Crossing Aotearoa

Te Araroa, “The Long Pathway”, is a 3000+km long hiking trail spanning New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff. After several decades of struggle for land acces and funding it officially opened in 2011. The trail was created by a kiwi called Geoff Chapel, who led the efforts for it establishment and was the first one to actually walk it. Still today, the trail grows and changes thanks to the enormous effort of volunteers spread over the country, coordinated by the Te Araroa Trust and its regional divisions.

Fun Facts from Te Araroa

  • Trail slogan: Just Go For It!
  • Distance covered: 3202 km (including Stewart Island)
  • Number of walking days: 141
  • Number of resting days: 28
  • Number of nights in a tent: 67
  • Number of nights in a hut: 47
  • Nights in a bed (hostel, motel, holiday park): 44
  • Number of nights in someone’s home: 11

  • 6 monthly weather forecast: fine with showers
  • Average km/day: 21.8
  • Top speed: 8km/h (Frankton Arm Walkway)
  • Slowest speed: 0,5 km/h (Herekino Forest)
  • Longest day (distance): 45 km, from Hamilton Hut to Rakaia south shore at Lake Coleridge Lodge
  • Longest day (time): Pirongia Traverse, 13,5 hours (15km)
  • Longest day (mountains): 34,5 km, from Rakaia South shore to Double Hut
  • Most unproductive day: Fern Burn Hut to high Creek Hut, 6km or 2,5 hours of walking followed by 8 hours of jigsaw puzzling

  • Highest mountain climbed: Mount Ngarauhoe (Mount Doom), 2291m
  • Earliest start: 4.30 AM, Mount Ngarauhoe and Queen Charlotte Track
    sunrise walk
  • Number of replaced gear items: PJ: 2, Eef: 3
  • Number of broken gear items: PJ: 13, Eef: 17
  • Favourite trails: PJ: Waiau Pass, in close line are Whanganui River, Two Thumbs Track, Breast Hill Track, Tararua Ranges
    Eef: Waiau Pass, in close line are Tararua Ranges, Pureora Forest, Kauri Mountain, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Motatapu Alpine Track, Breast Hill Track, Foveaux Walkway
  • Least favourite trails: PJ: Pirongia Traverse, Raetea, Pehitawa Track
    Eef: Pirongia Traverse (thanks to the Hihikiwi trail descent),Bream Head Bay (thanks to Mount Lion)

  • Hardest section (physically): PJ: 90 Mile Beach, Eef: Richmond Ranges
  • Hardest section (mentally): PJ: Herekino, Raetea and Puketi forests
    Eef: Pirongia Traverse to Mangaokewa River walk
  • Number of mental breakdowns: PJ: 2, Eef: 1
  • Number of injuries: PJ: 4, Eef: 3
  • Body changes:
    PJ: Body weight 73 → 63 kg
    Arms 28 → 26 cm                Ass 99 → 91 cm
    Chest 95 → 89 cm               Thighs 53 → 48cm
    Belly 84 → 74,5 cm              Calves 37 → 35,5 cm
    Hips 98 → 88 cm
    Eef: Body weight 72 → 62,5 kg
    Arms 28→ 26,5 cm               Ass 109 → 100 cm
    Chest 90 → 84 cm                Thighs 59 → 51 cm
    Belly 81 → 76 cm                  Calves 37 → 36,5 CM
    Hips 101 → 93,5 cm
  • Favourite huts: Hauhungaroa Hut, Dracophyllum Bivvy, Waitewaewae Hut, Mt. Rintoul Hut, Anne River Hut, Boyle Flat Hut, Hurunui n°3 Hut, John Creek Hut, Goat Pass Hut, Hamilton Hut, Lagoon Saddle A-Frame, Royal Hut, Camp Stream Hut, Highland Creek Hut, Fern Burn Hut

  • Best tenting spot: PJ: The Bluff, 90 Mile Beach, Eef: The Bluff, 90 Mile Beach
  • Funniest tenting spot: PJ: camping in Marie-Louise’s back yard on the Dome to Moirs Hill Track (for the full story, look at the most magical moments below!)
    Eef: on the edge of a little paddock by the roadside between the Brynderwyn and Bream Tail Mangawhai Walkways. We were just making dinner when a fancy SUV comes by, sees us and slows down. We were in a fairly random spot and thought oh ow, now comes trouble. Instead, it stopped right by us, the driver winded down the window and laughed “what’s for dinner?!”
  • Best star sky: 90 Mile Beach, Mangatepopo Hut on Tongariro Plateau
  • Longest section without a shower: PJ: 2 weeks between Whanganui and Wellington
    Eef: 12 days between Havelock and St. Arnaud
  • Average number of pee breaks/day: PJ: 2, Eef: 7
  • Estimated amount of chocolate consumed: 40kg (for two persons)
  • Estimated amount of noodle packages consumed: 768 (for two persons) (=65.28kg of noodles, thank you Jen Rummy for the calculation!)

  • Most magical moment (we split them in two, people and nature):
    PJ: people: standing lost and tired on the side of the road in Warkworth, a car pulls over and asks if we need directions. “Oh hey, and where are you staying tonight?” Minutes later we met the guy in the car’s mother who simply said: “did my son sent you up here? Wonderful! Just pitch your tents there! I’d invite you in for dinner but my sister’s over and I only see her once every 6 months.” Still about half an hour later as we went in to greet them, they greeted us back with home made rolls and hot chocolate. They were such a welcoming, cosy family.
    Nature: after abandoning ship out of the wind and the rain on the second day in the Tararuas, one of the most splendid sunsets was displayed over the ridgelines and peaks as the clouds rolling and swirling in the valleys below turned golden, purple and red. We were about to go to bed but this was postponed
    for about an hour. It was amazing.

    Eef: people: trying to find a campsite on the way to Pataua, we found this beautifully looking grass patch by the side of the road. We dropped off our packs and were ready to start setting up when a women came out of her car. “Are you camping here?”. “We’d like to, if we can?” “Well I don’t mind, but the Scotsman who owns this land will come and yell at you after dark!” She showed us a small bit of conservation land to sleep on, on which her cows had broken out. She asked if we could help her get them back. After thinking I did one hell of a job, it turned out I chased them up the wrong driveway. Ah. Oops. She simply laughed at it, invited us into her home, spread out an entire buffet of food in the afternoon and dinner in the nights and made up her sofa for us to sleep. I believe Waimarie is one of the most amazing people I ever met.

    Nature: the sunrise walk up to Mount Ngarauhoe. The silence while walking over the Tongariro Plateau, completely abandonded, Mount Taranaki burning red in the distance, the golden light filling the crater and freshly falling on Mount Doom, and coming down after such a magical moment as the tourist streams started making their way up, greeting them with a good morning and a merry christmas. Most amazing day on the trail!

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