This morning three ceremonies in New Zealand officially opened the 3,000km Te Araroa walking trail. Te Araroa, meaning ‘the long pathway’, is a national foot trail running the length of country.
A ceremony was held at the north trailhead, south trailhead and the midway point at Wellington, coinciding with the release of the a trail guide, The Walking Guide to Te Araroa, written by Geoff Chapple (the Te Araroa Trust chief) and published by Random House.
The trail explores New Zealand’s unique landscape, its volcanoes, its range and mountain uplift, its rivers, lakes and valleys. From Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island it traverses the length of the country down to Stirling Pt in Bluff at the bottom of the South Island. Envisionaged in 1975, it was not until the late 90s that material progress was acheived. Some 45% of the trail consists of smaller trails linked together, the remaining 55% consists of new trails. Just 13.5% is along roads.
By the mid-2000s and well ahead of the trail’s completion, eager walkers were already hitting the trail – up to 10 a year, using roads as by-passes where necessary. It is predicted that about 100 people will walk the length of the trail annually, 7000 people will walk overnight sections and 350,000 people will use the trail for day walks.
Anyone have three or four months to spare next year?
Further info can be found on the Te Araroa website: http://www.teararoa.org.nz