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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.

Mark Webb – about me link

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.

Hiking and wild-camping in the UK winter

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.

Relaxing during my Around Norfolk walk and packed for ultra-light wild-camping

Further reading:

Preliminary Gear List

Dover to Cape Wrath 1100 mile walk

LEJOG and 3 Peaks 1200 mile walk

How I plan a successful long distance walk

My 11 wild camping rules

Te Araroa imformation:

Te Araroa home page

Information needed to enter New Zealand

New Zealand Visa

Te Araroa App New Zealand travel advice

Heaphy Track – recommended additional walk

Te Araroa Trail trip reports:

Wandering Wells 2021

Explorer Erin 2021

Karen’s Damn Long Walk 2019

A Stray Life 2019

The Path Less Travelled 2019

TGO Magazine Kat Young 2018

Tramplitegear 2014


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

Te Araroa Trail – Trip story – Between Each Step

Wild-camping in Scotland on the Cape Wrath Trail in my Tarptent Notch Li

Wildwalkinguk is a blog run by myself in spare time, and I pay for its running costs myself. I do have some Amazon affiliate links and adverts on the site. If you click on these adverts or links and buy what you need (it doesn’t have to be the item I’ve linked to), the company will pay a small commission to us. This money goes towards the costs of hosting the blog. I would be extremely grateful if you could consider using our links when you next need to buy something from our advertisers. Alternatively, you can buy me a coffee here. Thank you so much for your support. Mark.

5 Replies to “New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail”

  1. I am from NZ and have walked Te Araroa 2019-20. I can send you 2 paper maps that show trail. Nth Island and Sth Island. Much better than digital so you can see the overall trail. Send me address. My blog may be helpful and give you some reading to do.

    1. Hi Karen
      Thank you for the offer of the maps they would be much appreciated, I’ve e-mailed you my address. I’ve also added a link to your blog from mine, it looks good and I look forward to reading it.
      Best wishes

  2. Hi Mark,
    I walked the TA in 2015/16 (when I was 72 so guess we are of the same era). A great trail although lots more tarmac than you might imagine especially on North Island. We walked SOBO so left SI for the second half. My suggestions would be:-
    1. Take a tent – the huts can get very full with TA walkers plus others
    2. We used electronic mapping through – iHikeNZ on an iPad – all NZ Linz maps are free to download. A GPX for the full route is available from the TA website.
    3. the BIG difference between walking in the UK and NZ are the river crossings. Many are bridged but some are not. The Rangitata and the Rākaia Rivers are both declared as Hazard Zones on the TA. Don’t be tempted on either, I would strongly advise either walking round them by road, or better still arranging transport. Other rivers which must be forded are the Taramakua and the Otaheke Rivers both near Arthurs Pass. Do not be tempted to cross either of these if the water is high or cloudy. They rise fast but equally the fall fast too. Young people seem to take the risk – we waited 24hrs for the Taramakua to drop. I don’t want to sound alarmist but the rivers pose the most hazard – more so if you are by yourself.
    4. Kiwis are incredibly friendly – they will invite you to camp on their lawns, take a shower, give you a bed. Just amazing.
    5. Trail angles who live along the route and look after sections of it are worth making contact with – one such couple let us camp in their garden and made us a plum pie for supper!!
    6. The longest section that you need to carry food for is across the Richmond Range on SI. We supplied for 10 days on that.
    7. Sending on drop boxes is a good way to help with resupply – works well with drop locations listed on the TA site. The usually charge a normal 5 or 10 dollars for the service..
    8. Take your time and enjoy! If I can help further please email me.

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