Feilding to Palmerston North

I didn’t get a very good look at Feilding while I was there, as I preferred to medicate my poor blistered feet with large quantities of wine. Went to bed very happy.

Next day it was past stok yards that were once the largest in the southern hemisphere, then there was a couple of hours road walking to little Bunnythorpe – cute name for a dinky little village. On the way, I met two of my Te Araroa friends from the maintenance team yesterday. They were biking from Bunnythorpe to Feilding and back again, so we stopped to compare notes – I let them know about the stile that needed building over the electric fence on the farm route yesterday, and they promised to let their construction team know.

It’s not a terribly interesting road to Bunnythorpe, although I did see a very old fashioned engine chugging along quite slowly, belching smoke and pulling a cart. Had to take a photo and wave at the drivers – you don’t see this sort of thing round much any more!

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Stopped for an ice-block in the Bunny Village; saw no rabbits but had a fun chat with three small boys who were agog with amazement that I had walked all the way from Feilding (actually only a couple of hours away but then my legs are much longer than theirs are). They’d heard of Te Araroa though, so that was nice. Word’s getting out. Unfortunately, the pub was shut and so I continued on my way.

It was a stinking hot day to walk another 9 km into Palmerston North, but it was enlivened by a small detour through another farm (this one with very well made stiles over its electric fences). Particularly amusing was one miniature horse, completely adorable, who followed me around, snuggling for cuddles. I was quite sad about leaving her behind, but had to admit they probably wouldn’t have let me sneak her on the bus back to Wellington, so she’s there to make the next tramper happy.

The most interesting thing about this section of the walk is slowly getting closer to the enormous wind farms on the hills above Palmerston North. I approve of wind farms, very much – I know some people hate the way that they look but to me they’re beautiful as well as ecologically friendly.

Technically, once the Te Araroa tramper arrives in Palmerston North, they continue on with a riverside walk through the city, but I was completely overheated and sore-footed by this time, so gave it a miss in preference to catching a ride into the city centre and looking for something icy cold to drink. (The creepy, deserted Stepford suburb of Kelvin Grove, into which I arrived and wandered through for a good hour looking for sustenance, appeared to have no shops or service stations at all. The only possible explanation is that they’re robots and don’t need nourishment.) Hey, as far as I’m concerned I’ve walked to Palmerston North. That last little river section can wait until the next time I’m here.

Bus back to Wellington tonight.

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