On a beach between Marsden Point and Ruakaka, Ngaruawahia's Julie Stacey is walking the length of New Zealand.
For the next five months Julie Stacey's most luxurious item is a tube of moisturiser. The 45-year-old has quite her day-job and is doing the Te Araroa trail to raise money for the Ngāruawāhia Community House.
Stacey started the trail on October 13, and walked through Ngāruawāhia this week. The North Waikato town has been her home for the past few years.
Stacey is carrying a 15kg pack, so she can only afford to take the bare minimum with her. She has one set of clothes for walking and one change of clothes in her pack. Her wash bag contains one bottle of Wilderness Wash, and if she's in the forest she'll clean herself in the river.
Her fingers are her hairbrush and deodorant is non-exsistent. "I would say I'm fairly low maintenance any way, but you have to be very low maintenance on the trail.
"I'm constantly thinking about keeping the weight of my pack down." She carries an ultra light-weight tent and as much food as she needs to, before she can resupply at the next township.
Meals usually consist of couscous, soup or dehydrated vegetables. It's been just over a month since Stacey began the trail in Cape Reinga, already she describes her feet as being similar to an elephants. "They've gone very hard."
After 90 Mile Beach I got some pretty awful blisters on my heels and had to perform minor surgery on my feet every day for five days."
I had to take it all off at night to let them breathe and then bandage them back up again in the morning." Every day Stacey starts walking by 7.30am and finishes walking around 3pm. Depending on the terrain she could cover between 12kms and 35kms in a day.
Along the way she has met people who she calls "trail angels".
"They are regular people who do nice things for people walking the Te Araroa." Some leave oranges by their fence, others invite you in and give you a cup of tea and some lunch.
"It really optimises what it is to be a Kiwi." Stacey is from New Forest on the south coast of the UK originally.
"I moved to New Zealand 11 years ago, as soon as I heard about the trail I immediately knew I wanted to do it."
It was a feeling I got, I wanted that connection with New Zealand."
Anyone who wishes to keep up-to-date with Stacey's journey can do so via her Facebook blog Tiny Tramper. Donations can be made to her Givealittle page.
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