Te Araroa (Maori for the long pathway) is a 3000km trail that has been forged along the length of the country – from the northern point of Cape Reinga to the southern tip of Bluff.
The trail is predominantly walked from north to south so the Southern Cross is always a guiding glow and will light your way through a country of abundant natural diversity. This trail gives you the opportunity to experience New Zealand in entirety. It travels not only through the back-country where you’ll stroll through wide open fields, forests that feasibly featured in Lord of the Rings, dramatic volcanoes and high mountain passes but also goes through the front-country where you’ll see some amazing city beaches and walk amongst the locals. This dual aspect of Te Araroa is what sets it apart from other long distance trails around the world.
I was so excited and proud when I learnt of this trail and knew it was something that need to be added to the wanderlist straight away! This is something that every New Zealander and every person interested in long distance hiking around the world needs to experience. Whether it’s done in one long 3-5 month “thru hike” or plucked off in sections over a lifetime like I plan to.
Te Araroa is divided into 113 sections. My descriptions are not meant to be trail notes or provide full comprehensive details. They are intended to give you the overall flavour of the walk, share my experience with you and hopefully inspire you to get out there!
So far I have completed the below sections of Te Araroa:
Section 19 – Te Arai Beach Walk – see blog post!
Section 20 – Te Hikoi O Te Kiri (Mt Tamahanga) – see blog post!
Section 22 – Puhoi Track – see blog post!
Section 24 – Orewa to Stillwater – see blog post!
Okura Bush Walk – This is a separate walk but the first part of it is also Te Araroa
Section 26 – Akarana Trail, North Shore Coastal Walk (blog post to come)
Section 27 – Coast to Coast Walk – see blog post!
- Maps – Te Araroa Trust provide trail notes and maps free on their website.
- Accommodation – There is private accommodation situated along the trail mainly in small towns and cities.
- 45% of the trail is set on land looked after by the DOC (Department of Conservation). DOC provides tramping huts all over the country and there are plenty on this trail. The best way to stay in these huts is to purchase a back country Hut pass. This will then make almost every hut free!! See DOC website for more information.
- You can also free camp anywhere on Public Conservation Land (PCL) where there is a strict no-trace camping policy.
- Time of year – If you are starting from Cape Reinga the best time to start is late October/early November. This will give you the best chance of prime walking weather and low rivers. Although you can easily start anytime between September and early December.
- Additional resource – The official Te Araroa website – http://www.teararoa.org.nz/
Photo credit to Tianyi Shi.
If you are going to walk Te Araroa then you will need the book Te Araroa: A walking guide to New Zealand’s long trail. Click below to get your copy! It is a beautiful and very useful book.