Frequently Asked Questions
How can I purchase "Te Araroa: A Walking Guide to New Zealand's Long Trail"?
In New Zealand, the book is available in most major bookstores.
When is the best time to walk Te Araroa?
There is a reasonably wide window of opportunity to walk Te Araroa. The major consideration is when you will be in the South Island high country and/or the Tararua Ranges just north of Wellington - these are the areas most likely to be susceptible to harsh weather.
** It really isn't advised to walk outside these recommendations. The New Zealand weather can be very unforgiving, seasonal closures (for lambing etc) are often in place until October, and some tracks close for winter from the end of April onwards. Consider your plans carefully, and please do not let your timings put future access to routes at risk by ignoring closures.
October/early November southbound start, or December/early January northbound start).
Should I walk Northbound or Southbound?
Te Araroa can be walked in either direction. Those who combine both islands, however, usually start at Cape Reinga in October or November and are then able to walk the majority of the South Island during the optimum period. In the process they will (most likely!) avoid problems with snow and snow melt and the Southland lambing closures.
Note that at the moment Te Araroa can only supply Northbound trail notes for the South Island, so for the North Island Northbound walkers will need to do some navigation, or translate the Southbound notes to suit.
How long will it take to walk Te Araroa?
A through tramp normally takes somewhere between 50-80 days per island. The variables depend on fitness, tenacity, weather, and the availability of time.
50 days is quick and would require a high degree of fitness and some luck with the weather. Conversely 80 days is relatively leisurely. There would be lee-way within this timeframe to walk slower and for shorter distances most days, to build fitness levels en route, to extend town stays, and to allow greater margins for weather related variables.
How fit and experienced do I need to be to walk Te Araroa?
Tramping many of Te Araroa's tracks requires the bush craft skills of an experienced back country tramper. These skills include trip planning, navigation, and river crossing skills, all of which are prerequisites to good decision making capability in the field. 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. DOC's brochure 'Planning a trip in the backcountry' available at www.doc.govt.nz is another good resource.
A moderate level of fitness is all that is required to make a realistic attempt at a through-tramp. The prospects of successfully finishing, however, increase with elevated fitness levels.
Fitness is cumulative and barring injury, builds in the initial weeks of a through tramp. Starting with a decent fitness base, however, has many advantages. It reduces the physical demands and the risk of injury. It increases enjoyment. Fitness also affords flexibility by allowing trampers to forge ahead to take advantage of good weather, or to make up time if poor weather or something of interest has caused delay.
Do I need a permit to walk Te Araroa? Is there a fee?
There is no permit needed, nor fee to walk Te Araroa.
However please REGISTER HERE so we can record who is walking Te Araroa - this gives us valuable information to use with funders and supporters.
That said, Te Araroa Trust relies on donations and grants to operate so we invite people and particularly those walking Te Araroa to make a donation via our Donation page.
Te Araroa Trust suggests a donation of NZ$500pp for those walking the length of Te Araroa, NZ$250 for those walking one island only and smaller amounts for more specific tracks/distances.
Please note there is a short section of the Queen Charlotte Track (at the very top of the South Island) that requires a permit www.qctlc.com/index.html - where to purchase information here www.qctlc.com/testimonials.html
Where do I stay on Te Araroa?
Please refer to the Trail Notes where further information is provided.
If you wish to use the Department of Conservation huts on the route, we recommend purchasing a hut pass:
Please note that the DOC Hut Pass does not cover the Whanganui Journey or Mangatepopo Hut (Tongariro NP) as these are part of the "Great Walks" network, and nor does the Pass cover some DOC campgrounds where you need to pay a small fee. There are also a number of privately owned huts/campsites that are made available to walkers - in some instances a fee is payable, or a donation requested. Information on this is in the Trail Notes.
In addition to "formal" accommodation, there are many "Trail Angels" en route who often help walkers - offering a snack, a bed, a ride etc - a website has been set up to help connect walkers and helpers, see http://trailangel.co.nz though note this is not a service administered by Te Araroa Trust.
What do I need to take with me?
There is a lot to consider with clothing and equipment but if you first think function and safety, then consider weight, this will help with the gear assessment task.
A full kit , including everything you may wear and carry for any eventuation, on a through tramp might comprise:
- Pack and pack liner
- Shelter - a tent or bivy bag, or alternatively a tarp, pegs and emergency blanket (for use as a ground sheet)
- Sleeping - Sleeping pad, sleeping bag and silk liner
- Clothes for upper body - short sleeve top (mostly to walk in), long sleeve top, (mostly for camp), fleece, waterproof jacket, woollen hat, sun hat, gloves
- Clothes for lower body - shorts, waterproof trousers, long johns, 2 pairs of socks, boot or shoes
- food/water related equipment - stove, pot, fuel, spoon, water bottle, and / or hydration system, lighter or matches
- Navigation and safety - maps, guidebook, compass, GPS, spare batteries, personal location beacon, torch
- Repairs - duct tape, needle, dental floss (for teeth and thread)
- Personal care - hand towel (or cotton bandana), sun screen, tooth brush and paste, toilet paper, sanitizing hand gel, first aid kit, plastic rubbish bag
- Miscellaneous - money, credit/debit cards
- Food and water (enough to get between resupply points)
- A trowel and/or poo pot - for thoughtful disposal of toileting waste - please DO NOT just poo outside and leave it there for future walkers to encounter.
How much will it cost to walk Te Araroa?
Plan to start with sufficient funds to safely enjoy the entire journey. Pre-departure, this means having enough money to cover equipment purchases and transport to the relevant trail head. Funds will also be needed for living expenses along the way. Many trampers will also have home related expenses while they are away.
An amount of NZD$7,000-10,000 has been suggested by previous walkers for a 5-month through-walk.
Most trampers will be on a budget but to enjoy through tramping requires some indulgence in the trail towns. It pays to allow a margin for this. Also allow a generous contingency for unforseen expenses like equipment replacement and extended town stays which can be forced by weather or injury. Don't scrimp on essential equipment like personal locator beacons, which are critical in the case of injury or emergency. Its better instead to delay a through tramp until you have enough money to comfortably cover all expenses.
Those trying to walk Te Araroa on a very small budget are creating unease and annoyance in some areas by free camping where not welcome and/or not supporting enterprise along the Te Araroa route. If you wish to walk a trail on a very small budget (ie less than NZD$5000-7000) we'd respectfully suggest that Te Araroa may not be appropriate for you.
Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand and walk Te Araroa?
If you are not from New Zealand/Australia and/or don't have residency in New Zealand, most people intending to walk the entire Te Araroa route will require a visitors visa - here's a "quick check" resource to help you.
The exception is for residents of the United Kingdom who have a six-month visa waiver.
Should you require a visa, follow this process to complete your application.
Information on fees can be found here.
If you are not walking the entire route, the need for a visa will depend on where you are from and how long you intend to be in New Zealand, and more information can be found here.
Q and A page HERE and to apply online click HERE
What safety precautions do I need to take?
On your journey, you may actively hitch-hike and/or be approached by people offering a ride, a place to stay and the like.
Where can I resupply and/or send food parcels? (aka bounce boxes)
Alpacitnz offer a food package service along Te Araroa - this is a private company so please liaise directly with them if you wish to take advantage of this service.
How do I get to/from Cape Reinga?
There are a number of options to get to the northernmost point of Te Araroa - Cape Reinga.
- Flight from Auckland to Kerikeri or Kaitaia, then tourist bus (or transport service) from Kerikeri (or Paihia) or Kaitaia to Cape Reinga
- Bus from Auckland to Kaitaia, then tourist bus (or transport service) to Cape Reinga - Refer to the trail note for the very first track for options
- Bus from Auckland to Paihia, then tourist bus (or transport service) to Cape Reinga
Bus Travel - Refer to www.intercity.co.nz or www.nakedbus.com
Flights - Air New Zealand www.airnz.co.nz fly Kerikeri and and Barrier Air fly to Kaitaia (the airport there is situated out of town so be prepared to pay for a transfer into Kaitaia).
Cape Reinga tour from Kaitaia
Cape Reinga tour from Paihia/Kerikeri
Cape Reinga tour from Paihia or Kaitaia
Transport service from Paihia, Kerikeri or Kaitaia
iSite tourist information offices - Kaitaia P: 09 408 0879 / Paihia P: 09 402 7345
Far North Tours (Johanna Maaka) - P: 09 409 8152 or 0204152878 - E: firstname.lastname@example.org - pickup from Kaitaia iSite, can include a shopping stop and/or guided tour on way to Cape Reinga. From $80pp or $60pp in groups of two or more.
How do I get to/from Bluff?
There are a number of options to get to the southernmost point of Te Araroa - Bluff.
- Flight from Auckland to Invercargill, then bus (or hitch-hike) to Bluff
- Flight from Christchurch to Invercargill, then bus (or hitch-hike) to Bluff
- Bus from Christchurch to Invercargill, then then bus (or hitch-hike) to Bluff
Bus Operators to Bluff:
Campbelltown passenger services - 1 Lee St - P: 03 212 7404
Stewart Island - Stewart Island Experience Ferry Service - Foreshore Rd - P: 0800 000 511
Is Stewart Island (Rakiura) part of Te Araroa?
Due to unfriendly weather conditions that can often play havoc with transport - and best laid plans - Stewart Island does not form part of Te Araroa.
However a number of Te Araroa walkers choose to add Stewart Island to their itinerary, and few regret it.
Click HERE for further information about walking on Stewart Island, transport to/from the island and accommodation.
Can I take my dog/bicycle/horse/unicorn on Te Araroa?
In general, Te Araroa is for walking.
Access to private land has been negotiated on the basis of walking access only and through farms and conservation areas, dogs are strictly prohibited. Really, the only parts of Te Araroa suitable for dogs are urban walks, road walking and (some) beaches.
Cycling is generally unsuitable on Te Araroa, as most tracks are only constructed to walking standards. There are occasional sections where te Araroa intersects with cycleways however these are a small minority.
Those interested in cycling should investigate www.nzcycletrail.com
For similar reasons, horses are unsuitable on most Te Araroa routes and better options for horse-riding can be found at www.nzbridleways.info
Unicorns will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
How do I navigate Te Araroa?
Trail Notes and Maps
Te Araroa Trust supply Trail Notes and Maps on this website - see either the Trail pages or Downloads page.
These are updated annually, in early September. We recommend not printing these out until after the annual update which is always advised on the Te Araroa website and Facebook page.
These resources are provided free to walkers - however you should consider making a Donation to support Te Araroa Trust.
Keep a regular eye on the Trail Status page where trail damage, temporary closures and other significant changes are logged during the walking season.
Please adhere to all closures and diversions - Te Araroa relies heavily on goodwill of landowners and trail neighbours.
There are also a number of seasonal closures on some Te Araroa routes - generally due to lambing, forestry activity, special events or the like. Please ensure these are observed.
The TA Wiki - which is developed/maintained by a group of walkers, not by Te Araroa Trust - can also be a good point of reference though please note Te Araroa Trust cannot guarantee the accuracy of these entries.
Likewise there are a number of Apps and other Trail Resources often made available by other people - Te Araroa Trust cannot guarantee the accuracy of these and remind walkers it is your own responsibility to ensure the correct route is walked and all conditions of access observed - please do not put the future of Te Araroa at risk.
There is a variety of marking - orange triangles in the remote bush areas, and Te Araroa logos/signs in more built up areas (see examples below).