The Te Araroa Trail is a 3000 km tramping (hiking) trail the length of New Zealand from the northern tip at Cape Reinga to the southern end at Bluff. The trail is on beaches, jungles, farmland, volcanoes, rivers, mountains and forests. It is physically demanding with steep hills and mountains and the trails are rough, and at times unmarked, that require careful navigation. Please go to the Advice page for more detail on the trail, especially for overseas hikers. The main resource for all trail information is at www.teararoa.org.nz.
While many have conceptualized a trail the length of New Zealand there were many failures along the way. In 1975 the NZ Walkways Commission made a start on a long walk but was defeated. Then in 1995 the Department of Conservation put the concept in their Walkways Policy but that also did not get enough support. In 1994 at the instigation of Geoff Chapple the Te Araroa Trust was formed and the determined team started to make progress leading to the first section of trail being opened in 1995 by the Prime Minister and the full Te Araroa was officially opened December 3rd, 2011 by the Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Jerry Mateparae.
When I walked the trail in 2014/15 it was still very new and there were only around 200 people who completed the trail that year. Since then the trail has been gaining popularity and the numbers are almost doubling each year, leading to more challenges by the dedicated Trail team.
The trail is administered by the Te Araroa Trust and eight regional trusts, each responsible for the design, land permissions, marking and maintenance of the trail. The majority of those involved in keeping the trail alive are volunteers. The funds for the trail come from donations from the walkers and various community and government funds.
I walked the trail from 29 October 2014 to 19 February 2015, taking 114 days to complete it.