Te Araroa changed my life walking the length of New Zealand

Te Araroa changed my life walking the length of New Zealand

I get misty eyed when I think about the time I walked from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Here she goes again, friends no doubt think as I wax on about the joys, tribulations and wondrous sights encountered during that 3000km journey down the length of the country.

As far as once in a lifetime trips go, tramping Te Araroa was spectacularly transformative, and the long-lasting effect it had on my life only made it even more memorable. With the world’s current challenges, escaping into the wilds is looking a tempting option again.

Te Araroa trail takes hikers the length of the country, from remote beaches in the North, to back country tracks in the South. Photo / Laura Waters

Long-distance trails are growing in popularity around the world and in 2011 New Zealand launched its own, a linear route that connects a swag of pre-existing trails with a handful of new linking trails. In the north it meanders from west coast to east and back again, via remote beaches, tangled mossy forests, the volcanic desert of Tongariro National Park and knife-edge ridges traversing the Tararua Range. In the south it takes a more direct route over and alongside the dramatic Southern Alps. Roughly once a week, sometimes more often, the trail intersects with a town where hot showers and general stores offer a welcome opportunity to refresh and restock.

The Upper Travers Hut in Nelson Lakes National Park, one of the DoC huts on Te Araroa trail. Photo / Laura Waters

Taking on the entire route will give you a

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