Taking a leap of faith has paid off for the Meththa family, who are into their fourth month on Te Araroa Trail.
“We weren’t even sure if it was going to work,” said Asanka Meththa, who is walking the trail with wife Mariya, Alexander, 10, Victoria, 7, and 6-month-old Aaron. “But we have nothing to lose, we can always come home.”
It all began with Asanka wanting to walk the trail and Mariya suggesting they do it as a family.
They had done a couple of overnight tramps before but nothing like Te Araroa Trail.
The family of five set out from Cape Reinga in December to walk to Paihia, knowing they were close to their home in Kerikeri in case things didn’t pan out.
“To our surprise, everything was okay,” said Asanka, a civil design engineer.
After a few gear adjustments, the family flew south in January to walk the trail from Bluff.
They’ve now walked more than 1100km of Te Araroa, startling a few trampers along the way who weren’t expecting to see a young family, let alone a newborn.
Asanka said they had a daily routine, with the older children responsible for packing their own gear and dressing for the weather.
“They are learning some advanced skills, like cooking meals and crossing rivers.”
The whole family was connecting with nature and learning that life was easier with less.
“Being on a trail like this, you don’t need a lot,” Asanka said. “You realise how small you are in the wilderness and how much there is to see.”