TE ARAROA: NORTH ISLAND
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.
Some thick-as-get-up bush.
An easy walk up an ol’ creek.
Still trying to get used to this. I think my biggest hazard is not getting hit by traffic…
Fresh off the tree!
Climbing up one of the earlier waterfalls.
Try hiking up this for 2 hours, only to have to turn back…
Camping on Jan and Mike’s lawn.
Some road walking ain’t so bad.
And back to the bush…
Footbridge over an estuary. Thank goodness.
NZ’s pancakes are more like crepes, unlike the massive absorbers that the US makes. I do miss those absorbers tho….
Yup, the trail is straight ahead. Good luck.
These steps go on forever.
Time to catch a ride across the harbor!
I think the texture of all this beach has certainly been a highlight.
6:15AM: Waipu RIver crossing
Time to drink some wine!
Girl’s best friends.
Can you spot the trail through here. CAUTION: It’a not recommended to get lost in here. It’s thick!
This is our detour. Good views at least.
Annie pickin blackberried
Fish and Chips!
The jolly bartender thought this one up.
Hibiscis Coastal Rt
You wouldn’t think there was a pub in there!
The last picture my camera took before it “retired…”
This was a reassuring sign whilst in the thick bush.
One of the trail markers in a web of vines and mini plat-life.
Hunua Range at morning.
Southern Lookout at sunrise. Overlooking Waikato River and city of Hamilton.
Homemade pizza and fresh veggie’s from David’s garden. What a treat! That and a nice cold brew!
That’s what a month worth of hiking will do to shoes, socks and feet.
View from Pirongia Forest Park.
I’m always so thankful for this markers after a rugged bush walk.
Waihaha Hut, Huahungo Range.
Rinsing socks in the creek.
YOU ARE HERE
Silva, and a much smarter way of travel…
The view before the ascent up Tongariro.
I started very early, hoping the weather would be okay. 5AM.
Windy, foggy…. where am I?
No joke, that woman is wrapped in a blanket…
Keeping the elements on the outside with my Patagonia M10 jacket.
Nico, from Germany at the Mangetopop Hut.
I forgot what it felt like to have some tread.
I never stop loving this!
A world different than the wet and cold mountain.
Morning at Whakahoro.
Don waiting for a lift.
Day 1 on the river.
Misting morning, but not for long!
Bridge to Nowhere. Google this. It’s a cool story.
Kiwi’s are genious. Look at this way to taost your bread..
Brent, the Kaitiaki at Tieke Marae.
Erika amongst the first sign of fall!
Standing above the Whanganui River, with rental bike.
The baby deer at the hostel, with Erika.
These are the folks I bought the bike from.
Matt, the hostel owner, preparing a big old dinner in the wok.
Planning out the next week of travels
Me climbing. I dropped my camera 20-feet down a steep scree slope trying to get this shot.
Mt Ruapeho toward the south. Boy I would’ve enjoyed a cold Hop Valley up there.
View above Teal Lakes from summit.
Don’t mess with us!
This is my new hat, by the way. I think it suits me well.
Errol, vyv and nick
Brian and Rachel at the Fork & Brewery