After I thru-hiked the Continental Divide Trail in the summer of 2015 the 3000 km Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand was next on my bucket list. I flew in to Auckland in mid October of 2015 and had set aside 3,5 months to thru-hike the Te Araroa. I started out from Cape Reinga by myself, but already on the second day, while hiking on 90 Mile Beach, i met and made friends with Ryan a.k.a. The Straw Hat Backpacker. We ended up hiking together down to Auckland. However, due to unfortunate events I had to go off trail and return to Norway for a month. My time on trail was cut to 2,5 months, so I decided to skip the road walks as well as some other less interesting sections. This also allowed me to catch up with Ryan on the South Island. I didn’t track my hike by GPS so I don’t know the exact distance, but I estimate that I hiked around 2000 km, 2/3 of the Te Araroa.
Do I feel bad about missing out on 1/3 of the Te Araroa? Not at all! The Te Araroa is still (at the time of this writing) very much a work in progress. New Zealand is a really beautiful country and most of the trail is either nice or awesome. But there is still a significant part of the trail that goes over farmland, which means skipping fences and dodging cow patties, and long sections of road walking. I for one don’t fly around the world to walk along highways. I would skip those sections again.
All in all hiking the Te Araroa was great though, and I had a really good time down there: The scenery is awesome, people are friendly and they speak English. I wish I had had the time to travel around and visit areas away from the trail before leaving New Zealand. Ah well, New Zealand ain’t going anywhere. I guess I can always go back.