#WalkNZ – highlights from the first 49 days on the Te Araroa trail

20181220_161619Forty-nine days of walking (up to my festive five-day rest break), 773.5km walked.

Here’s the highlights from the first quarter of the Te Araroa trail down the length of New Zealand.


  • Walking the whole of Ninety Mile Beach (boy it was hard and an introduction to Te Araroa)


  • Spending 12 hours wading through knee-high mud in Raetea Forest – a brutal undertaking that I still feel slightly traumatised from


  • Surviving Raetea Forest – and actually doing it all by myself (and only getting slightly lost twice)


  • Walking past what was probably a dead washed up whale on Ninety Mile Beach


  • Walking 35km in one day – and it was only week two! (Still not sure how I did that but I was seriously hobbling by the end)


  • Experiencing an overwhelming moment in native forest when I was serenaded by a group of tuis – they were almost like personal cheerleaders willing me on


  • Doing my first hitch hike – well the German couple did all the thumbing, I just stood there like a doofus (all of 5km to pass two aggressive dogs)


  • Being invited by a Buddhist to stay at his house where he would cook me rice and chickpeas for breakfast (I kindly declined – a Buddhist who looks wild and rides a motorbike is a little weird)


  • Experiencing the sacredness, purity and peacefulness while walking up a stream in Russell Forest


  • Eating the best bacon, eggs and hash brown dinner ever


  • Saw Tane Moana the giant Kauri tree and was so overwhelmed I burst into tears


  • Somehow getting sucked in by a campsite host to spend an hour and a half raking up palm fronds – I did get a free night’s camping as a result!


  • Crossing my first official river – and getting wet underpants because we’d timed the tide wrong


  • Walking along a section of road and being followed by dancing cows


  • Almost getting attacked by a nesting bird


  • Climbing a very steep scramble with a heavy back pack only to realise at the top that the other side was an easy sand dune


  • Having my tent survive two overnight storms and not leak


  • Climbing forested hills and getting to numerous summits that are shrouded in cloud and not being able to see any view


  • Having a fellow walker play happy birthday to me on their phone on the morning of my birthday – one of the sweetest things ever.


  • Seeing trail walkers walking with umbrellas – still undecided on this


  • Sharing a very muddy, steep and narrow trail with three cows


  • Almost having a breakdown in another muddy forest


  • Listening to Americans complain about the quality of the Te Araroa trail – it’s not like hiking in America by all accounts


  • Seeing my first glimpse of Auckland city


  • Walking across Auckland with one of my best friends


  • Ticking another three volcanoes off my #40by40 challenge


  • Sleeping inside when a huge storm with rain, hail, thunder and lightning raged outside


  • Thinking my trail legs have kicked in and walking an amazing 30km then realising the next day that I was mistaken


  • Coming up with massive red welts on my legs from walking through knee high and waist-high grass


  • Getting lost in shoulder-high grass


  • Actually somewhat enjoying a forest walk


  • Being invited to stay the night with two lesbians


  • Following the mighty Waikato River into Hamilton


  • Hours of singing motivational songs from the 80s and 90s


  • Eating fish n chips on more than five occasions


  • Eating so much fish n chips for lunch one day that I spent an hour walking and burping afterwards


  • Being kept awake by mosquitos buzzing like an orchestra


  • Hot showers after days of going without


  • Being able to squat pee with a 17kg back pack on


  • Purifying and drinking stream water for the first time


  • Enjoying two-minute noodles (despite my mother’s best efforts to not have me eat that junk)


  • The honour of meeting some of the most magnificent trail angels and experiencing the generosity of complete strangers


  • Cutting loose skin off a popped blister and using tweezers to pick out bits of dirt stuck underneath


  • Having feet that looked like I have chicken pox thanks to the bloodlust of sand flies


  • Enjoying my own company for the most part


  • Having Christmas with my family for the first time in about 3 years


  • Increasing my fundraising donations for Mind and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand



3 thoughts on “#WalkNZ – highlights from the first 49 days on the Te Araroa trail

  1. Katrina you are amazing! You have seen and done so much in a 1/4 of your adventure. You can do it, stay strong. Hope your festive break with your family has given you extra strength to carry on with this epic experience. Love all that you are doing. 😘😘


  2. Happy Christmas Kat. This is some achievement and makes fascinating reading. Enjoy the new year celebrations and may your path be rewarding in January. Happy New Year. Sarah xxx


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