Introducing: Te Araroa, New Zealand’s Trail
Kia ora tātou. Hello and Welcome!
My name is Dan, and I’m a Kiwi (not the fruit – a person from New Zealand), and this year I’m going to attempt Te Araroa. No, it’s not quite Frodo carrying the ring to Mt Doom, but my trails will take me past many Lord of the Rings locations in NZ. There are no hobbits.
I figured that a good place to start would be at the beginning.
“Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail – is a continuous 3,000 km walking track from Cape Reinga to Bluff.”
The plans for Te Araroa go back a long way, 1975 the idea was planted and people began to work on it. Many changes in name, funding, driving force and directions later. In 2011 Te Araroa was officially opened, and it grows every year. The trail has had its largest season ever 2016/2017, with approximately 550 hikers attempting. Compared to the PCT where over 700 completed this year.
If you want to read more about New Zealand’s long walk, the good people over at the Te Araroa Trust have plenty of information available https://www.teararoa.org.nz/
Te Araroa roughly translates to ‘the long walkway’. And while I’m yet to set foot on it or one of the American thru-hikes, it is immensely different. New Zealand is a land of rapid change, within a few hours walk you might see beaches, mountains, swamplands, and tussock desserts. Not to mention the weather’s ability to switch just as quickly. But one of the biggest differences in Te Araroa compared to say the PCT, is road walking. There is quite a bit of it… which some people are going to dislike a whole bunch. But some of this road walking takes you through New Zealand’s big cities! Which again, some people aren’t going to be happy about.
Te Araroa is a living trail, with constantly changing routes. Whether it be due to logging, lambing season, or a farmer who has decided he no longer wants hundreds of hikers walking across his farm. Many parts of the trail are hard to follow, hard to navigate, and sometimes dangerous.
This is my country, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.
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