I got a ride from Paihia within 2 minutes. Maxi and her mum Petra were touring from Germany and heading up to the Cape. I think they thought I was a bit mad and Petra averted her eyes as I struggled with my pack. "Oh I can't look" she gasped, shaking her head.
As it turned out, the reason everyone posts the weights of their items and overall pack weights, is because weight is the single most important consideration in tramping. Who would have thought that? Anyway, my ridiculously heavy pack wasn't slowing me down (it was) and I made it through to twilight beach with only one decent stop up the top of Cape Maria Van Diemanland to take in the view. A fellow hiker named Heidi made me a cuppa and had a chuckle at my pack, the weight of which easily exceeded SAS training levels. My feet were sore but didn't have any blisters (that I could see).
The campground at twilight beach is isolated but has good facilities including composting toilets and a covered cooking area along with panoramic views of the Tasman sea. I felt confident and suspected little of the pain in store for my feet the next day.