The George family has stopped walking the Te Araroa Trail after 685km.
The Melbourne family of parents Daniel and Kelly, Gabrielle (15), twins Holli and Asha (14), Rex (13) and Forrest (10) were set to become one of the youngest – and possibly the largest – families to complete the 3000km trail.
The family decided to pull the plug at Mercer in the Waikato because Rex was struggling to adjust to life on the trail.
“Rex has a syndrome and because of this, everything is much harder for him – balancing, physical strength, being adaptable, and dealing with stress,” Gabrielle said.
“We did a lot to help him out – he had a very light pack, we set up and packed up for him, he had someone helping him along nearly all the time, but he was still struggling.”
Gabrielle said the family is devastated, but they had run out of solutions.
“It’s hard to have to stop, especially as everyone seemed to know us. Word spread on the trail and everyone knew about the big family hiking it,” she said.
Gabrielle plans to return in two years when she turns 18, possibly with siblings Holli, Asha and Forrest in tow.
She also plans to walk a long-distance trail with her dad in the future, and the pair have shaken on it.
The George family has returned home to Melbourne.