we were mugged by dope growers. I half expected masked men with AK 47s to leap out from behind every pine tree but the forest was as green and silent as coniferous forest the world over and I didn’t venture deep enough to come across any weed…)

Near Lake Omapere where I was very thrilled to meet up with Jacqui Knight from Russell and her little dog Bray. Jacqui and Bray rode the length of the country some years ago, and her story can be found in her book ‘Bit by Bit’ . She gave me quite a bit of help in the early days, so it was good to be able to touch base together.

One night at the SPCA in Okiahau ( narrowly avoided finding myself offering a home to a beautiful German shepherd bitch), two wet days and a very wet night on top of Mokhau ridge in Puketi forest, one sunny day and another soaking brought us to Kaitaia. It's been a bit ballistic, and we go on up 90 mile beach this weekend, so the photos and the boys’ reports will all have to come when the whole journey is finished.

I will just include the following four pictures

Travelling up North river – this failed to arrive for the last update.

Borrie and Lady Godiva
Te Horo School where the boys had another great pair of minders.

Jacko and the boys in lovely Northland landscape. The rocks are called the Taratara rocks, and Jacko is anxious to tell you that he believes that these are volcanic plugs.
10 May
After a 5 day break in the sunshine in Kaukapakapa, the heavens opened when we went through Kaipara Hills! Fortunately it was a little drier by the time we reached Matakana where I was camping at the Pony club ground and stewarding at their ribbon day! Ponies and children are the same all round the world…

We had a lovely day in Matakana school, before going on again in pouring rain through some commercial forest where ‘operations’ were in fact underway – we probably should not have been there at all….

We spent 2 days (including my birthday when I went pig hunting – no pigs to be found unfortunately) near Wellsford, and then went out to Pakiri beach with Felicity and Roger, who I met at Hurunui Horse Treks last year.  Borrie was delighted to let Felicity’s horse, Ezra, carry the pack for the day and enjoyed a real hoon on the beach with Roger!  The excitement of the moment went to their heads and they indulged in a little getaway exercise that night when we were camped at the forest headquarters – I had visions of horses lost in hundreds of acres of pine forest, but they were in fact laughing behind their sleeves only a few hundred yards away where the grass was greener. 
The beaches on this side are gorgeous – miles of white sand. 

We crossed the Mangawhai estuary about 2 hours before high tide, so at its deepest it was just above the bottom of the saddle flaps. Had we been ten minutes later however it would have been a swimming job – the tide comes across those flats incredibly quickly.

From the beach we went inland to North River where Ian Benson runs horse treks in the most lovely bush. 

Two more days brought us to Whangarei RDA. This is a magnificent facility







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