I’ve written guides for all of my previous hikes that cover all the important information – permits, trailheads, transportation, etc. I’m not going to do that for the Te Araroa (“TA”), though, for a couple of reasons.
First of all, the full TA runs end-to-end across New Zealand’s North and South Islands and takes anywhere from 4-6 months to complete. In doing so, it combines dozens of individual sections that each require their own preparation and planning. The “what you need to know” is far more than can be crammed into a single blog post.
The second, and more important, reason that I’m not going to write a “how to” is that other people have already done it. And they did it much better than I would have.
Instead, what I’ll do is point you to the places where you can find the reams of information you’ll need to plan and then hike your own trip on New Zealand’s Long Pathway.
Te Araroa Official Site – This site is maintained by the Te Araroa Trust, the organization that built and manages the trail. You’ll find nearly everything you need to know to hike the trail there. Keep an eye out for the TA maps prepared by Kirstine Collins (more below) that have the trail notes integrated into them. They’re amazingly handy.
Te Araroa Wiki – Anything you don’t find about the trail on the official site, you’ll find here. The site is intended to supplement the official page and has quite a bit of useful information, including a dated but helpful worksheet on resupply points.
Official TA Walking Guide – Geoff Chapple, the driving force behind the creation of the TA, has put together a great book on the trail. It is described as a guidebook. Due to both its bulky size and the fact that the trail is still evolving so rapidly, however, it’s not a practical guide to take on the trail with you.
TA Walker Blogs
As you would expect for a crowd of people undertaking up to half a year of hiking, many of the walkers in the TA trail community keep blogs. These can be an amazing source of information for people who want to follow in their footsteps. Yes, I know, literally.
My personal favorites are:
Justin and Patrice – Two of my hiking buddies who completed both the North and the South Islands. They’re great and great hikers. Already veterans of the Appalachian Trail in the United States, they have thousands of trail miles under their boots. They did an excellent job of posting regularly about life on the trail on their “Life Less Ordinary” blog.
Kirstine Collins – I never met Kirstine. She finished a few weeks before I did, but she was well known on the trail for writing highly detailed posts about the logistics of each TA section. Very useful stuff.
More blogs from TA walkers are available here.
The TA Facebook Group
Each TA hiking season has its own Facebook group. For my hike, it was the “Te Araroa 2014-15” group. There is also a general “Te Araroa” group. These groups are a goldmine. They are an excellent tool for finding up-to-date information on the trail and for communicating with other hikers, especially those who are ahead of you and have completed sections that you need to prepare for.
That’s everything you need to start your own Te Araroa adventure. If you find it’s not, though, just drop me a line in the comments and I’ll help you get started.