For those of you that don’t know, Te Araroa is about 3,000km (1,860 miles), walking the whole length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south (or less often, in the other direction). If you want to see the exact route, click here and zoom the map out.
I’ve been thinking about walking Te Araroa since I walked the Queen Charlotte Track in February 2019 with my friends (which was about 90km). We kept seeing that in the shelters we came across, in the register of people passing through, lots of people walking had written their destination as “TA SOBO” (and also occasionally “TA NOBO”) and we couldn’t work out what it meant.
Our group met up with a guy called Miguel while we were walking and he was walking the trail, and we heard a bit about it from him. Suddenly it became clear that “TA SOBO” meant Te Araroa Southbound. Clearly quite a lot of people were walking this trail, judging by the number of times we saw it in the registers!
I thought it was an intriguing idea, and after the Queen Charlotte track my friends and I were talking about it on the way back to the airport. My friends largely scoffed at the idea. But in my head I was thinking “I could do that”.
Since then I have been reading blog posts and planning it. But now with only two months to go, and now that I’ve actually started buying gear and planning to take time off work (and started a blog), I realise I actually have to go through with it… There’s no turning back now! Uh oh…
Scariest things for me… will there always be somewhere to sleep? Or go to the toilet? And river crossings… the trail has a lot of river crossings. I’m not much of a water person. Oh yes… you’re also stuck in a canoe for nearly a week down the Whanganui River. I’m kind of looking forward to that part, but mostly it scares the hell out of me. And I’ve only ever camped for two nights in a row before, and definitely never by myself. And I hardly ever do any cooking on a normal day… so what am I going to eat? I feel like I might be living off nuts and couscous every day.
But I love being outside with nothing and nobody around, it’s a great feeling. And it’s been a long time since I’ve been way out of my comfort zone. I’m sure I’m going to love it!
And I realised that I never answered the original question – why am I doing this? I guess the answer is… because I can.
If you would like to follow my journey and get emails about new posts, you can subscribe to my blog!