I have been researching new challenges, I’ve already walked the length of the UK twice so I started looking at longer routes. One option was the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA, but further research made me worried about the sheer number of people walking this each year. I don’t like crowds.
Eventually I came across Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand, which translates as ‘The Long Pathway’. The more I read about it, the more it sounded like my kind of walk – varied, challenging and remote – like the Scottish National Trail on steroids. The walk takes in beaches, forests, cities, high mountains, really remote wilderness, road walking and numerous river crossings.
I am planning to walk Te Araroa as soon as it’s possible and I will be writing about my experiences on the way. I’ll also review all the gear I take. Update 2023: I am looking for company on this one if anyone is interested?
About Te Araroa Trail
Te Araroa is a 3000km (1,864 miles) route running the length of New Zealand (both islands), from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The route is usually walked north to south, staring around November time. It can also be walked south to north, taking in the rougher South Island first. Starting in the south means you start later in the season, probably December.
It’s a relatively new trail, officially opened in 2011 and still a work in progress. The route has been devised using a series of already established walks joined together, so at present there’s a lot of road walking to link these walks together. About 15% of the walk at the moment is on roads. However, as Te Araroa Trust continue to negotiate access with private landowners, this should only improve over time.
Surprisingly, Te Araroa is not a continuous path. There is a lot of road walking, sometimes the path is overgrown and can be re-routed for logging or forestry work and occasionally uses rivers. There are also a number of places where the route just stops and you have to get around an obstacle, often meaning getting a lift, use a boat or hike around to start the trail again the other side.
There are several considerations when choosing to walk Te Araroa Trail. Obviously being on the other side of the world, I’ll miss the UK winter, and go from summer to summer. Great. But New Zealand is an expensive and time-consuming place to get to. In addition, both the start and finish points of Te Araroa are very remote. New Zealand weather is also very unpredictable; 4 seasons in one day is not just possible, it’s highly likely. But then we are used to that in the UK.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to walking Te Araroa is the time it will take me to complete. Most people complete the full route in 4-6 months. I will allow 6 months, so I can take it easy and make the most of the walk to see as much of New Zealand as possible.
Follow my progress
You can keep up to date on my progress on Te Araroa by subscribing to my blog on the side bar, or follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
If you can help me in any way please message me or donate by Buying me a coffee. I have done a number of long distance walks before, so I’m not worried about being self-reliant for 6 months, but my walks have all been in the UK. So any help with the best start time and any differences or issues I’ll come across hiking in New Zealand rather than the UK, will be much appreciated.
Preliminary Gear List
Te Araroa imformation:
Heaphy Track – recommended additional walk
Te Araroa Trail trip reports:
Te Araroa Trail – Recommended – It’s an interesting book if you’ve not been to New Zealand before. It describes all the separate walks that the Te Araroa follows really well and has good maps. It only has brief descriptions of the road sections. I was happy to pay the high price because all royalties go to the Te Araroa Trail Trust and helps with the cost of improving the trail.
Te Araroa Trail – Trail story
Te Araroa Trail – Trip story
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