New Zealand’s newest and longest trail is the Te Araroa trail. Te Araroa was officially opened by the Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae on 3 December 2011. The 3000 km route stretches from Cape Reinga in the North of NZ to Bluff in the South. It takes in spectacular NZ landscapes from beaches to volcanoes to forests to cities.
Most of Te Araroa’s through-walkers will start their epic journey at Cape Reinga at the northern end of the North Island. It’s a spiritual place, so very fitting for what lies ahead. The Far North is a remote region with long, lonely stretches of sand facing the Tasman Sea and forests of dense bush, steep hills and fast-rising rivers. The relaxed and friendly towns on the way provide a perfect contrast and comfort for the weary tramper – showing off the classic kiwi lifestyle in which seaside holidays are a birth right.
Adventure Puketi guides often meet trail walkers during their walk through Puketi. The DOC Camp site at Puketi Forest HQ has been up graded to cater for Te Araroa walkers.
The number of walkers is increasing every year, and it benefits small businesses on the trail, like the cafes, dairies, campsites and other enterprises along the trail. Businesses like the Mangamuka Dairy, one of the few places walkers can re- supply as they pass between Raetea and Omahuta Forests in the north. The owner said it has a huge impact on business.
Trail Overview (from the Te Araroa website)
Te Araroa is the ultimate 5-month New Zealand experience, but also offers section tramps lasting anything from a few days to a week or more, and many attractive day or overnight walks. It is a different kind of trail from the traditional back-country tramping tracks. Te Araroa connects settlements, townships and cities. It’s a corridor that encourages social and economic transactions en route – for marae stays and other cultural experiences, also food and accommodation. The track corridor showcases a wide variety of New Zealand experiences – natural, cultural, and historic.
Te Araroa’s boundaries are the natural boundaries of New Zealand itself. It starts and is brought to a natural halt against the sea. En route it explores New Zealand’s tombolos, its volcanoes, its range and mountain uplift, its rivers, lakes and valleys. Successful long trails overseas generally have a geographic and geological unity. Te Araroa’s variety is underpinned by the mightiest geology of all – tectonic plate subduction. When walking New Zealand, you are walking also the Pacific Plate boundary or – at least sometimes – along the Rim of Fire.
To register for the trail https://www.teararoa.org.nz/trailregistration/