There’s a lot of information about Te Araroa, blogs from hikers who have completed either sections or the entire journey to provide a good insight to the real world of long-distance hiking in New Zealand. You can see previous TA hikers trips on the following website. Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail — Trail stories
I’ve worked out there’s only one way for me and that is to just head south! There are many options to cover the 3,000km it’s not quite as simple as follow the markers and head south. We all walk at a different pace and there are many options for accommodation along the way. The route is continually being upgraded and developed so there are many variables depending on factors like the weather and the terrain.
The connector routes (stages between the official tracks) for me are the most challenging to understand. I found the most valuable resource the official website Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail — The trail.
My experience in surviving a long-distance hike is limited. I don’t belong to a tramping club and have never been on a hike of more than 4 days. I have spent a few weeks in the bush on fishing expeditions and fished most New Zealand rivers yet this is something different and those trips were a long time ago.
I have learnt my walking pace over a few practice hikes throughout the year and have read blogs and posts of last seasons Te Araroa hikers, so I get a good idea of what I’m in for. Their challenges and enjoyment of a long and repetitive walk gives a raw picture of the decisions that regularly have to be made.
Along with the mental game in hiking your own hike is survival and the accomplishment of a safe journey for all on the track. I’m hoping that I remember key points on the Kaimai Ranges survival course I did in April.
It covered honest route preparation and navigation skills. Also important to remember is how to make good water crossing decisions and do the right things if I loose the track markers.
Fire making: I rocked that part of the course, I’ll call on the fire making skills developed as a kid at home in the lounge and dining room grates.
Testing the water is boiling
I have a basic idea of how long it should take me to complete each section. I’ve prepared dehydrated meals and set out a food box plan for them to be sent to me. I’ll also resupply along the way with fresh food. Eating is a comfort for me and I’m looking forward to a variety of hiker meals that I have prepared.
I asked the question on fitness and was told by a TA hiker, “you’ll get this on the track”. My son suggested that fitness is an equation, do it everyday and it multiplies, anything multiplied by zero is zero. Hah I think he was right! So I have completed 5 – 10km bush hikes and am building this up over the next few weeks. I’m also doing regular yoga classes, stair and hill climbs – so time will tell if this is enough physical preparation. The loss of toe nails and blisters are a sign of action.
“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh