Te Araroa – the long pathway is the world’s newest long trail and its most diverse.
Sometimes you’ll only be a day or two between towns, or you can be up to 8 days in wilderness. In the more populous north there’s usually a campground ahead, and in the more remote south there’s the security of New Zealand’s renowned backcountry huts at the end of any tramping day.
Te Araroa hikers often comment that it’s the contact with the friendly Kiwi culture that makes the trail special. Along with wilderness, the trail takes its walkers through New Zealand towns and settlements and past Maori marae. What the Kiwis call tramping is a traditional and respected skill and New Zealanders are inclined to celebrate the long walkers with invitations into homes en route to share a meal and a story.
Te Araroa means “The Long Path” and so it is. At an average of 25 kms a day, the trail takes 120 days to walk – four months. The North Island route is just over 1,600 km long, and the South Island just under 1,400 km. The trail is best tackled north to south, beginning from the top of the North Island at Cape Reinga in late spring. The traverse of the South Island then falls in mid- to late summer, when the mountain passes are clear of snow, and river levels are low.
If four months is too long out of a busy life, there’s plenty of Te Araroa tracks that you can walk as standalone sections. The Queen Charlotte Track or the Tongariro Crossing are amongst the better-known walks integrated into the route, allowing walkers there the added thrill of the distinctive Te Araroa ti kouka or cabbage tree logo en route. The trail has also opened up many new tracks, like the 3-day Motatapu Alpine Track, which even regular visitors to New Zealand’s track system are unlikely to have yet tackled.
But whether you walk the whole trail or simply set foot on it for a time, Te Araroa is now, since its opening in December 2011, a part of New Zealand’s array of great outdoor opportunities and we invite you to explore and share.
For further details visit the Te Araroa website.