For one household, this past Christmas must have been one of the best they’ve ever had. After numerous delays and postponements, in early December the length-of-New Zealand trail Geoff Chapple has been working on for the past 17 years was officially opened. Time he sat back, raised a glass and took a well-earned break – he certainly deserves it.
Chapple conceived and drove Te Araroa. It was his vision, ability to coerce land owners towards his way of thinking and sheer stubborn drive that made the 3000km trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff possible.
And now trampers from all over the world can to do something you can’t do anywhere else – walk the length of a country on a single, continuous path.
We’re devoting much of this issue to Te Araroa. For those that decide to do the whole trail in one go, it will be a major undertaking and well worth your time reading the advice of those who have already completed it – particularly that of Paul Garland who says what you eat on the trail is the most important factor to enjoying – and finishing – it. Paul should know he’s been experimenting with backcountry food for nigh on 40 years and has just written a cookbook for trampers. His top advice? Think of the energy the food you pack will give and don’t skimp on the luxuries – Paul, who is 2200km into Te Araroa, makes a dessert every night.
If you don’t think you can spare 3 months or so to walk the entire trail, why not do some of the best sections highlighted from page 42 onwards? Some are day or overnight trips, while others are multiday tramps in some of the country’s most famous stomping grounds.
Te Araroa has something for everyone: the committed through walker intent on completing the whole shebang right through to those who just want a small taste of some of the diverse landscapes the trail passes through.
Thanks to Geoff Chapple and the volunteers who work for the trust he established, trampers in New Zealand can now have their cake and eat it, too.