Te Araroa Trail: Fam­ily ad­ven­ture for the ‘Swift five’ on the Te Araroa Trail

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Pia Wit­twer Blaser

We wanted to give our kids some ad­ven­ture. For most fam­i­lies that would prob­a­bly mean a trip to Dis­ney­land or a cruise.

We de­cided to walk the length of the South Is­land in­stead! Two months fol­low­ing the Te Araroa Trail (the New Zealand long path) through the back coun­try, with limited in­ter­net ac­cess and hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of land­scape to scam­per through. Crazy? Yes, that’s ex­actly what ev­ery­body else said!

We spent a whole year and count­less hours of re­search on the in­ter­net and found a huge amount of in­for­ma­tion for solo hik­ers or for cou­ples; but feed­ing and ac­com­mo­dat­ing five peo­ple turned out to be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent beast.

The more we planned the big­ger the lo­gis­tics be­came, es­pe­cially with re­sup­ply­ing spe­cialised food (de­hy­drated) for such a big group.

We learnt that weight of gear and money are in­versely re­lated and this meant search­ing sales and clear­ance racks for af­ford­able equip­ment be­cause ev­ery­thing had to be bought times five.

Maybe I for­got to men­tion at the start we had never even hiked overnight!

We did a hand­ful of two to three night hikes to prac­tice and iron out gear trou­ble dur­ing 2017. Some were more suc­cess­ful than oth­ers and we had a few dis­as­ters and miles of ex­cel spread­sheets (our blog de­tails those and more: www. just­grablife.word­press.com). … and then it be­gan We took the wa­ter taxi from Pic­ton to ship cove on a beau­ti­ful Tues­day morn­ing in early De­cem­ber.

It was a stun­ning, clear day with hardly a cloud, the sound was calm as a lake and we even saw dol­phins. When we started on the track though, re­al­ity bit home quickly. It was a hor­ren­dously steep first climb and we were red-faced and puff­ing.

For the first time in over a year I se­ri­ously ques­tioned my san­ity in start­ing this ad­ven­ture. The views were worth it though!

The next 70km in­tro­duced us to

Above: The moun­tains at Wa­iau Pass. lake scene.

Be­low: At St Ar­naud. with a peace­ful

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