I've given myself a start date. On October 19th I will (INZ willing) begin my through hike of Te Araroa, New Zealands national trail.
The Long Pathway through New Zealand will take me from Cape Reinga in the North, over 3000km of NZ's urban and scenic landscape, to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island (Check out the map here https://www.teararoa.org.nz/).
Compared to other long distance trails such as the Pacific Crest and Camino de Santiago, Te Araroa is relatively new. The dream of Geoff Chapple (who's book TA- One Man Walks His Dream I'm going to read on trail), Te Araroa only became officially recognised in 2011. Even now though, the trail is subject to route changes, at the moment the presence of Kauri dieback has lead to sections being diverted or bypassed in an effort to save the ancient native trees. During my four to six months on trail, Te Araroa promises to provide beaches, mountains, cities, wild bush and farmland. Unlike other trails TA also involves several stretches across water, the most notable being the crossing between islands but other ferry and kayak opportunities crop up along the way. There are parts people prefer to bike, sizeable road sections and hitching a lift is even part of the trail for many trampers.
Since its inauguration both kiwis and international visitors have chosen to set foot onto Te Araroa as a way to explore New Zealand, and this year I'm going to be one of them. With COVID having closed NZ's borders for this season international visitor numbers may be down I'm sure the trail will be busy with adventurous Kiwis, keen to explore their home country, and a few lucky internationals like myself.
So at this point I'm nearly there with my gear set up, I've let friends and family know what I'm about to undertake; A solo, SOBO, Thru hike - which translates to: walking the trail in its entirety, north to south, and on my own. Oh, and along with that apparently I've decided to blog my journey! Everything is slowly falling into place and the adventure becoming more real every day... 24 days and counting!
So keep posted for updates I guess!