Walk­ers spend up on Te Araroa Trail

South Waikato News - - Farming - AMANDA CROPP

Thanks to busy blog­gers, Manga­muka Dairy owner El­iza Kete’s ba­con and egg burg­ers are leg­endary among walk­ers on the Te Araroa Trail and she is grate­ful for their pa­tron­age.

‘‘They call it the sanc­tu­ary in the desert and come in for ice­creams and drinks.’’

The re­mote lit­tle North­land dairy is just one of many busi­nesses ben­e­fit­ing from their prox­im­ity to the 3000km trail stretch­ing the length of the coun­try from Cape Reinga to Bluff

This year up to 450 peo­ple are ex­pected to com­plete the en­tire jour­ney, which takes five months on av­er­age, with another 10,000 tack­ling one or more sec­tions.

Hos­tels and camp­ing grounds are ben­e­fit­ing from the trail’s pop­u­lar­ity and some, such as the YHA, of­fer ‘‘car­bon dis­counts’’ to those trav­el­ling on foot.

Re­bekah Cone of the Lake Tekapo Hol­i­day Park has done the full trail and un­der­stands why a night or two in a hol­i­day park goes down so well with hik­ers.

‘‘When you’re on the trail, life be­comes sim­ple – you cher­ish the small things like the feel­ing of a soft pil­low pressed against your sun­burnt skin in­stead of a sack packed with smelly clothes, a hot shower in­stead of a quick splash in a cold river, or even a proper oven to cook on in­stead of a flimsy stove that can barely han­dle the weight of your mac ‘n’ cheese.’’

Tau­marunui Hol­i­day Park owner Phil Draper saw only a hand­ful of walk­ers when the trail opened in 2011, but wel­comed close to180 last sea­son.

Most walk­ers were over­seas vis­i­tors, and Ki­wis tended to do the trail in stages, tak­ing two weeks off work and pick­ing up where they left off last time.

‘‘Ev­ery­body has their own story about why they’re do­ing it. Some it’s be­cause they’ve had a close be­reave­ment and want to take time out to sort their heads out, some be­cause it’s a challenge.

‘‘Last year we had a lot of young ones in their late teens and early twen­ties.’’

Trail chief ex­ec­u­tive Rob Wake­lin said busi­nesses in re­mote ar­eas also acted as sup­ply de­pots, hold­ing ‘‘bounce boxes’’ sent in ad­vance for walk­ers to stock up on food or equip­ment be­fore set­ting off again.

There is no fee to walk the trail but Wake­lin said they were now more up front about seek­ing do­na­tions which had reached about $20,000.

Walk­ers on the Te Araroa Trail

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