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Five months and 3,000 km on New Zealand’s striking Te Araroa Trail brings you to the end of the earth.
After nearly two and a half months on New Zealand’s 3,000 km Te Araroa Trail, Margaret Hedderman arrives on the South Island where the mighty Southern Alps begin.
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…
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.
Story by Kate Hourihan In early October, American skiers Nick Webb and Beau Fredlund met up in Christchurch to catch the tail end of the New Zealand winter. Arriving just after the ski resorts closed, and the flocks of winter tourists departed, they aimed to take advantage of the milder weather, longer days and more stable snow of the New Zealand spring. While the snow was still plentiful at high elevations, it was not easy to reach. And while they made several long day tours, Nick and Beau focused on multi-day trips to take advantage of the terrain above the long, tiring approaches. Their longest trip, totaling ten days, was spent exploring the upper Tasman Saddle in the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park. After walking two full days up the Tasman…