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Break time . . . Les Quartermaine stops to catch his breath in Pataua, north of Whangarei Heads. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Les Quartermaine has been a busy man.

For nearly two months, he has walked more than 600km across the North Island as part of his 3000km walk to Bluff in an effort to raise money for St John Oamaru.

He started his trek at Cape Reinga on October 15.

While walking along the Te Araroa trail, the Oamaru man has passed through several well-known spots, including the Waitangi Forest and Ninety Mile Beach.

Earlier this week, he went through Whangarei Heads, and he is hoping to make it past Hamilton by Christmas.

He did not know exactly how many kilometres he walked every day, but thought he was averaging about 20km.

By the end of his journey, he hopes to have raised $100,000 for the charity.

While on his walk, Mr Quartermaine said he had the privilege of meeting trampers from all around the world.

“The people are fantastic – you meet some amazing people,” he said.

Originally, he planned to finish his walk in March, but he now believes it will be early April. He had to take some time off to recover from blisters, which briefly put him in hospital.

journey had been “tougher” than he had expected, the hardest part being the walk on New Zealand’s most famous beach.

“Certainly that Ninety Mile Beach is tough – it’s like walking across the Sahara,” he said.

A highlight of the journey had been experiencing the hospitality and kindness of New Zealanders.

“It’s a great experience – I’ve got to learn a lot about New Zealand people that I didn’t know.

Mr Quartermaine said he was particularly moved by the support given to him in the form of text messages, which flooded his phone nearly every day.

“It’s just fantastic,” he said.

“It does something to your heart to think that all these good people out there are encouraging you all the way.”

Despite having had swollen ankles, blisters and toenails falling off, Mr Quartermaine said he enjoyed every minute of the journey so far and looked forward to seeing where the trail would take him.