The next morning the hunters were up early and set off to try their luck again. By the time we'd had our porridge and had packed up, one of them was back with a deer and a big smile on his face. Obviously there is a lot of good hunting in the area.
Our plan for today was to follow the Tauranga River downstream from Te Pua and re-join the Six Foot Track at Tawhana. From there we would carry on to our old haunt, Te Pourewa Hut.
So off we trekked, initially along a track from the hut, but eventually hiking along the stream, occasionally cutting off the odd bend in the river by following a marked track through the bush. Despite the recent heavy rain, the river was still crossable, although one crossing towards the end was pretty scary.
Not far downstream from Te Pua hut, we spotted a pair of Whio (Blue Duck) splashing about in the river. The Whio is a threatened species. This pair seemed to be having a great time in the river and didn't seem too concerned about the 'threatened' status of their species. There was also plenty of deer sign around here, no wonder the hunters at the hut had done so well.
We carried on along the Tauranga River stopping for a short lunch at one of many lovely spots along the way. We agreed that this was one of the most beautiful river hikes we had done. There is awesome scenery almost every step of the way, sometimes lush bush down to the river's edge, other times soaring cliff faces border the river.
It took us 3.5 hours to reach the junction with the Six Foot Track which included a bit of a bush bash towards the end although we probably took a wrong turn here as what we thought was a short-cut through to the Six Foot Track led us into dense steeple-jack. This plant always seem to grow at the most inconvenient height for the location, either tripping you up at your feet or forcing you to duck down.
Anyway having re-joined the Six Foot Track we carried on, crossing the swing bridges at Tawhana and Otane reaching the Te Pourewa turn-off about 45 minutes later.
Twenty minutes later we had reached the lovely Te Pourewa Hut and rested up for the day. That night for dinner we had stir-fry noodles and the last of our wine - yum!