It starts on a historic crossing of the Main Divide via the Harper Pass Track. You pass from grassy cattle flats and beech forest on the east to rugged rivers on the west.
The diversion west is brief as Te Araroa bounces east again over Goat Pass. The route passes through hundreds of kilometres of merino stations and Crown land.
Next, are the large and braided Rakaia and Rangitata rivers - a natural barrier to Te Araroa's trampers. These rivers safety zones that do not form part of the trail proper, and should not be crossed on foot.
Te Araroa continues through the vast Mackenzie Basin. The lakes here are turquoise, the mountain views scintillating. Then on to picturebook views of Mt Cook as you enter Twizel. Then another climb as you cross the Ohau Range.