Te Araroa Trail
North Island to South Island, New Zealand
Start: Cape Reinga, North Island
End: Bluff, South Island
Distance: 1,863 miles (2,999 km)
Time: 4 months
Surface: Beaches, Mountain and Forest Trails, Sealed Pathways
New Zealanders simply call Te Araroa Trail the “Long Pathway,” and on it you can be anywhere from one or two days between towns to a week or more in total wilderness. Accommodation will range in style from typically welcoming campgrounds to isolated mountain and backcountry huts. You will be walking an average of is miles (24 km) a day and “tramping it”-what the locals here call hiking-for four months, walking 994 miles (l,600 km) across the North Island and almost 869 miles (1,399 km) through the South Island. Beaches, volcanoes, forests, cities, rivers, and fields-by the time you are done walking the Te Araroa Trail, you will feel like there isn’t a peak, valley, or farmer’s field left that you haven’t been a part of.
Most decide to walk the Te Araroa Trail from north to south, starting in early spring at Cape Reinga on the Aupouri Peninsula and ending at Bluff, New Zealand’s southern-most town (if you don’t count Oban on Stewart island), negotiating the South island’s Southern Alps after the winter snows have melted.
Planning for the Te Araroa Trail began as an idea in 1975 to create a Pennine Way-type scenic trail. By 2003, segments had been opened, but the trail was far from complete, a fact that didn’t stop a few people from walking it, anyway. The trail was officially opened in 2011, and it has proven one of the greatest adventures you can have in a country that prides itself on providing memorable outdoor experiences. New exciting side-trails have also been opened, such as the three-day Motatapu Alpine Trek, just one of hundreds of options on this tramp of a lifetime.
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