Te Araroa Trail

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Te Araroa (The Long Pathway) is New Zealand's long distance tramping route, stretching circa 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) along the length of the country's two main islands from Cape Reinga to Bluff. It is made up of a mixture of older tracks and walkways, new tracks, and link sections alongside roads.[1] Tramping the full length of the trail generally takes three to six months. It is becoming increasingly popular.

Te Araroa sign in front of Telegraph Hut


The idea of a national walkway goes back to the 1970s, when it was first advocated for by the Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand and in 1975 the New Zealand Walkways Commission was established,[2] but in 15 years made little progress.[3] In 1994, journalist Geoff Chapple advocated a New Zealand-long walking track, and founded Te Araroa Trust.[3][4] Advocacy and negotiations for access continued, and by 2006 plans for the trail began being part of local government plans.[5] The 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) route officially opened on 3 December 2011 after 10 years of work by hundreds of volunteers.[6] Construction coordinated by the trust is ongoing.

The trail has approximately 300 sections ranging from walks of one to two hours through to an approximately nine-day route in the South Island where most trampers haul large amounts of food and gear. Forty per cent of the trail crosses conservation land, and the Government allocated $3.8 million for development of new sections of the trail on conservation land in 2007.[7]

Walking the trail[edit]

Stirling Point, Te Araroa's southern terminus in Bluff

The straight-line distance from Cape Reinga to Bluff is 1475 km, but the Te Araroa stretches roughly 3000 km, varying in distance when sections are upgraded or otherwise changed. Many parts of the trail are challenging. In these sections, trip planning, river crossing and navigation skills are recommended, as well as a good level of fitness and heavy boots.[8]

Most through-hikers take between three and six months for a complete trip.[9] The full trail was completed in 53 days by British ultra-marathoner Jez Bragg with a dedicated support crew during the 2012–13 season.[10][11]

With the exception of a short section of the Queen Charlotte Track at the trail's northern terminus in the South Island,[9] neither permit nor fee is required to walk Te Araroa. However, the Te Araroa Trust requests a donation of $500 per person tramping the full trail, $250 for those walking one island only, and smaller amounts for section hikers.[9] Most through-hikers pay only $92 for a six-month Department of Conservation Backcountry Hut Pass allowing them to sleep in New Zealand's extensive network of back-country huts.


Te Araroa Trail sign.jpg
  1. ^ "Breast Hill track open for trampers". Otago Daily Times. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  2. ^ "New Zealand Walkways Act 1975 (1975 No 31)". Nzlii.org. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Te Araroa – The Long Pathway opening | The Governor-General of New Zealand Te Kawana Tianara o Aotearoa". Gg.govt.nz. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Te Araroa: Take a very long hike". The New Zealand Herald. 6 September 2001. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  5. ^ "New Zealand's Trail – Overview & History". Te Araroa. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  6. ^ "New Zealand's Trail – Home". Te Araroa. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Up to 150km to be added to Te Araroa Walkway". Scoop.co.nz. 27 May 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  8. ^ "The first man to die on the Te Araroa Trail", Charles Anderson, 25 December 2015, Stuff.co.nz
  9. ^ a b c "New Zealand's Trail – FAQ". Te Araroa. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  10. ^ Winner of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in 2010
  11. ^ "Record run". Wildernessmag.co.nz. 8 February 2013.

External links[edit]