Walking New Zealand

Te Araroa walkers get creative to complete the trail

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Jenny and Gerard Wells are among 600 people who have registered to walk Te Araroa Trail this summer. Thousands more walkers will complete small sections of the trail throughout the season. Te Araroa Trail is a 3000km walk from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Summer weather typically makes it the busiest season for walkers as the walk can take 4-6 months to complete.

More than three quarters of those registered for Te Araroa are planning to start from Cape Reinga and walk south. However, with alert level 3 restrictio­ns currently in the upper North Island, walkers are coming up with creative ways to finish the journey. Many who have already started the trail, have chosen to start around the restricted regions and come back to the missed regions later. Jenny and Gerard are a few days into their south-bound journey and have been looking forward to this journey for a long time. Some popular Te Araroa tracks for first time Te Araroa walkers to try are:

North Island:-Mangawhai to Pākiri, Massey to Levin - Burtton’s Track, Rangituhi/Colonial Knob, Tongariro Alpine Crossing

South Island:- Pelorus River Track - Maungatapu Road End to Captain Creek Hut, Arthur’s Pass to Rākaia River - Klondyke Track, East Ahuriri Track, Wakatipu Track, Long Hilly Track - Loop track available for day-walkers

Te Araroa Executive Director, Mark Weatherall says people walking Te Araroa Trail this season need to understand what the Alert Levels mean for walking in the outdoors and do their part to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19. In regions at Alert Level 3 all DOC huts, campsites and facilities, including toilets, are closed. Overnight tramping is off limits, says Weatherall.

Walkers should maintain physical distancing of two metres wherever possible, including in huts, and should regularly wash or sanitise hands. They should carry cleaning supplies and a tent with them, in case a hut is too crowded to allow for physical distancing to take place.

Walkers should keep updated on trail status and alerts at TeAraroa.org, use the NZ COVID Tracer App to scan QR codes where available and make sure Bluetooth is switched on to make contact tracing easier.

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