For all posts Auckland related and the trail journals follow the links below;




For all posts Northland related, follow the links below;

Cape Reinga – Ahipara

The Northern Forests

Mangakaretu to Kerikeri

Kerikeri – Waitangi

Pahia to Opua Coastal Walkway

Waikare Connection

Russell Forest to Whangarei Heads

Bream Bay Walk

Day 2; Kahuterawa Reserve – Tararua Forest Park Boundary

4.5 hours.

Today we set off from our awesome wee camping spot up the road to the start of the Back Track. I was in high hopes of seeing my brother and his girlfriend up here mountain biking as they come here often – but no such sighting. There were plenty of other mountain bikers about though, its a bit of a haven area for them.

The trek up the Back Track was familiar territory for me seen as I hail from Palmerston North until near the top (where I never made it faster than my brothers speedy turnaround). We stopped enroute for a snack (someone put that chair there so we better pay respect and use it – lol).

We came out of the bush near the top to follow Scotts road till the start of the forestry area that leads you to the Tararua Forest Park Boundary. We passed a couple of hunters heading out at the end of the weekend.Ā It was a cracker day and we got stocked with water to camp at the top of the hill by the stile stairs.

We had a cracker view at this campsite out along where we had come and out over the Manawatu Plains. We were nestled pretty much behind Tokomaru, but it was out of sight due to the ridgeline in front of us.

Day 1; Palmerston North – Kahuterawa Reserve

4 hours.

Today we headed off from the Massey University carpark off to the hills after being dropped off by most awesome mumĀ šŸ™‚ Its a pretty easy track which takes you off behind the university and past the sports institute before heading past rural farmland.

We passed plenty of local walkers and runners and also a gentleman who was about to set off for a section of the Te Araroa in the coming week or two – we joked that we would see him as he passed with our leisurely pace lol.

We called it a day at the Kahuterawa Reserve as it was the most suitable place to camp, with a water supply (river), and toilets. Also, a resident chicken ….. lucky for him it was day one and we were in no short supply of food yet!

Heading away from Massey.
Along Old West road.
First river crossing! šŸ™‚
Track along Turitea Road.
Kahuterawa Reserve.

Over & Out! :)

Just yesterday we set off for Bluff from Palmerston North, reporting from the Back Track we are back into our leisurely pace and stoked to be back out here again!

Hope we see some of you out here and hope you all enjoy the journey šŸ™‚

Keep an eye out for our posts, I’ll keep the blog updated along the way to keep everyone up to date and give you a glimpse of what’s ahead šŸ™‚

Hasta Luego Amigos,

Sharlene & Neil šŸ™‚

Te Araroa – Hiking Food For The Longer Stretches….

Food always takesĀ a bit of planning, particularly for the long stretches, and particularly for long distance hiking.

There is plenty of strategies, and as many personal preferences for what people take with them.

I think for most its getting the best amount of fuel (calories), macro nutrients (fats, carbs, protein etc), and vitamins and minerals for your weight (and hard earned cash). Also food for happiness is also important.

Carbohydrates are an obvious important fuel source, particularly for short term energy. Fats are equally important and they come into play as more important for longer term energy. As we all know we also need our vitamins and minerals for an array of healthy body functions and optimum energy (important to us hikers).

Loading up on fresh foods and copious amounts of calories while passing through townships is also a goodĀ strategy used by many.

For me, I’ve played around with a lot of different food lists for the long stretches on my section hikes to date, and have myĀ list for this section hike at the end of this post.

My strategy is as light as possible, at a reasonable price, with a good coverage of macro and micro nutrients. I team this with the nutrient/calorie loading in township technique, and the added bonus of having a few kg’s to lose anyway. I’m also considering a multivitamin but am not sure at this point whether this is necessary.

I have my carbs and fats covered with pasta, couscous, seeds and nuts. Dried peasĀ  in my couscous make a vitamin C contribution, and cheese for a bit of calcium. There is an array of micro nutrients in the nuts and seeds. The mochas and chocolate are my happiness foods – which are equally important in moderation.

For a total weight of about 5kgs (and under $10 a day), I have about 2000 calories per day which is low, but coupled with some weight to lose, and overeating in townships and shorter stretches I’m quite happy with this list for a 10 day stretch (worse stretch encountered on the Te Araroa).

Check out my long stretch (10day) food list below, I hope it helps. If you have any questions or comments – fire away.

10 Day Stretch Food List:

760g Quick cook spaghetti

10 x Cheese sauce pkts

1000g Wholeweat couscous

640g Peas (reconstituted weight)

6 x Soup sachet (3serve pack)

10 x Mocha sachet

20 x Teabags

12 x Tortillas

250g Cheese

400g Prunes

10 x Vitasport electrolyte sachets

1 x Pkt barley sugars

3 x 250g chocolate

50g Brazil nuts

120g Pistachios

100g Pumpkin seeds

70g Pinenuts

100g Sunflower seeds

Periperi seasoning

Te Araroa; Smaller Scale Planning – Helpful Links – North to South

I made a post previously that had the major helpful links and information sources. This page is for other links which are totally nitty gritty but equally helpful….

This information is a work in progress and is the type of information that can change….. let me know if you see something that’s no longer current.

Hope it helps and welcome to ask questions …..

North Island:

Gabrielle is amazing. Need saving from the longest most boring section of the ninety mile beach?? Stay here! There’s accommodation here from camping to B&B. They also make there own cider and its delicious – check it out šŸ™‚

This is where we stayed in Ahipara. The owners are awesome. They have spa bath units here if you are aching and dying from the epic walk down the beach. They also have a licensed restaurant onsite that does amazing food, and the best affagatto I’ve had in New Zealand šŸ™‚ Even if you don’t stay here its worth visiting the restaurant for a meal – it’s open to anyone and is very relaxed with views all the way back up the beach where you have come from.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a spa bath, we recommend staying here. We stayed a week in our caravan during the winter and its a fantastic campsite. Free wifi even šŸ™‚

After exiting the Russell Forest this campsite is within a couple of kms of the trail. There is a small store on the way where you will be able to buy most things also, including beer šŸ™‚ This will help break up a long day through to Whananaki.

We used Mark to help us across the Ngunguru Estuary area. It will cost you some money but if that’s ok give him a call. Totally recommend him – he made us sandwiches, and brought gingernuts :). It’s alsoĀ the best option I’m aware of and avoids a very long walk. We had a lot of fun, until this point I had no idea I could kayak that far!

Accomodation at Pataua South. They do B&B but also have an awesome little cabin for Te Araroa hikers (for a donation from memory). When we stayed the owner was away walking the Te Araroa trail to raise awareness for kidney donation.

This link has contact details for man named Dougie. He has a boat named Meg and will get you across Whangarei Harbour for a good price. You can camp here or utilize the cottage accommodation as well for equally good prices. He is a good man and I totally recommend popping by.

You’ll pass this spot a few hours after ‘The Dome’. Accommodation options range from camping to private room in the barn. Meals are also available and are delicious!! There is a fantastic pool you can use also. Awesome spot to stop šŸ™‚

This pub is at Puhoi, just north of Waiwera. You have to stop here, if only for a beer. The character inside this pub is insane! They do accommodation and good food too.

Need some hot pools as you pass Waiwera?? This is where they are. There is a campsite at the Wenderholm Regional Park just prior to getting here (30mins walk). They bottle their water here too, if you are a believer that not all water is created equal – this is pretty good water šŸ™‚

Camping at Orewa Beach?? In my opinion this spot is a brilliant alternative to the top 10 park – cheaper too.

Stillwater boat club. Arrive here after 4pm and you’ll be able to enjoy a great meal and some cold beverages. Great company here too – the locals are amazing people! ThereĀ also happens to beĀ a campsiteĀ  a few hundred more metres down the road where you can stay in the hall or put up a tent for free! (In case you need convincing to stay and drink cold beverages)

Great pub!! We tented in the backyard for cheap and they do all you can eat pizza and pasta on a Monday from 6pm!! Totally recommend! šŸ™‚

These are the links for the ferry companys who cross the cook straight. I currently have a preference for Bluebridge as they offer a sleeper service for only an extra $20ppĀ (avoids paying for accommodation in Wellington). They also have free wifi.

South Island:

This page will give you prices for your Queen Charlotte Track pass and lists the places you can buy it.

These are the water taxi companys for getting between Picton and Ship Cove. The best deal at the moment is through ‘Beachcomber Cruises’ who operate under Cougarline. They do a deal for Te Araroa hikers – $50 Picton – Ship Cove, on a handful of scheduled services. Direct dial for ‘Beachcomber Cruises’ is (03)5736175..

Accommodation, restaurant, and hot pools on the Lewis Pass. Complete with genuine Japanese Bathhouse (segregated bathing – togs optional). This isn’t cheap but I do think its a good price for what it is. They do a package with accommodation, full dinner, cooked breakfast, and use of hot pools and bathhouse for $249. A favourite spot of mine.

Hitch hike here from Twizel. The hot tubs are brilliant – wood fired & private, around a small lake, open till late for star gazing while bathing šŸ™‚ Theres a campsite down the road if you need it before returning to Twizel.

When you pass through Queenstown you have to eat one of these burgers. They are big and delicious!!! Just what you’ll need. Fergburgers reputation preceeded itself more than once when I crossed the Motutapu Trail in my first section hike in 2012. Its a little bit famous. Expect a queue.

Track transport to the start of the track (south end of Lake Wakitipu). If you hitch to Glenorchy and take the shuttle from there it will be cheaper. It’s a long walk otherwise. There are other companys but this is the one I’ve got written down, there is negligible price difference between companys from memory.

Top Planning Resources for the Te Araroa

Let’s be honest, the Te Araroa trail is not just a physical and mental challenge, logistically, its a challenge too.

The people who come before us are a tremendous help, they are a wealth of knowledge and have often compiled information that is invaluable to the rest of us.

There are also websites out there that make planning easier too and I thought I’d share the most helpful links I have found for the big picture planning of my Te Araroa. I have another post I’m putting together at the moment which will contain the helpful links I’ve found for myĀ more in depth planning.

I’m forever coming across them so if and when I find more I’ll update this post.

Hope its helpful, and feel free to ask questions, as always šŸ™‚

Most helpful websites…

First and foremost is the Te Araroa trusts official website. This is the latest greatest information, and a trip simply cannot be planned without it. No other source has the most up to date information – this one always will. Refer to it frequently for updates. It containsĀ most importantly the maps, the trail notes, and a raft of other information such as news, blogs, FAQ’s and more …

If youĀ need to ask aĀ real person a question, this is the place. This facebook group is the main group set up for Te Araroa enthusiasts; those who have walked the trail, those about to, those who are simply passionate about the trail, and sometimes those who offer help and services. Put your question up here and you get a raft of answers from a heap of people. There are also some particularly helpful files available on this group page which have been compiled by an array of helpful people – check them out.

TheseĀ are a favourite of mine. Its the work of DOC and is the complete topographical map of NZ complete with whatever features are useful for you. If you use the advanced viewer (2nd link)Ā it has some additional more complex features although its only able to be used on your desktop. The first link to the standard maps is able to be used on your desktop, tablet, and mobile phone.

It has everything you really could need to know mapwise. It has the huts & tracks, and multiple other useful information. It happens to haveĀ a handy feature of overlaying the map with public conservation boundarys (handy if you need to know wether you can camp or not – public vs private land). Do use this overlay feature in conjunction with other sources though, as despite being able to camp on most conservation land there are some rules and exceptions in some places (most notably around great walks, but elsewhere also).

This website is a forum for capturing information that would otherwise be lost down facebook/blogĀ feeds, and what not. It’s put together by a lady called Linda and its a fantastic resource!! To be honest, without this type of resource oodles of invaluable information would be much harder to find.

This page has all the information you need on how to pay for the huts. It also lets you know where you can obtain passes or tickets. Hands down in my opinion the backcountry hut pass (6 monthes or 12 monthesĀ depending on the length of your Te Araroa adventure) is the absolute best option. By this I mean the cheapest. There is one hut I’m aware of (Mangatepopo Hut on the Tongariro Crossing) that this won’t cover. Also, not only will it cover all your Te Araroa hut needs…. if you want to wander off on a side trip it will cover most of those huts too (there are some exceptions on the sidetrips side of things but not a lot).

Most helpful blogs….

Firstly, this is my favourite. Probably the most helpful thing about this blog is the amount of video footage. This couple have gone to a lot of effort to film their journey, and often before doing any of the Te Araroa, I just wanted to see visually what it would be like in more ways than a photo can show. It’s also very entertaining – they have a fantastic sense of humour. It can be a little hard to view and scroll through though….

Most helpful Instagram feeds…..

@thereisnohorizon – This is my feed its brand new and I’m in the process of reconstructing what I’ve walked so far (approx. 2/3) and will add to it as I walk more. When I’ve walked everything and I walk it again just for fun, I’ll add stuff too. After that I’ll likely do itĀ just once more.Ā Ill also add photos from any short hikes I do on the trail as well. (Want to see more of NZ along the way?? …. check out @nzgemstreasures for all amazing NZ places both on and off the trail!)

@philosotramp – I’ve followed this feed from its inception – this guy is great!!! Check out his Te Araroa adventure as well. Currently off trail too due to the forces of nature he’ll be back at it in December 2016!!

Most helpful books…

A walking guide to New Zealands long trail: Te Araroa. Geoff Chapple.

For an overview of the trail before you get into the real nitty gritty of planning, get this book. It’s fantastic. It has trackĀ descriptions, history, great photos and maps. Reading through this guideĀ you can’t help but begin to become excited about the massive adventure that is Te Araroa! šŸ™‚

Te Araroa – How long will it take?

Lastly, I think one of the third most asked questions, is based around how long it will take. The Te Araroa guidebook puts the average time at 120 – 150 days. IĀ believe the fastest known timeĀ was byĀ Jez Bragg in 53 days, 9hours, and 1minute!Ā The first person to set a record did so only briefly earlier than Jezz and did it inĀ 65 days (Richard Bowles).

Interested? Check outĀ his blog …

And you could of course take as long as you liked.

Given our experience so far, if time, money, and visa’s were no issue I’d highly recommend doing it over a year. It’s an amazing journey with a myriad of side trips you could do. The more time you have, the more you can slow down and really enjoy it (stop to smell the ferns).

Stop at that bay for two nights. Stay to eat more mussels. Spend two nights at a hut with a fantastic view with a chance to really soak up that remoteness. Check out that track that heads up that other valley. Spend some time with a good bunch of people you meet along the way. And so goes the endless list of ways to add to the experience with more time.

Of course, not everyone has that option, and to do what you can with the time and resources you have is the most important thing. It’s an amazing adventureĀ regardless ofĀ how long you have.

We spent 3 monthes doing Cape Reinga – Waitomo and had a great time spending days off in some of the places we love. We are setting off to do Palmerston North – Bluff in a weeks time and are giving ourselves 4 monthes before we have to end our year off and go back to work like everyone else (dark dark times).

I thought it could be interesting to show our plan in case it is useful for others in regards to planning purposes. It includes a few side trips, and also a couple of alternative routes where we have already beenĀ along the Te Araroa routeĀ (namely in the Nelson Lakes area).

Its a flexi-plan as we like to call it, and in many places we could put days together, take an extra side trip, or take days off. We have some contingency routes up our sleeves in case we get to areas we cannot pass (due snow conditions etc). It’s set out resupply – resupply based on what works best for us.

Check it out …. And of course, as usual, if you have any questions fire away šŸ™‚

Palmerston North – Waikenae (10days)

Fitz Bridge – Burtons Track (6)

– End of Burtons Track (6)

– Poads Road (6-7)

– Waiopehu Hut (4-5)

– Te Matawai Hut (4)

– Dracophyllum Hut (4-5)

– Waitewaewae Hut (4-5)

– Parawai Hut (4-6)

– Waikenae (Reikorangi Road) (8)

Waikenae – Wellington (4days)

Waikenae (Reikorangi Road) – Paekakariki (6-7)

– Elsdon Camp (Porirua)Ā (5)

– Wellington Ferry (8) *

– Spare Day

*We are skipping the city to sea section as I have already done it.

Picton – Havelock (5days)

Picton – Schoolhouse Bay (2)

– Camp Bay (7)

– Cowshed Bay (8)

– Davies Bay (7)

– Havelock (5-6)

Havelock – Stoke (7days)

Havelock – Pelorous Bridge (5)

– Captains Creek Hut (8)

– Roebuck Hut (6)

– Middy Creek Hut (4)

– Rocks Hut (3)

– Stoke (5)

– Spare Day

Stoke – St Arnaud (10days)

Stoke – Browning Hut (9)

– Starveall Hut (5.5)

– Old Man Hut (7.5)

– Rintoul Hut (5)

– Tarn Hut (4.5)

– Top Wairoa Hut (8.5)

– Hunters Hut (5)

– Porters Creek Hut (4)

– Red Hills Hut (5)

– St Arnaud (4.5)

St Arnaud – St Arnaud (Sidetrip) (4days)

St Arnaud – Bushline Hut (3)

– Angelus Hut (5)

– Bushline Hut (5)

– St Arnaud / Speargrass HutĀ (3+3)

St Arnaud – Lewis Pass (10days)

St Arnaud – D’Urville Hut (3+6.5)

– Mt Misery Hut (? – approx. 3-4)

– Morgan Hut (? + 4)

– George Lyon (Ella) Hut (4)

– Blue Lake Hut (7.5)

– Waiau Forks / Caroline Biv (6-8+3)

– Lake Guyon Hut (6)

– Ada Pass Hut (6)

– Lewis Pass (Maruia) (6)

– Spare Day

Lewis Pass – Hanmer Springs (1day)

Hitch to Resupply and rest (?)

Hanmer Springs – Arthurs Pass (10days)

Hanmer Springs – Hope Kiwi Hut (Hitch +6.5-8)

– Hurunui Hut (5-6)

– Hurunui #3 Hut (4-5)

– Locke Stream Hut (7)

– Carroll Hut (8-10)

– Dillons Homestead Hut (2)

– Carroll Hut (2)

– Upper Deception Hut (8)

– Arthurs Pass (7)

– Spare Day

Arthurs Pass – Rakaia Gorge (5days)

Arthurs Pass – Bealey Spur Hut (4)

– Lagoon Saddle Hut (4-5)

– Hamilton Hut (5)

– Harper Road (5-6)

– Rakaia Gorge (5-6+hitch)

Rakaia Gorge – Methven – Rakaia Gorge (1day)

Hitch to Methven for Resupply & rest day at the gorge (?)

Rakaia Gorge – Tekapo (10days)

Rakaia Gorge – A Frame Hut (hitch+2)

– Comyns Hut (3)

– Double Hut (6-8)

– Hukatere Heron Road (3-4)

– Hukatere Potts Bridge (4-6)

– Crooked Spur Hut (4)

– Stone Hut (5)

– Campstream Hut (8)

– Tekapo (8)

– Spare Day

Tekapo – Twizel (4days)

Tekapo – Telegraph Hut (3)

– Pines Camp (8)

– Twizel (3)

– Spare Day

Twizel – Lake Hawea (10days)

Twizel – Greta Lodge Hut (8)

– Lake Middleton (8)

– Shearers Hut (1day)

– Hideaway Hut (1day)

– Top Timaru Hut (7-8)

– Stodys Hut (6.5-8)

– Pakituhi Hut (3-5)

– Moonlight & Roses Hut (8)

– Lake Hawea (6)

– Spare Day

Lake Hawea – Albert Town (1day)

Lake Hawea – Albert Town Camp (4-6)

Albert Town – Arrowtown (8days)

Albert Town – Roys Peak (6)

– Stacks Conservation Land (7)

– Fern Burn Hut (3)

– Highland Creek Hut (4)

– Roses Hut (5-6)

– Macetown (4-5)

– Arrowtown (4-5)

– Spare Day

Arrowtown – SH94 (Te Anau) (9days)

Arrowtown – Sam Summers Hut (5+3)

–Ā Heather Jock Hut (hitch+3-4)

– McIntyre Hut (3)

– Greenstone Hut (3-4+3-5)

– Taipo Hut (4-5)

– Careys Hut (5-6)

– Kiwi Burn Hut (6-7)

– SH 94 (Te Anau) (7+hitch)

– Spare Day

Te Anau – Te Anau (Sidetrip) (5days)

Te Anau – Luxmore Hut (5)

– Iris Burn Campsite (5)

– Shallow Bay Hut (8)

– Te Anau (5)

– Spare Day

SH94 (Te Anau) – Riverton (9days)

SH94 (Te Anau) – Aparima Hut (hitch+6-7)

– Lower Wairekei Hut (6)

– Telford Campsite (4)

– Woodlaw Peak (9)

– Bald Hill (11)

– Martins Hut (7)

– Roundhill CP Area (9)

– Riverton (4-5)

– Spare Day

Riverton – Bluff (3days)

Riverton – Invercargill (1day)

– Bluff (1day)

– Spare Day

CelebrationsĀ & return to the real world …. sigh …. šŸ™‚ :/ šŸ˜¦ (until nextĀ adventure! :))

Te Araroa – The ultimate New Zealand adventure :)

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