Breaks in trail threaten NZ reputation
WALKERS and land-owners along our fastest-growing international tourist attraction, the 3000km Te Araroa Trail, fear New Zealand is jeopardising its reputation by relying on locals’ goodwill to keep it running.
Jack and Jayne Broome of Reotahi Bay have taken in a handful of Te Araroa trampers over the past few years – just some of the hundreds of thousands of people walk and run parts of the trail every year. And this summer, the number walking the full length will top 1000 for the first time.
The Broomes also help those whowant to get across the Whangarei Harbour to Marsden point, over a few kilometres wide stretch of sea. There’s no ferry and trampers have to rely on the goodwill of local boaties.
Claire Prosser, a Brit currently walking the trail with her partner simply ‘‘met aman named Pete’’, paid him $10 each for her and her partner’s passage, and marvelled at the ad hoc nature of much of the Te Araroa Trail. ‘‘It does seem amazing that such a huge tourist attraction is essentially run on a shoestring and good will,’’ she says.
Prosser noted other irregularities in the trail, including the occasional closed section of track across farmland or through forest. Some of these had signs offering an explanation – a rahui to stop the spread of Kauri dieback, for instance, but other signs were nothing more than the words ‘‘track closed’’ scrawled on paper.
Federated Farmers vice president Andrew Hoggard says farmers may be fed up with tourists leaving gates open, or leaving toilet paper in paddocks.