TE ARAROA: NORTH ISLAND

TE ARAROA

The Te Araroa is New Zealand’s newest and longest footpath. It spans a distance of 3,000 km, or 1,900 miles. The trail encompasses the country’s two main islands. It connects the dots between the northern tip of New Zealand (Camp Reinga) and the southern apex (Invercargill). It passes through mesmerizing vistas, from oceanside to alpine meadows to high mountain passes. It navigates a plethora of National Parks including the Tongariro, Nelson Lakes and Arthur’s Pass. In the South Island, the TA traverses along the slopes of the Southern Alps—which are a worldwide rave—in addition to passing alongside the beautiful shores of Lake Tekapo, Pukaki, Ohau, Hawea and Wanaka. I spent four months in NZ, meandering my way along all such aforementioned sights, as well submersing myself into the culture-shock of Auckland, Queenstown, Wellington and Nelson.

While thru-hiking the Te Araroa was my focus, I eventually needed to come to terms that this was a trail very much in it’s infancy. As a result, there was many, many a mile spent on roads on the North Island. Once on the South Island, I decided to forgo any additional pavement for a route more conducive to what I deemed worthy. So, after a huge punch to my ego, I abandoned a purist route for one more scenically ideal.

Visit Te Araroa to learn more.

THE NORTH ISLAND

The Te Araroa is an interesting “trail.” I flew across the world in anticipation of the next best thing and the next best trail. This wasn’t the case, however, and in the end I was left with the feeling that something went awry. Looking over my pictures, I can only continue to feel a sway of emotion. Like that of the tide, I go from high to low, high to low. Perhaps I set my expectations too high—and indeed I did—, as I left feeling a bit left down. In retrospect, NZ did everything it was meant to do for me. But that’s another topic. For now, I will convey the route I hiked, which meanders south from Cape Reinga to the coastal city of Wellington. On the North Island it’s really more of a hodgepodge of beach-walks, dense bush tracks and an overwhelming amount of road-walking. It’s an interesting place for a thru-hiker. That’s all I can say for now.

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