I was in Taumarunui, New Zealand – Day 68 and 1,032km into #WalkNZ.
I was just sitting, eating breakfast, really just minding my own business when the Dutch Te Araroa trail walker sat down next to me and proceeded to interrogate me.
“How many kilometres are you walking a day?” was his first question as he tucked into a juicy peach. Continue reading
I’d just returned to Auckland after being forced to push pause on my #WalkNZ adventure after injuring my knee at the 2,000km mark.
I was catching up with friends and family and one friend asked me: “So how’s the self-doubt? Do you think you’ve conquered it now that you’ve walked 2,000km down the length of New Zealand?” Continue reading
Three weeks ago, I had to turn around and walk back into civilisation when poor weather conditions and a dodgy leg forced my hand and I couldn’t make it over the second highest point on the Te Araroa trail.
I ended up in Hanmer Springs, a spa resort town in the South Island of New Zealand, for a week, eating a lot of food (notably the spectacular cinnamon swirl buns from the local bakery) and visiting two local physios a total of three times about my bung leg.
The intention was always to get back on the trail.
But when a week rolled around and the leg was no better, it was clear I needed more time off. As it was, I couldn’t see how I could walk for eight to ten hours everyday on it on the trail when after a mere 15 minutes of strolling I was in pain and hobbling (and that was without the beast of my backpack on).
It posed something of a dilemma. Continue reading
101 days. 1,688km walked.
And with that I reached Island Bay, the bottom of New Zealand’s North Island on the Te Araroa trail and my #WalkNZ adventure.
Here are the answers to questions I’ve been asked about what the journey has been like so far. Continue reading
I stood and stared at the squelchy pool of brown mud in front of me, a mixed look of disbelief and annoyance probably etched across my face.
“Really! I mean really,” I said out loud, to no one in particular. “Not more mud,” I moaned. #WalkNZ was quickly becoming #WalkMuddyNZ.
Here I was on the Tararua mountain range section of the 3,000km Te Araroa hiking trail down the length of New Zealand and yet again I was looking at a vast heap of wet, boot and soul-destroying mud.
“I’m in the fricken mountains,” I thought. “There’s not supposed to be any mud.”
I guessed this was another memo about the trail I had missed. Continue reading
After the #WalkNZ rigours of the Mangaokewa River Track and a tough 38km one-day road walk, it was time for a decent trail – surely.
So thank you Te Araroa for delivering me the Timber Trail, an 80ish kilometre cycle track between Te Kuiti and Taumarunui.
Described as a highlight of Te Araroa, this is a beautiful, wide, flat, well maintained track (everything the Americans are looking for in a hiking trail).
The inclines aren’t too onerous, there is no mud, no tree roots to navigate, no overgrown foliage to whip at the face or legs. It presents blissful, mindless walking through native New Zealand forest.
The only thing you have to look out for are the cyclists that zoom past.
I decided to take the track easy and enjoy the stroll – four days of walking, while many TA hikers power through in two days.
Plus I could add in another volcano in my #40by40 challenge. Continue reading
Day 60 of #WalkNZ didn’t start well – and it didn’t get any better.
What with a terrible night’s sleep and then being shadowed for a kilometre by a greasy-haired, gap-toothed cyclist out of Te Kuiti, I guess it didn’t bode well for what was to come – the Mangaokewa River Track; a 15km riverside walk that takes the Te Araroa hiker out of Te Kuiti and into the back country farmland of New Zealand.
I hadn’t heard any rumours about this track so what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading
The sign said it would take four hours to get to the top of Pirongia, an ancient 959 metre-high volcano in New Zealand’s Waikato/King Country region, and to the Pahautea hut.
Clearly this sign does not take into account a 17kg backpack nor the mud. Continue reading
Forty-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. Continue reading
So far, #WalkNZ has been a solo journey – but it was always meant to be.
Last week I was asked if I was bored of walking by myself. An interesting question.
I said no – I’ve met many people along the Te Araroa trail and, for the most part, I’ve spent each night with an eclectic group of random fellow trampers.
That said, I have to admit I am a little bit over listening to myself think while I’m walking. Mainly because all I seem to be thinking is how much my feet hurt, how much my shoulders hurt, how boring and monotonous this road walk is, and where I should put my foot so I don’t a) slip over b) twist it or c) fall off the trail/down the hill.
So, it was quite a joy to have one of my best friends join me on the Coast to Coast trail across Auckland, which just so happened to conveniently cross over three dormant volcanoes – part of the 40 plus volcanoes in the Auckland volcanic field – and thereby ticking off volcanoes 18, 19 and 20 in my #40by40 volcano challenge, and reaching the halfway mark. Continue reading