4. Fitness and experience
The best time to walk Te Araroa | Choosing a direction | How long it takes | Fitness and experience | Permits and fees | Accommodation | Clothing and equipment | Cost | Visas | Safety precautions | Fishing | Resupplying and food parcels | Getting to and from Cape Reinga | Getting to and from Bluff | Stewart Island Rakiura | Taking my dog, bike, horse | NavigatingMany Te Araroa's tracks need the bushcraft skills of an experienced backcountry tramper.
These skills include trip planning, navigation, and river crossing skills. You need all these skills to make good decisions in the outdoors. You also need to know what survival equipment to carry and how to avoid getting hypothermia.
Practical experience is the best. So before heading out, take a course and/or spend time in the backcountry with experienced trampers. The Department of Conservation’s brochure 'Planning a trip in the backcountry' is another good resource.
- Mountain Safety Council recommended courses
- Mountain Safety Council advice on multi-day tramping
- Department of Conservation advice on safety in the outdoors
You need at least a moderate level of fitness to attempt a thru-tramp. The fitter you are the better chance you have of finishing.
So long as you don’t get injured, you will get fitter during the first weeks of the tramp. Fitness is cumulative and, barring injury, builds in the first weeks of a through tramp. If you are fit before you start it will reduce the physical demands and your risk of injury. It will also increase your enjoyment. Good fitness also gives you more flexibility in your schedule.
It allows you to forge ahead to take advantage of good weather, and to make up time if you are delayed.