Thru-Hiking New Zealand: The Fabled Tararua Ranges

In our quest to conquer Te Araroa, New Zealand’s 3,000km tramping trail that runs the length of both islands, one last challenge lies between us and the end of the North Island: the Tararua Ranges. The first real mountains on Te Araroa, the Tararuas are fabled to be one of the toughest hikes yet. From steep climbs and descents to hazardous weather blowing in from the Antarctic, we are in for a real challenge, whether we’re ready for it or not. By now, my dad and I have been on the trail for nearly two months and have already conquered some challenging terrain: steep and muddy rain forests, rocky volcanic scree, and the concrete jungle of Auckland. Though the Bluff, the end of the trail, is still over 1,300 km…

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New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail: Tramping vs. Hiking

Perhaps it was the face plant into ankle deep mud, my feet ensnared in slippery roots and grasping vines, my pack pressing me deeper into the sludge. Or maybe it was bushwhacking through a tunnel of needle-prick gorse, my arms and face cut by a thousand tiny, green swords. Or, no, it could have been the time an electric fence was stretched directly across the trail—when I realized New Zealand’s famed Te Araroa might not quite be what I was expecting.

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