Te Araroa – The Long Pathway

See Te Araroa

Te Araroa : The Long Pathway

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. Tramping the full length of the trail generally takes three to six months. Rose and I walked the full length between October 2020 and February 2021, read about that journey here.

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, but in 15 years made little progress. In 1994, journalist Geoff Chapple advocated a New Zealand-long walking track, and founded Te Araroa Trust. Advocacy and negotiations for access continued, and by 2006 plans for the trail began being part of local government plans. The 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) route officially opened on 3 December 2011 after 10 years of work by hundreds of volunteers. Construction coordinated by the trust is ongoing.

The straight-line distance from Cape Reinga to Bluff is 1,475 km (917 mi), but the Te Araroa stretches roughly 3,000 km (1,864 mi), varying in distance when sections are upgraded or otherwise changed. The trail is a mix of tracks, including wilderness tracks, paths through paddocks, beaches, roads, and highways, as well as a section which is a river and must be kayaked. Many parts of the trail are challenging. In these sections, trip planning, river crossing and navigation skills are recommended.