I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and loved the Idea of doing a Thru hike, so after some time hunting on the web I came across ‘Te Araroa – The long pathway’ which is a 3054km trail that wiggles from Cape to Bluff. So i asked a close friend if he also fancied an adventure which he did so we booked a flight and headed out.
The night before the flight I broke the route down into seven smaller legs and guesstimated it would take 141 days. Along the trail i kept a journal and this is it in digital form..
Getting to the trail-
The Flight was awesome free beer and a shed loads of films made the long flight bearable. Landed in Auckland, and caught a bus to ‘The Bay of Islands’ got a hostel and passed out. The following day we got a bus to Kaitaia hit the shops and filled our packs with 6 days worth of food, ate a KFC and enjoyed sleeping in a bed for the last time for a while.
Day 1–Left Kaitaia on a tour bus with a cool Maroi guide who gave us a load of butties. And told us the legends of Cape and 90 mile beach and took us sand dune sledging, after 4 hours we made it to Cape got our photos with the light house and hit the trail. We dropped down to the beach and started hiking south. After 12k we camped at Twilight bay campsite.
Cape Reinga (northern tip of NZ)
Day 2-After a short walk we dropped onto 90 mile beach, which luckily was hard sand so walking was quite enjoyable, although the beach is so long with few land marks so keeping track of where you are and how far we have come was a fair task. After hiking for 7 hours we found a camp site in the dunes and pitched up after a quick feed of noodles and chocolate we heard a noise in the darkness so went to have a skeg to our surprise we where surrounded by wild horses..
Day 3-This beach is never ending!! our waters running out and the is a lack of rivers. found a camp site $15 a night, they fed us spag bol, had hot showers and re filled our H2O. Met our first crazy Maroi, a guy called uncle also this place is in the middle of nowhere so it was fully of the grid. which is pretty cool..
Day 4-Still on 90mile but at last the end is in site!!! saw a dead car and camped in the dunes just before the town
Day 5-Made it off 90mile ‘thank god’ and got followed by a crazy German christian going on about how god has got our backs. he took some photos of us to put on his blog. topped up our food at a very expensive shop and walked the 10k road connection to the first forest track (which is more like jungle) Hope we don’t get lost as nav is hard!!
Day 6- Hardest day yet! It rained all last night, which turned the jungle into a mud city. hiking in calf deep mud ain’t no fun!! it got real cold too. but we kept going and made it out and camped as soon as we could. Hope the rain stops.
The orange triangles let you know your still on trail..
Day 7- The day been dry so managed to dry all the gear out and had a steady day. camped at the ‘Travelers Rest’ which had a bath heated via a log burning stove and a view over the jungle. although all the wood was dripping wet and we couldn’t get a fire going. which was a real shame. cant believe its only a week in!!
Jungle bath at the Travelers Rest
Day 8- The jungle is hard work! climbed too 740m peaks in thick mud, the path is ok but when you lose it, it becomes very hard to re find it! only 4k till we drop out so pitched on the path.
Camping in the path was the only option..
Day 9- Last nights camp was awful, woke up with the sun and set off on the marked path which led to a dead end. so retraced our steps took a bearing and made it out through knee deep mud. the jungle quickly turned to farm land, we found a stream washed our gear and body’s, then hit the road connection to the next forest track which we might have to detour due to all the rain and its high flash flood risk.
Day 10- Rained real heavy Last night so thought better safe then dead and took the fire track which was 35km. Our longest day so far. stopped at a cool DOC campsite. KeriKeri tomorrow!! wahoo. real food.
Day 11- Today was meant to be a rest day but after a 23km road walk and 8km river track. it turned out to be a big day. made it to the town and got a subway butty. found a real nice hostel and resupplied only need 6 days food but we bought closer to 10. moral of this story don’t by food when your hungry..
Food for the next section..
Day 12- Saw the oldest house in NZ built in 1845, makes it pretty new. We decided to take it slow and steady to make up for the manic day yesterday, found a real nice opening in the woods and pitched up after 16km.
Day 13- What a day!! a very high mileage day. made it to ‘the bay of islands’ again due to the tide being in we had to road walk to Opua and get the ferry over to the next trail head which involved even more road walking 31km of road.
Day 14- Woke up on the road side and finished the last 4km to the next section. it followed up a 4×4 track till we got to the river which we hiked up for 5km, which was awesome best section so far. then left the river to enter the jungle once again. It seems easy compared to what we have already done.
Hiking up the river
Day 15- Dropped out of the jungle and onto yet another road connection then dropped down to ‘Teal bay’ from there we followed a 4×4 track which was real good some nice views. then back into the jungle which is no where near as thick as the others.
Rolling hills looking back towards teal bay.
Day 16- Had a real crap nights sleep but woke up to a real hot and sunny day. dropped down to the beach and followed the coast for a while had a wee swim at sandy bay. then back onto the road to what we thought was going to be jungle but turned out to be pine forest!! so pitched up on the needles which are super squishy. best camp so far..
Pine forests are the best places to sleep..
Day 17- Slept awesome last night, and walked out of the woods to a small town to resupply and treated ourselves to a steak burger and a liter of milk (major trail craving) then hit the road again to a large deforested wood. the people seem real friendly up here..
Day 18- Woke with the sun and hit the roads for 24k. then dropped onto an awesome beach with lots of islands then climbed up a 400m headland which slowly turned into jungle. before we knew it we got benighted and had to walk the rest with head torches. which added to the adventure. then went down 880 steps to ‘Peach cove hut’ got there to find a Kiwi family who got a shock, from us turning up late so we camped outside. biggest day so far 37km.
Day 19- Got up and cooked breakfast and got chatting to the kiwi dude, who gave us a load of indomi noodles and some peach cake. ate the cake and headed back up the never ending stair’s at the top we bumped into a couple who showed us a path to a cracking view. made it back down and for the next section we need to hitch on a boat to get to the next trail head. we had no luck hanging out at the boat ramp so went to the local cafe and started eating and chatting, before we knew it a guy turned up and gave us a lift over in his little tin boat!! our first trail angel..
the ridge above peach cove hut..
Day 20- Woke up in the dunes and hit the beach , had to hike fast as had a river crossing that could only be done at low tide. made it over then stealthed it into a camp site had a shower then got back on trail.
Day 21- A short walk into the resupply got 4 days worth of food for $20!! getting good at living cheep and getting just enough food for each section. Invested in a beautiful pork roast in a box and some ice cream then had a dump in a toilet that played lounge music!! which was awesome..
4 days worth of food..
Day 22- Slept in a pine forest last night which is always awesome but waking up to heavy rain is 100% not fun. Hiked along the beach till we got to the river crossing which was high and fast so backed up and hiked a detour on the road, till we climbed up onto a ridge and back into the bush.
Day 23- Carried on along the ridge. bumped into our first NZ tramping club and found out we have been saying Te Araroa wrong this whole time!! what a pair of twats we are!!
Day 24- Made our way down via a fun rocky step and hit the cafe filled our water. then hit the next section which had some good climbs on old forest tracks. the body’s defo getting fitter. dropped out to a road walk to a small town where the guide said we had to kayak down to the next section but we got there late so walked the margin of ‘State Highway 1’ this was awful and one of the stupidest things i have done. Made it to a nature reserve where we camped for the night.
Day 25- Woke up and dropped out of the reserve, bumped into a TA section hiker so had a good chat, was nice to finally talk to someone who knows what we have done and got coming up. Luckily the tide was in out favor so as it was dropping out we scrambled round the shore line and went past many hidden bays. this was a beautiful section. got to the town and hit McD’s hard to stock up on the cal’s and hit the road to our last camp spot before the big city – Auckland.
Hoping we can get round before the tide comes in.
Trying to keep my kick’s dry..
Day 26- Got up at 4am and managed to get into Auckland’s CBD for 1pm! got a cheep hotel for 2 nights so got our first zero day tomorrow. washed all our gear, hit the internet and ate load of pizza!!
Day 27- Full rest day, But not digging this city life everything’s grey and boring but on a plus side there are lots of hot girls. Noticed my right ankle has swollen up, and ate lots more food and re-supplyed for the next section.
View of the sky tower from our hotel room.
Day 28- Woke up had a McD’s breakfast then hit the C2C trail through the city which was mainly on tarmac. my body’s been feeling it today so think its down to having a zero so chilled days from now on. camped at a proper camp site on the edge of the city. chilled and watched TV with a dreadhead from Oz.
Day 29- Got up and had a shower. Roland the dreadhead from last night came over and gave us a bag full off coffee, pasta, cakes and tomatoes what a dude! back onto the tarmac which really takes it out of you, found a awesome camp in a pine forest.
Day 30- Last night was a awesome camp but woke up to an overcast day and did the 3km to get out of the woods and on to a gravel path soon enough the sky opened and it shit it down everything got wet real quick. Entered the next section which went up into bush again so had some shelter but ain’t no sun!!
Day 31- The rain didn’t let up last night, so we decided to hit the road to detour the river crossings (which are meant to be waist deep in dry conditions) was quite a hard day got my first blister, snapped my shoe lace and struggled to find some where to camp so jumped a fence and hid behind a bush.
Day 32- Got through the night with out getting caught and walked out on to state highway 1 which wasn’t to bad found $2.50 should have been $3.50 but Chris beat me to $1! got to the next section and met our first TA hiker a guy called Dan from Christ church, Who was carrying crampons and an ice axe which made me question if we where under prepared. Suppose only time will tell. got chased by cows, saw wild koi carp and our first live possum.
Chris, me and Dan chilling on the curb.
Day 33- Woke up to clear sky’s and a heavy frost. it was so cold last night i was doing crunches in my bag to keep warm. Walked the road to Huntly which was the friendliest town so far, made it to the town center and re-supplyed for one day. Dan couldn’t remember where he sent his food box so had a panic on. walked out to the next section which started with 1500 stair’s. Me and Chris blazed up um none stop but Dan struggled so we parted ways. the fitness is deferentially improving!!
Day 34- Had a Kiwi and a possum round the tents so didn’t get much sleep. Headed out of the bush and followed the road to Hamilton, found a Pizza Hut so got a good feed and headed to the DOC office to get our hut passes but we went to the wrong office! the people in there helped us out and told us where to go. Luckily we made it to the right office just in time and got our passes! so celebrated with a KFC and a hostel.
Looking back towards Hamilton.
Day 35- We got up early grabbed enough food for the next section and left the city but it doesn’t feel like a city. The pack feels flipping heavy with 5 days food but its manageable. Just walked the road all day then camped in a quarry. will be in our First hut tomorrow.
Day 36- Made it to the first trail which passed through farm land with big rolling hills and some nice limestone out crops. was really nice apart from all the cows and cow pats. Got out and had a short road connection to the next section which had a guide time of 4-5 hours and we got up it in 2. Made it to the hut to find it full of doc hunters, a couple, a shed load of 15 year old girls and Dan! so there was no room in the hut which was a shame but there was some awesome sleeping platforms.
Day 37- Slept real well on the platform although it was pretty cold, it was also our highest camp so far at 1000m. Followed the ridge down to a gravel road and found a camp spot. picked up some dehydrated beef mince in Hamilton and tried it for the first time with tomato soup, spaghetti and cheese. Tasty as hell but was a bitch to clean up after.
Day 38- Got up and packed down and followed the route which was very up and down the weather was real nice almost to nice as it was supper hot, kinda like walking in an oven. The trail zig zaged down a steep hill to a stream crossing where we washed our gear and body’s. Then back up into the bush to a major river crossing which was no way near as bad as the guide book made out. found a pine forest to camp in and had spag bol again!! was a hard but fun day.
Awesome suspension bridge.
Day 39- Woke up to a real sunny day, and walked a road connection to the next trail. Which went through farm land and thick bush with lots of small assents and dissents these with a red hot sun made for a hard day. But made it to Te Kuiti (sheep shearing capital of the world) which is a funny little town. Picked up some more food for the packs and ate a shed load of fish and chips. then made our way out of town via a big crazy statue and wondered to an old quarry to set up camp and catch some rays. Also had a wash in the river under a bridge.
Huge Sheep shearing statue.
Day 40- Left camp and made our way to the next track which was closed so had to walk the road for 55km in some crazy heat. By lunch time our water was pretty much depleted so had a struggle to find more luckily we found a good source just when it was needed. set up camp and kicked back. today was pretty hard going and got another blister, bad times!!
Day 41- Only 100 days till bluff, today we walked on the road past a real cool ‘off the grid’ eco holiday village stopped and had a chat then made our way to the DOC camp. and got work with repairing some kit and chilling out. tomorrow we should hopefully make it to our first hut!
Day 42- Had our first lay in which was a total waste of time as now we both now feel real lazy. alarm is now set for 6am so we can seize the day. wondered to the start of the track then headed up to the 1064m trig. The climb up went real fast but then getting to the hut seemed to take ages. but got there in the end the hut was called ‘Bog Inn’ and is amazing . It has a composting toilet, wood burning stove and four bunks. there is also a gang of rats living in the walls so best hang our food, apart from that though i feel like i could live in a place like this.
On route to the hut.
Made it in good time so kicking back in Bog Inn hut.
Day 43- Got up at five in the morning to push for the last hut which was 28km away through dense bush. The trail started quite easy and we where moving real fast almost floating through the constant obstacle’s the NZ bush through at us. there was plenty of good assents and dissents which where very scrambley, even crossed a river on a fallen tree. then made it to the middle hut which sleeps 10 people and there was like 30+ tents every where so filled our water and got the hell out of there. After this hut our pace slowed a bit but we still got the last hut 5 hours a head of the guide time. Got a fire going, relaxing and reading the graffiti on my bunk (see below). today was an awesome day.
‘Treat the earth and all that dwell there on with respect. Remain close to the great spirit. Show great respect for your fellow beings, work together for the benefit of all mankind. Give assistance and kindness where ever it is needed. Do what you know to be right. Look after the well being of mind and bod. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good. Be truthful and honest at all times. Take full responsibility for your actions.’
Day 44- Woke up early after a real hot nights sleep we got a real good fire going and the hut was amazingly well insulated so ended up sleeping / sweating in just my sleeping bag liner. Got up and packed down and hit the trail out. Pretty soon we hit a gravel road which then turned into a tarmac road to the town. on the way in had a good scout at the map and found a nice wee stealth camp right in the center of Taumarunui 30 seconds from McD’s so set up and chilled out good day ended up doing 37km. Although my right foot has started to really hurt deep inside.
Day 45- Walked to the McD’s and ate a fair few mcmuffins. then we went on the hunt for a cheep bed as we had to resupply for the next section and send a food box to be dropped by jet boat with the canoes, in 11 days time in the middle of the jungle. which turned out easier to sort then it sounds. After sorting the important stuff hit the internet and uploaded the photos then the eating began. Had a huge feast which included 4 big burritos, 1 family sized dairy milk mixed with 1l double chocolate fudge ice cream. Then struggling to even talk or move we just kicked back and watched TV.
Day 46- Woke up and cooked up some scrambled eggs, then posted the food box which contained 4 days food each and weighed 8kg, 1kg per day seems pretty heavy so need to master reducing this weight. Then we left town walking in the gutter down SH4 for 20km to the next trail head. We got our first good view of MT.Doom cant wait to get up there in our first alpine section.
The view to MT.DOOM.
Day 47- We woke up to a frost but it was already starting to get real sunny so warmed up pretty fast and hit the trail called ’42 Travers’ which is basically a off road 4×4 track so is quite easy going apart from there are loads of hunters paths. We miss read the guide book and ended up 1km off trail but its a beautiful day so decide to set up camp and make it up in the morning. had some beautiful views of the next section. cant wait.
Day 48- Again we woke to a frost but this time it was very cold, so cold the tent froze. Got up and had a quick study of the map to relocate and find where we went wrong. Luckily we found our way back on track pretty quickly. the section was pretty good with a fun river crossing (which Chris fell in) and had some beautiful views over to the Tongariro alpine crossing. Before long we dropped down to the road to walk to the next section and ended up camping on the road side. As the day went on my foot started getting more and more painful which is not good. Hopefully if i just ‘nut up and shut up’ the pain will bugger off.
That steam is an active volcano.
The emerald lakes.
Day 49- Got up early to get a good start to the day but the tents, water and meths had frozen up through the night. Took a while to warm up then walked into the next trail head. The trail is very well benched and maintained. It started heading up through the bush then out above the tree line. Which was spectacular, as we made our way up we noticed a guy running up the trail and turned out to be running man Rich who is trying to get the supported speed record had a good chat then he ran of into the hills. We kept going up and saw the active part of the volcano and suddenly a steam vent of right next to the path. Its bloody scary when the ground starts shooting steam out. the plod carried on till we hit the snow line and got a beautiful view of blue lake, the trail kept going up till we reached the high point at 1868m and had stunning views over the emerald pools and mt.doom. We took a slow dissent down and got on the next trail that takes us to Whakapapa and set up camp in the beech woods just before we hit civilization. Invested in pasta, tomato soup and dehydrated beef mince, which was unreal tastes like spag bol. Unfortunately as i was taking my kicks off i noticed my foot is still killing but more worrying my big toes growing in size.
me with Mt.Doom at 1868m
Day 50- Walked into the village which we thought wouldn’t have much but turned out to have an internet cafe so hit the web for one hour and had a beef baguette and fruit salad. Then phoned the jet boat guys to double check they are still going to drop our boats and food, which they will so all is good. Got back on the trail then walked to a DOC campsite just before National park.
Day 51- Hiked into National park and resupplied at the small 4square supermarket for 7 days so the pack is quite heavy. Got a slice of banana cake and hit the Fishers trail, which in the guidebook is described as ‘back country adventure’ for the experienced tramper only. Felt more like a road walk to us so i don’t know whats going on there. It had been raining heavy since 9am so once we had done 20km we decided to ditch and set up camp. Sitting in a one man tent for 7 hours there’s only one thing to do and that’s eat, before i knew it i had managed to destroy 7 ‘cookie time cookies’ the bad thing is that means 7 days cookie free (bad times). It was also good to give my foot some rest time although my toe is still getting bigger and has started developing blisters and with a deep sharp pain every time my foot hits the ground. Just got to focus on getting to the river then i can give it 4 days rest.
Driftwood sculpture outside the blueduck station.
Day 52- Woke up to loud barking right next to the tent, I was shiting it, but Chris recons it was a stag roaring. packed up and hit the last part of the trail it looks like there might be a of road short cut on the map but when we got there was a sign that read ‘private property trespassers will be shot’ so we thought it would be best to walk the road to Whakahoro. it started to rain real good and then a storm rolled in with some very intense thunder and lightning. had two cars pull up and asked us to get in but we declined and felt awesome afterwards although they thought we where crazy. After 42km we finally made it to the doc hut an old school built in 1946 and it even has a electric light. All day i have been popping ‘vitamin I’ (ibuprofen) to try and sort my foot out, it kept the pain down but its still pretty swollen. Had to get out the sowing kit out and fire up a needle to drain the blisters, to my shock some thick green snot stuff came oozing out. Yummy..
Day 53- There was a advert in the hut for a cafe with showers called ‘Blue duck’ so we went and got a cooked breakfast. before long we got talking to the manager of the station who told us about there kayaks and private hut which we can use to go see some glow worm. we massively over anticipated how much food we needed for this section so decided to have a rest day in the doc hut. so was a busy day fixing gear, playing cards and listening to the radio.
Day 54- Went to the cafe again for a toasty and some awesome carrot cake they told us where the kayaks, hut and cave with spiders and bugs in. So today is going to be an adventurous one. Left the station and went to find the cave which is full of spiders and crickets. It was Chris’s idea of heaven, while I just enjoyed being underground. Then we carried on to the ‘Depot hut’ which was ghetto-fabulous it had an open fire, cobble floor and all the buoyancy aids in. So we chilled for a couple of hours then before dark fell we headed to where the kayaks and glow worms are launched the boats and had a paddle around the big deep gorge which had a massive waterfall. It was truly stunning but then it got dark and the magic happened, all the roofs of the caves had what looked like little stars but these little chappies are the NZ glow worm. wow defiantly one of the most magnificent things i have ever seen. But will have to remain a memory as I couldn’t get a good photo of them.
Chris taking point and paddling into the unknown.
Playing how close to the falls can you paddle.
Day 55- Got the fire going to cook some breakfast and coffee then hiked 17km on a old abandoned road with some amazing suspension foot bridges. before we knew it we had got to the doc campsite. The foots still hurting but kind of feels like its on the mend, I hope it is. cant wait to get in the canoe.
The view down the bluffs to the river.
Day 56- Dropped the tents real fast and got moving quick managed to cover 10km in 2 hours. went round a corner and saw ‘The bridge to nowhere’ which was covered in tourists who come in via jet boat heard a guy shout ‘yo Kyle?’ turns out this is the guy who dropped our food and canoe a week ago, luckily no one has robbed our food so tonight we ate like kings and hit the river in the morning.
The Bridge to nowhere.
Day 57- First day on the river, got packed up loaded the canoe and got a float. Started real nice although it was heavy rain but after 5 minuets we hit the first set of rapids. And BOOM we hit a rock and both ended up swimming (not good). managed to get Chris to hold onto the boat while I grabbed the swim line and swam to the last little beach dragged the boat out and emptied it. Everything is soaking wet and we have both started shaking like crazy so jumped back in the boat and started paddling to try and warm up. After 5 hours in the boat we found a doc camp with shelter, so we decided to stay there. Hung all our stuff up to try and dry drank loads of coffee and did star jumps to keep the core warm. As night was falling two Americans turned up so had a good chat and hit the hay.
After a refreshing swim and fighting early hypothermia.
Day 58- Woke up to rain which quickly changed to sun then back to rain. The weather changes pretty darn quick on this river. during the night the level had rose by about 1m and has a good flow on. Just as we where about to launch there was a huge rock fall down in to the river a tree also fell and got caught in a whirl pool, which we paddled through. We managed 48km through 12 rapid sections, and then we reached ‘Downes hut’. The hut can only be reached by boat and has goats all around it. The best bit is, it has a open fire so we got it roasting and started drying out all our wet gear.
Day 59- Had a lay-in and enjoyed the hut till mid morning then got back on the river and had a real chilled day. We did about 28km then found a real nice camp spot right on the river bank. There was a shed load of wood so we decided to to burn some, and had a good sized fire. the past few days have really helped my foot it still hurts a bit but i think its on the mend.
Day 60- Got up to a over cast day to paddle the last part of the river section. It was pretty chilled no rapids and quite slow moving but was nice and relaxing. We saw loads of hawks flying around trying to kill stuff, saw one get a bird. We got to the camp site by about lunch time and haggled a deal on a cabin dumped our gear had a shower and headed into town. Where we began to eat pizza hut is pretty cheap over here so went wild.
Day 61- Had a leisurely morning got a good breakfast and hit the internet. Then we wondered into town to resupply. Noticed one of my shoulder straps is destroyed, just as well a needle and tooth floss can fix everything. Hit the road out of the town and found a naughty camp spot in a pine forest. so chilled out listening to the radio and a news flash came on, Tongariro has erupted. Crazy to think 11 days ago we where up that bad boy.
The drift wood beach.
Day 62- Dropped back on to SH3 for the morning and headed to Koitiata which was a beautiful little beach community. Then we dropped on to the beach which was breath taking it was a black sand and covered in drift wood. Unfortunately it was a fire ban zone because it would be a awesome place to have a fire. we carried along the beach before heading into a pine forest where we set up camp.
Day 63- Packed down and walked a real nice 4×4 track thorough the pine forest, then dropped on to tarmac and headed into Bulls. Which is unBULLiveable, one of the craziest towns I have ever been to. We carried on to Feilding and ended up camping in a bush reserve just before the town, as there was nowhere else. Tomorrow we are going to push for Palmerston north. the foots feeling better but all this road walking don’t half hurt your soles.
Trail through the wood.
Day 64- Seems like since we came of the river all we have done is walk on roads. Anyway we made it into Feilding which has a very American feel to it. Invested in a pie, some mountain dew and canned stew for tea then we carried on, on a real straight road to Bunnythorpe and then to the city where we camped by the river. We managed to get ‘The Sound‘ on the radio which is awesome click on it to have a listen. Cooked our canned food and chilled out. My foot has started to hurt again so back on the vitamin I.
Day 65- Packed up and headed into the city to resupply for 8 days, the pack feels pretty heavy again. On the way out of town we hit mcD’s and got a few mcmuffins then got on the city park track which was really nice. then it was back on the road before we found a nice camp spot with a small river. so had a wash and a good feed, also managed to get the sound on the radio again so life is good.
Day 66- Left camp and followed the trail which dropped out onto a road again. Then hit the next trail then back on to a road for a while but before we knew it we where on ‘Burttons track’. which is rich in history this section was built by a guy called James Burtton who lived here from 1908 and died here when a suspension bridge he built collapsed on him in 1941. We set up camp by a river and ended up getting in the tents pretty quick as it started raining pretty heavy.
Chris looking down the trail before the 50+ river crossings.
Day 67- Carried on along the trail which is amazing considering it was built by one guy 100 years ago. Then it dropped on to a 4×4 track before getting into the next section which had a guide time of 4 hours we did it in 2 so the fitness is still there. On our way out of the section we had to do a shit load of river crossing (over 50). Tried to keep my feet dry for the first few but then thought f-It and just stomped on through.
funnel web spider that tried to attack me.
Day 68- Got up and walked out through farmland, we bumped into a school camping trip of like 60 kids. There leaders asked us what trail we where doing, we told them we where doing the Te Araroa. They then told the kids who all went crazy clapping and giving us props. felt like hero’s. We cracked on along the road before heading up into the Tararua mountain range on our route up we stopped for a break, Chris yelled at me ‘Move now’ so i did just as well because there was a huge spider running towards me. After 1000m ascent we made it to the hut which was huge.
Day 69- Had a real crappy nights sleep but got up at 6 had a feed and hit the trail. did the first section in half the guide time. Got to the first hut real quickly so we decided to push for the next one. Took in loads of peaks over 14km with lots of ups and downs i have never sweated as much in my life as today. It was hard going and towards the end of the day i was really struggling and started uncontrollably shaking. Luckily we where pretty close to Dracophyllum hut as soon as we got there put on all my clothing got in my sleeping bag and drank loads of hot chocolate and ate loads of noodles. and the shaking slowly eased.
View before dropping to the hut.
Day 70- Woke up at 7 and its snowing, which made for quite a cold start to the day. Once we got moving though warmed up pretty quick and before we knew it we had made it to Nicholes hut. It had started to blizzard so we decided to sit tight and stay there for the night. the blizzard past pretty quick and it came out real sunny. The best bit about this hut is the view from the shitter, best dump I have had so far. loving this ‘Kingdom in the clouds’.
View from the loo.
Day 71- Got up at nine and climbed mount Crawford and into the clouds then we went over a couple of knobs (kiwi for knolls) before a super steep dissent down to the hut for lunch. Then the trail had lots of ups and downs with loads of river crossings. We also crossed on some really cool suspension bridges. then we ended up following a old tram line before we dropped out to a doc camp site. today was a good day.
On one of the meany suspension bridges.
Day 72- Woke up to a load of rain, luckily the camp site had a shelter so cooked up breakfast in there before hitting the last part of trail before we hit civilization again. The rain let up a little and we got cracking it was quite steep to start with up about 840m then down through some nice old pine forests before quite a quick river crossing. Then we found a camp site just before the road. today we hit the half way point too.
Day 73- Packed up and road walked into town where we got loads of munchies then walked the river track to the beach. A lot of people stopped to chat and congratulate us on our achievement so far. Cant believe we have nearly completed the north Island. my shoes have pretty much died too hopefully they will get me to wellington. Ended up camping in a nature reserve owned by the queen of England, there was a sign for ‘no camping’ but we don’t think big Liz would mind us crashing here for the night.
Its nice to be back on the coast.
Day 74- Got up and walked out of the reserve and onto SH1 which was actually quite nice just following the coast line. Then the route took us on to a cycling trail then into the town through a park and a mall before it headed up into a industrial area where we camped round the back of a warehouse.
Day 75- Made it to Wellington, left ‘Porirua’ and headed up colonial knob. then along the city to sea trail. It was real windy up top and nearly knocked us both over quite a few times it was also a complete white out so couldn’t see any of the views. We decided to camp early so found a park which looked suitable for a stealth camp and its only 6km from the center of town so set up and chilled out in the tents. A few dogs where sniffing round but luckily there owners didn’t realize we where there, Mission accomplished. Also my shoes are starting to look a little worse for wear.
Still got some life left in um.
Day 76- We made it through the night with out getting caught, and headed into town scored a Mcd’s breakfast. Then found a hostel and found the DOC office to get our permit to hike the ‘Queen Charlotte trail’. I thought this would be the best time to get some new shoes, so invested in some cheep Adidas trail runners. went to hit the internet cafe to upload our photos and see what was going on in the world and listen to some tunes. Out of nowhere i felt a tap on my shoulder and a guy said ‘Hey, are you Kyle?’. I was like yeah how do you know me, Turns out hes just finished the trail. His name was Jo from Norway he finished the trail in 76 days, He was a cool guy who knew what he was doing so we went for something to eat with him and shared our story’s and he gave us some tips.
Day 77- Another day off the trail, once again we started the day with a Mcd’s breakfast, then went back to the internet cafe where we bumped into Jo again. Then we resupplied for four days and packed a food box to send forward because there’s no good shop on route. Cant wait to start the south island.
Looking back to Picton, on route to the start of south island.
Day 78- Today we got the ferry over to the south island, the crossing was quite ruff but the views from the deck where pretty cool. We got into Picton at 1730, and quickly managed to sort a water taxi to get us to the start of the ‘Queen Charlotte trail’ which leave in the morning. On the way into the port we spotted what looked like a good camp spot, in a small cove about 2km out of town. We hiked round and met a cool climbing bum who was doing some ‘Karma fishing’ he would cast his line then pick rubbish up off the beach and by the time he filled a small bag of trash he would have a catch. sounds crazy but it worked.
The Dolphins, I was too busy enjoying the moment to get good photos.
Day 79- Jumped on the water taxi to the tip of south island, Wow this is one of the best boat rides i have been one. the views where amazing but even better then that there where dolphins jumping and playing around the boat. I really had to fight the urge to jump over board to just play with them, amazing start to the day. Anyway we got to the trail head which was marked with a monument to Capt. James Cook, which looked very much like the one in great Ayton which you go passed on the ‘Cleveland way’. We got the legs moving and climbed to the top of the first hill and then followed the ridge line till we got to a proper doc campsite. the trail was very well maintained and the view where awesome, unreal start to south island.
View from the ‘Queen Charllote Trail’.
Day 80- Had a great nights sleep, and found a book by lama yeshe about life and death so think i will carry it to the next shelter. as we where trying to pack down the tents this crazy chicken looking thing kept trying to steal gear and food. Once again an awesome day off beautiful sunshine. We dropped of trail to camp on a beach about 1500 to kick back and enjoy the weather, finished the book too.
Day 81- Woke up and got chatting to a guy from Luxembourg who started the Te Araroa but decided to just section hike the good bits. so we walked and talked with Mr Luxembourg till we set up camp. was a really fun day chatting about gear, food and life back home. early finish before our road walk to the resupply.
Chris, Me and Mr Luxembourg.
Day 82- 12/12/12, We parted ways with Mr Luxembourg, as he is getting the bus back to Picton and we are walking to the next resupply. which was all via road passed a garage and got a big tub of ice cream to try and help us cool down. Then we carried on, left the road and climbed a real steep hill where we camped for the night.
Day 83- Wondered into Havelock and resupplyed for nine days, think I am getting better at this because the packs feeling light. Did 12km on road and then onto a nice farm track to the camp site. Unfortunately the camp was $10 and was pretty basic so we decided to keep hiking and just crash on the trail. So we kept going and found a nice pine forest next to a crystal clear river. It was a really hot day so I striped off and went for a good swim and wash in the river, so refreshing. Then set up camp luckily I noticed a possum trap right where i was going to pitch.
Super clear water.
Day 84- Packed down and cooked breakfast, we saw a load of kayakers coming down the river to which was pretty cool. We made it to the start of the ‘Pelorus river track’ got to the first hut well before guide time so pushed on to the next one. Again it was right on the river bank so we spent the afternoon swimming and rock jumping.
Can’t beat jumping off stuff.
Day 85- Woke up early as the midges wouldn’t stop biting my face. cooked up breakfast I had muesli for a change and its bloody good, think its a massive up grade from plain porridge.The trail today was quite a scramble in places but was awesome made it to the first hut well before guide time again so pushed for the next one. Washed all my clothes and chilled in the sun. Loving this hut to hut hiking, also i think i brought way to much food in to this section (just means i can eat more)
Day 86- Before leaving the hut i had a interesting time in the shitter. a weka was running round and popping its head through the vent holes, it was like the wack-a-mole game in the arcade. Hit the trail up to Hacket hut got there real quick so kept going and made it to Starveal hut for lunch where we bumped into a tramping club which was cool, got talking about the NZ flora and fauna. Once we finished we wondered up to the next hut where we decided to stop. This is a real beautiful mountain range, so happy my fitness and endurance is improving.
Well worth getting up at 4am to witness this.
Day 87- Got up at 4am and climbed to the ridge and witnessed one of the best sun rises I have ever seen, there was also a cracking cloud inversion. We followed the ridge round to the main summit, Chris decided to front flip of a massive bolder and luckily didn’t come off to bad. We made it onto the first summit then it was a matter of scrambling along the ridge line to the main peak of mount Rintoul. We where greeted by a team of 8 mountain goats then we dissented via a scree run to the hut. Best day on trail so far.
Cloud inversion and a view to Mt. Rintoul.
View from the summit.
Day 88- Woke up to a full white out with very poor viability, climbed back up onto the tops then dropped down into the tree line. It started to rain pretty hard so detoured to Tarn hut to have lunch and see if the weather would brighten up but it didn’t so we left and pushed on to mid Wairoa hut. Hope the rain clears up, as tomorrow we have a lot of river crossings to do.
Day 89- What an awesome day. Luckily the rivers didn’t seem to full so the crossings where doable but there where some quiet dangerous ones. Then the path sidled a gorge and was very slippy and exposed. Got to the hut for dinner then climbed Mt. Ellis, and dropped down to a river which was full but perfect for swimming on such a hot day. Made our way up to hunters hut best hut so far has awesome views, a real good floor plan and a good view from the shitter.
View from the hut.
Day 90- Started the day by getting a fire going to cook breakfast as we are running low on meths. The trail was very up and down and had quite a few river crossings but pretty soon we saw potters hut which is bright orange. We lost the trail so shot a bearing and straight lined it for the hut, was good fun but the bush was very thick and cut my shins to shreds. had some feed at the hut then pushed for the last one before we leave this section and get a resupply.
Day 91- Got up early and walked the road to St. Arnaud, picked up our food box, phoned home and uploaded the photos. Packed up the packs ate a few pies and a shed load of chocolate. Then we walked to lake head hut which was huge and had to share with 3 guys called John (who didn’t know each other) had some good conversations then hit the hay.
Beautiful camp spot but very exposed.
Day 92- Woke up late as didn’t put an alarm on got packed and hit the trail. Got to the first hut for dinner. Then pushed for the next one, where we planned to stay but it was full so pushed on and decided to camp high up (hope the wind doesn’t pick up in the night.) as the sun was setting two mountain parrots swooped in Chris was loving it. But I have heard they steal food and tent pegs so I was ready with some rock’s to take um down if i had too, luckily i didn’t need to.
Mt. Parrot (Kia)
Day 93- The wind didn’t pick up and the parrots didn’t steal anything during the night. we dissented down to the next hut which was full filled water and headed to blue lake which is supposed to be the clearest water in the world. Unfortunately you ain’t allowed to swim in it, we chilled for a bit then headed up and camped next to lake Constance.
Day 94- Christmas eve. Got up at five to beat the heat and scrambled to the lake head, then it was straight up to the saddle, unreal views. Then followed what looked like the trail dissented some rocky steps and kept heading down it slowly got more and more committing and before we knew it we where on top of a cliff with no obvious way down (This is where i regret printing the maps off at such a small scale to save weight). Then I discussed our options with Chris as we could have made it down but it was 70% chance of death, so we decided to press the s.o.s on the spot device. We put the space blanket out as a visual marker and chilled out, two and a half hours later the chopper came to save our arses. The winch man came down had a chat with us and took our bags with Chris and flew off. Then came back for me, getting winched is amazing. Although i felt like a dick for dragging these guys out this was awesome. we went and picked Chris up then they flew us back to St.Arnaud over the hills. We where debriefed and sent on our way. We headed out on the road to a 4×4 track that runs to the next town. Chris’s knee started to hurt so camped next to the road in a pine forest.
Day 95- Christmas day. Woke up and got packed down, Chris was suffering with shock after yesterday and wanted to head back to St.Arnaud so we walked the road back into town and camped at a doc site. Got chatting to a American couple and a Israeli guy called Jon.
Day 96- Packed down and hit the pay phone as its Christmas back home, Then hit the road out of St.Arnaud again. Got to the track and stayed at the first doc hut. Chris’s knee is giving him some shit so hopefully it will be better in the morning.
Day 97- Left the hut and carried on along the track went over a mountain pass but had no view as it was a total white out. We ended up camping next to a stream. Quite a boring day.
Day 98- Hit the road again did a good day the sun was shining and the views where pretty good, although there where power cables running through the valley which kind of ruined it. stopped about 6km out of Hamner springs where we will be resupplying tomorrow.
Day 99- Hiked the last bit of the 4×4 track that soon turned into a tarmac road all the way into town. We saw a bakery so grabbed a couple of pies. Phoned home and phoned the bank so I can use my credit card over here. Hit the internet cafe and uploaded our photos and listened to some tunes. Hit the shop and filled the pack with 9 days worth of food then went to the outdoor shop and treated myself to some icebreaker socks, a late Christmas present to myself. We then started to walk back to the trail head and tried hitching but had no luck. After a while we just got our heads down and stomped it out after about 15km Chris’s knee started to hurt so we gave hitching a go again and he scored his first ever ride, he was stoked. We got dropped at Boyle village and just camped on the trail.
Marioland or death.
Day 100- Got the tents down pretty quick as it was really windy, and hit the trail managed to do some good distance and hiked past one hut then it started to rain real heavy. So made it to the next one and stopped for some lunch and to dry out a bit. We decided to push for the next one so we braved the rain and walked through the valley and arrived at the hut dripping wet. It was occupied by a couple a Oz girl and 3 hunters. The hut was huge so there was more then enough room for us all. The rain hasn’t let up just hope the rivers ain’t to high.
New years eve, in a shed.
Day 101- Slept like a baby last night and woke to hear the hunters leave so got packed down and got back on trail. Once again its a very wet and miserable day so we just plodded on through, walked past 2 huts and decided to stay at ‘Harpers Bivi’ a small 2 bunk bright orange hut with no window. Its New years eve today but think we will be fast a sleep before midnight, this has been my best year so far but i think there just going to get better. I still cant believe how far we have come and how little there is to do. Only 6 resupplies till bluff.
Day 102- Woke up in the tiny but very comfortable bivi to the sound of heavy rain again. its pretty much been none stop rain since we came into this section. From here to Locke stream hut the guide book recons you can get through in normal conditions with dry feet. We have been balls deep in 8 very dangerous river crossings, not good and its still flipping raining. The river we have to cross to get to the next hut is way to full and we only just made it through our last crossing, so I think we are going to have to have a rest day here. which is just as well because Chris’s knee has started to hurt again.
Locke stream hut, our refuge from the rain.
Day 103- Got up in the night for a slash and it was still raining hard. it hasn’t stopped now for 4 days straight. Today there was some pretty impressive thunder and lightning storms and the river in front of the hut has come up even more. We didn’t even think about trying to cross the river so decided to gather loads of fire wood and chill. hopefully the rest time will let Chris’s knee heal. The only entertainment in the hut was a 1000 piece jig saw so we started to try and figure it out. We also decided to start rationing food as we might be stuck here for a while.
The river we need to cross in full flow.
Day 104- Woke up a few times in the night and it had stopped raining. When I got up I checked the water levels and it was still honking and very brown, so going to stay here another night. I hope we can get out of here tomorrow, we have decided that once / if we get out of this section we are going to do some short days to give Chris’s knee some more time to heal. Set an alarm for 8 and hope the river is cross-able and that it doesn’t rain again. found out the jigsaw is impossible too.
Our only entertainment for five days.
Day 105- The river finally looked like it was down enough to cross, so packed up and hit the trail. We checked about 3km of the river for a safe place to cross but no luck the river was still to full and fast. so we had to turn round and head back to the hut for our forth night.
Day 106- Got up and checked the river levels which had dropped even more. So hit the trail and managed to find a safeish place to make our first river crossing which was still fast moving and balls deep, but we made it out of locke stream hut. We walked down the river until we had to cross back over which was a lot harder it was a braided river so had 5 sections to cross. They ranged from ankle to waist deep and was pretty intense but after over 20 attempts we made it over. There was a flood track which we decided to take as the river is still very high, but part of it had been washed away so had to drop into the water once again. This time it was chest deep but we just had to do 5 meters up the river bank so had loads of roots to hold on to. We finally made it out of this section and just in time as the food was running out. camping just before the road.
Looking back up the valley.
Day 107- It rained again last night and the next trail goes up a river so we thought better safe then dead and hit the road into Arther’s pass. the small cafe and store didn’t really have enough to get a full resupply so we ate loads of pies, chocolate and ice cream then tried hitching to Greymouth. We had no luck fingering a ride so got the bus, found a really nice hostel. As we booked in we bumped into John who we met on Christmas day and hes going our way tomorrow so managed to get a lift.
Day 108- Didn’t sleep to good last night, Ain’t used to sleeping on something soft. Got up and hit the internet and hooked up with John. We went shopping and got loads of food because Chris’s knee is still hurting, going to do short days and give it plenty of rest in the next section. Then John gave us a lift back to Arther’s pass and dropped us in the town then we said our good byes and walked the river trail to a doc camp site before the next trail head. Guess who turned up, John and about 8 other Israelis we had a good chat with them all and they began to party but we hit the hay.
Day 109- Got packed down and walked to the next trail head, after about 10km we had made it to the hut. Chilled out and enjoyed all the luxury food we brought for the first hut. Then Chris broke the news that he has decided to leave the trip due to his knee, it was very emotional but I respect his choice. Its crazy over the past 109 days we have never fallen out and become very close. He asked if i was going to carry on and the thought of stopping before bluff didn’t even cross my mind. So he gave me his food, radio and we got a big fire going. Tomorrow we will go our separate ways.
Day 110- We ate a huge breakfast together then packed up and said our good byes. Chris is going to try and hitch to Christ Church and I am going to crack on. I got to the first hut pretty quick so signed the doc book and carried on then got to the next one which was very old it had a dirt floor and canvas hammocks. Some one had left two werther’s originals with a note ‘Sweet dreams or safe journey onward’s’ had my dinner then got moving again. the wind had picked up and as i was hiking through the woods I could hear trees falling, one even fell right in front of me, which was pretty scary. Made it to Hamilton hut which had a radio to the doc office so I used it to get a weather update and they said i should stay put as the winds blowing at 160kmph and there’s a big storm coming. The hut feels like its going to blow away, but i think i am safer in here then in my tent. first day solo was quite nice but feels strange.
Day 111- Got up at 6am had my breakfast and packed up, the weather is still bonkers. thunder, lightning and crazy strong winds but thought i would give it ago got about 2km down the trail to the first river crossing which was in flood. Had ago at crossing it twice and didn’t get more then a couple of meters off shore before i had to retreat and headed back to the hut. spent the day studying the maps and found a different route which only involves only two crossing so hopefully it will be do able tomorrow. Radioed the doc office again and they said the weather was going to be getting better so things are looking up.
Day 112- Hiked the trail till i got to the river crossing which was still pretty full and fast. managed to fight to the half way point then my feet gave way luckily i managed to plant them again and get over it. Walked down the river bank, then crossed back over this time it was only knee deep but very wide. Then i followed my own route which went past a really nice lake then onto a 4×4 track which lead out to a road and followed it till i got to lake Coleridge. Walked down to check the Rakaia river which is classed as a major hazard of the trail and is only just possible to cross in perfect conditions. So i fingered a ride to the other side with a man called Dave who was a vegan fisherman. Ended up camping next to the road.
Looking back to the Rakaia river.
Day 113- Packed down and hit the road for 12km then got onto the next section which went through farm land and then climbed into the hills. Got to the first hut and noticed in the hut book a guy called Ed who was also doing the TAT was 3 days a head of me there was also more werther’s originals with the same note. I grabbed the candy and kept moving after about 3km I saw a hiker in the distance, turns out it was Ed! A cool guy who has done the PCT, which sounds like an awesome trail. We hiked to the next hut together had some lunch then kept walking. But where to busy chatting and ended up going the wrong way so re-traced our steps back to the hut and spent the night there sharing story’s and tips.
Ed aka ‘Meander’ crossing the river.
Day 114- Got up at 5.30 and hit the trail together. It was a beautiful day so was really enjoying the river crossings. As we climbed up the weather took a turn for the worse, it started to rain, thunder and lightning. It got pretty crazy then we made it to the mountain pass and dropped down the other side. Where there was some scree, razor grass and bastard grass, which made for some real painful hiking but the weather came out nice again. We got to the hut after a long day and shared what food we had and cooked a feast of mash potato, salami and peas. As the sun was setting we got some beautiful views from the hut we also found Sir Edmund Hillary’s signature on the wall which was cool.
Barrel shot of Meander and myself.
Sunset view from the hut.
Day 115- Got up at 6am Ed stayed in his bag eating a snickers and drinking cold coffee. We said our good byes and Ed gave me a salami and he said i should be able to get 20km out of it. As I left the hut I heard him singing ‘The Proclaimers – I’m gonna be‘. Meander was a cool guy and he taught me a lot in the short time we shared each others company and I hope our paths cross again. The Trail was pretty flat and managed to lay down over 50km made it to the bank of the Rangitata river which was big and brown so didn’t even try fording it. Hit the road back to lake Clearwater and set up camp. I will try and hitch round in the morning.
Camp with a view.
Day 116- Got up at 5 to rain so hit the road to try and finger a ride to the other side 4 hitches later and I made it to the shop before Mesopotamia. Invested in some more food and phoned home then walked to the next trail which follows a river up into the hills. the first few crossings were easy but it got harder and harder. It was still raining hard and the river was coming up quick. There was no way i could retreat so did one of the hardest river crossings I have ever done, my feet washed out and I took a swim, thought I was dead meat but i made it, just. Then climbed to the hut which was awesome it had radio signal, loads of wood and a old fridge full of food. Today has been one of the hardest days of my life and left me questioning my mortality. But on reflection it was one of the best days so far.
Waking up to this, makes it all worth while.
Day 117- Woke up to a beautiful sun rise and hit the trail.Hiked past the first two huts, but on route to Royal hut I slipped and the buckle on my hip strap snapped. Managed to bodge it with some string. Hopefully i will be able to fix it when i get to the next town. I then climbed to the highest point on the trail. the wind was very strong so dissented of the ridge which I am quite gutted about because the views are meant to be amazing. I carried on making my way down till i got to Camp Stream hut which is the oldest hut on the trail built in 1898, and stopped there for the night.
Camp stream hut.
Day 118- Woke up early shaking like a shitting dog, so got the stove going and drank a big coffee. Then packed up and got on it, I put all my clothes on and I am still shacking, there’s been a fresh dump of snow over night and I am dreading the first river crossing of the day. Which was actually went quite well and was very refreshing. Just as i dropped out of the section its started to hail with a full white out but then the sun came out and I could finally remove some clothing. Made it to lake Tekapo where i decided to get a hostel for the night just so I can have a warm shower and good nights kip. Phoned home, ate loads of food and hit the web. Then watched Forest Gump with a load of Germans forgot how awesome the soundtrack is. I also bumped into Mr Luxembourg which was cool to catch up with a familiar face.
View to Mt.Cook.
Day 119- Up at 5 hit the shower then followed the route which hand railed the canal. After about 10km, It turned into a building site. I jumped the fence and walked in a field which ran next to the trail to try and sneak past. Unfortunately the workmen spotted me and threatened to call the police if i didn’t leave the trail and walk SH8. So ended up road walking to Lake Pukaki, which is a massive detour but got there in the end. There was some beautiful views of Mt.Cook and i made my first video, then set up camp and chilled in the sun.
Camping in the plains.
Day 120- Up early and hiked into Twizel, hit the internet and resupplyed. My face fur started to piss me off so went to a hunting shop and borrowed some scissors and had a trim in a public toilet. I tried to get a hostel for the night but there all full my only options are a campsite for $20 or a motel for $120 so decided to just keep hiking and camp on the trail.
Day 121- Woke at the crack of dawn just before the sunrise, and got on it. The trail followed a river then skirted round a big lake. The trail was well maintained which made walking it easy. left the lake side and climbed up through a beech forest then found a nice wee camp site with a good view.
View from the tent.
Day 122- Found it real hard to get my arse out of the bag this morning. It was so cold last night I had to do crunches and some other things to keep alive. Plucked up the courage to get up. as soon as i hit the trail it was a climb up to the saddle and then a slow descent down the other side. It was a pretty hot and remote section so did some naked hiking it was pretty good fun and felt very freeing. jumped in the stream, washed my clothes and balls then carried on. Before long i made it to the river Ahuriri which is the third largest river crossing on the Te Araroa. There is a bridge but would mean a 15km detour, I decided to give it a go and jumped on in. It was quite intense and felt my feet slip a few times but made it over quiet quickly. I put my cloths back on and wondered up to the road and started the next trail. Got about 2km in then set up camp next to a little stream.
looking down the trail.
Day 123- Slept in, but was on trail for 8am. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky got moving and climbed to the saddle pretty quick on a 4×4 track and then dissented down the other side to a river. I followed the river till i got to the hut where I experienced my first trail magic. Ed had hiked into this section a couple of days before me and left a load of dehydrated food with a note wishing me safe trails, what a legend. I ate like a king while reading magazines and checking through the hut book.
Day 124- What a day got up at 4am and got moving, did some crazy sidles, good scree sections and some easy river crossings. Then a killer climb up about half way there was a stump with some ‘treemail’ Ed had left a note for all who follow which was some good motivation. I made it to the top and saw a hiker in the distance, Turns out it was Mr Meander. so we got chatting I thanked him for the magic and hiked to the hut and got some tea on the go. Ed turned up about 10mins later we had dinner together and a good catch up. He is staying here for the night but I want to summit ‘boobie mountain’ while the weather is good. So we parted ways again. the climb wasn’t to bad and the trail soon turned into a 4×4 track which made for easy hiking. before I knew it I had made it to the summit and made a video on route (sorry about the F-bombs). the it was a short but beautiful dissent to the hut.
Meander showing of his tech.
Day 125- Hit the trail at 4.30am, and hiked down to the road which ran next to Lake Hawea which soon became a trail on the lake side. I detoured of into the town to use the phone, drink milk and inhale several snickers. The trail then followed the river to Wanaka i managed to get there in just under 4 hours. As i got closer to the town the people got less and less friendly. Managed to get a backpackers for the night and cooked an awesome steak sandwich.
Day 126- Got up at 5 and chilled on the internet for a while found out Jez Bragg who is going for the speed record on the Te Araroa will catch me in the next section. I got hiking round the shores of the lake which was really pretty and a very well maintained trail so could put down some good speed and distance. I made it to the campsite which was extremely busy, so got a ice cream and headed onto the road. I heard a car beeping and pulled up it was Israeli John slapped him a high five and had a good chat before he set of to Queenstown and i wondered to the next trail head. The trail just followed a 4×4 track then on to trail which was massively over grown. Made it to the first hut and settled down. Just as I was about to call it a night 3 hunters turned up so had a good chin wag, suddenly we heard a possum climbing on the hut the hunters grabbed there guns and went to take it down. They had a discussion about if they should shoot it? i heard one hunter say ‘but its too cute’ and ‘But hes a friendly little bugger’. I then realized these 3 lads are the worst hunters I have ever met. The possum lived in the end.
Me and Jez.
Day 127- Got up with the hunters at 6am and left some trail magic for Jez and hit the trail. For some reason today I have zero energy and really struggled. The sun is real hot so decided to have a Nero (nearly zero) distance day and stop in the next hut. While I was walking to the hut I was hoping it was going to be filled with half naked girls (see the video) unfortunately it wasn’t. But there was loads of magazines and I had plenty of extra food so had a proper pig out. Decided to call it a early night and got my head down then I heard someone coming. Hoping the universe was supplying me with the girls but it turned out to be Mr Jez Bragg. So got up and had a real good chat about life back home and the trail. before long we hit the hay as we both wanted to lay down a big day. During the night the hut was attacked by possums, which woke us both. Unfortunately I needed a leak so braved the outside and tried to scare them off they ran. But once I had my little man out they came running towards me!! needless to say I was shiting it so ran back into the hut.
Highland creek hut.
Day 128- Got up at 4 and started packing down. By the time i had my breakfast on the stove Jez was packed and ready to go. We said our good byes and good lucks then he left with his head torch on. I sat buy the window, ate my feed and watched Jez’s light over the hills. I left the hut and began the first of 3 assents all of which where real steep but luckily the sun hadn’t come up yet so i could move at a good pace with out getting to hot. Before long i made it to the next hut i stopped for lunch then carried on to the last climb of the section which wasn’t as bad as the last 3 but the sun was in full force, Made it over and dropped down to the river which i followed down to ‘Mace Town’ a old abandoned settlement. on route i had a cheeky skinny dip and washed my clothing and also got talking to some people skimming for gold. Decided to set up camp just out side mace town and had a early night as its a full moon and fancy moonwalking to Queenstown.
Nothing beats hiking down stream on a hot day.
Day 129- Wow what a day got up at 3 and moonwalked (check the video) into Arrowtown which was a very spiritual with the full moon. Got to town just as the shops started to open so got a huge dairy milk, 1l of milk and 2 real yummy pies. Phoned home then took the city trail to Queenstown. Managed to get radio signal so tuned into the local station and got my pace on, before long I made it to the town and found a hostel which I booked for 2 nights so I can take a zero tomorrow and try and sort a boat to get to the next trail head. I dumped my pack then hit the gear shops to buy some new clothing, mine had all disintegrated. Managed to Invest in some light weight running shorts, T-shirt and a visor. Then headed to the famous ‘Ferg burger’ which was the best burger i have ever eaten. Really Struggled to sort a boat to the next trail head but got a shuttle bus which will take me there. Then I hit the internet cafe to see if any other thru hikers are in the area, Meander was here and Shadow and country mouse who are going NOBO so we hooked up at Ferg burger then got some booze and chilled in the park where we shared what we have been through.
Meander, Shadow,Me and Country Mouse.
Day 130- Today was my first zero in a while, chilled then played a round of Frisbee golf which was fun but would have been better to play with someone. Went to ferg burger again and also checked out the official ‘Cookie time Cookie shop’ which was amazing. Got chatting to the girl in there and told her that Cookie time has helped me through the past 130 days and she hooked me up with some freebies. Resupplied my food and headed back to the hostel to pack up and found in my food bag a can off energy drink which i didn’t buy, pretty sure it was Meander who stashed it in my pack. check the video
Me and the cookie muncher.
Day 131- Woke up at 5 to find my hostel was full people sleeping under my bed in the gangway and even doubled up in the bunks. Had a good breakfast and got my shuttle. Didn’t manage to get on trail till 1130, so did as much as i could but my energy levels are pretty low. Zero days ain’t that great. the trail wondered into a beautiful valley managed to score a nice hut and chilled out.
High alpine plateau, perfect place for a swim.
Day 132- Got up and hit the trail and made real good progress managed to get to the first hut a lot faster then guide time then followed a 4×4 track down and out of the section. I ended up camping next to a swing bridge just in-case the river levels come up again. Going to get up early and moon walk out of this section and hopefully make it to Te Anau tomorrow, and resupply for the last time. crazy how the time has flown.
Day 133- Got up real early and hit the river flats had my breakfast and made a video , luckily it didn’t rain during the night but the route was still super muddy and hard work. Made it to the main road and the end of the section but still had a 30km hitch to get to Te Anau got a ride pretty quickly and managed to sort a cheep hostel, resupply and go to the cinema to watch Life of Pi.
Jerry and myself.
Day 134- Got up early had a good breakfast and walked the road margin trying to finger a ride, it took a while but got one in the end. Got dropped right where I got picked up the following day. Had a 1 hour road walk later I made it to the start of the next section bumped in to a fellow thru hiker called Jerry who also found the last section a slog. He was staying here tonight and I wanted to push on to the next hut so we parted ways. The trail was only 17km but was bloody hard work.There was lots of chest high tusuk hiding all the big ruts and bog under foot. I had some pretty good falls but managed to get through it and make it to the hut. got some radio signal and had a fun night. I also made a video
Day 135- Managed to sleep through my alarm but was still on trail by 8. I didn’t sink any beers last night as I didn’t want to carry the empty’s out with me. This section had lots of sharp twigs and a grass that pulls out your leg hair so got some good cuts from it all. Got to the hut at 1330 but its the second to last hut on the trail, so thought I would enjoy it and have a big day tomorrow. Only 6 days till bluff..
a very surreal forest.
Day 136- Got up early but couldn’t see the trail so just chilled out and waited for the sun to rise. Went through one of the craziest forests I have ever been into. It started raining pretty hard so I got my head down and laid down a pretty quick pace climbed up into the alpine area then followed a ridge down into farm land. got to the camp site pretty early so carried on till I dropped out onto the road and hitched to ‘Taylors lodge’ had a big feed with lots of fruit and got a early night.
Day 137- Woke up at 8 and they had a full English and fruit salad waiting for me which was great, then they gave me a lift back to the trail head. I walked through farm land past some pretty big bulls, which was quite scary. Slowly the trail turned in to a wooded section which was really nice then dropped to a road and then up a 4×4 track which i pitched next to.
Day 138- Worst night of my life. Woke up at 2am to the sound of a quad bike being revved up then shotguns being shot over my tent. I actually thought it was my time to die, luckily after about 10 minuets they buggered off and i was still alive! but that short time seemed like a life time. Needless to say i wasn’t going to be able to get back to sleep after that so i packed down and got moving. The trail went into forest then out into alpine meadows and descended into forest soon enough I was at the last Hut called ‘Martins Hut’ which was pretty rustic but the hut book was amazing. Reading every ones final messages and words of wisdom.
Having a power rest.
Day 139- Didn’t sleep to good last night but still got up early. The trail today was mostly flat or down hill so managed to hold quite a fast pace before I knew it I was on the beach looking out over the south coast and it hit me I am going to make it, so I made a video. I kept hiking and got to Riverton pretty quick so treated myself to some fish and chips and a shed load of ice cream. Then dropped back onto the beach and hiked till the sun set.
4am and ready for my last day.
The sunrise on Oreti beach track.
Day 140- Got up bright and early and was hiking by 4am into the sunrise which was super spiritual. Made it to Invercargill pretty quickly and grabbed some food. Had lots of energy and managed to get radio signal so was blasting the tunes and laying it down. About 5km from bluff my body started to hurt all over but the end was insight. I bumped into two NOBO thru hikers who have just started there journey which was quiet cool. At 6pm on 8th February 2013 I made it to the southern most terminal of New Zealand. Had my photo taken with the monument. Then hitched back to Invercargill where I hit the booze to celebrate.
My finish photo
After 140 days,2.5 pairs of shoes and 3 pairs of socks today i finished the trail!! the last road section destroyed my feet but they made it to bluff!! Dont know what i am going to do now i dont have to walk any more? thought i would be chuffed to get there but i feel more gutted then anything else, just shows its all about the journey and the destination don’t mean sh!t!!
for more infomation on the Te Araroa check out- http://www.teararoa.org.nz/