Hiking Te Araroa is not nearly as ‘remote’ as I thought it would be. I knew the track on the North Island visits towns every few days and even takes trampers through the heart of major cities. As an avid backpacker in the US, I thought I was prepared for this, however, it has surprised me more than I thought it would.
Backpacking the Appalachian Trail, hikers are very much removed from society in that the trail is very isolated. (Some of that isolation may have been self imposed on my part. This is the first time I’ve traveled with electronics.) Trampers on Te Araroa have ample opportunity to experience the outside world quite often.
Walking from one track to another, trampers can stop in towns, restock supplies, and catch up on news and current events in the rest of the world. Additionally, there is ample opportunity to visit with locals to learn more about the areas we are tramping through.
For example, the guides for the town of Waipu tell trampers what services are available in towns like hostels and food resupply. The guides tell trampers how to get to the towns by road. But after a brief conversation with locals I learned that Waipu has a fascinating history and is home to glow worm caves, something the guides were woefully inadequate in conveying.
It’s these little things that are making my trip more exciting to me. There are trampers on the trail rushing through every inch of Te Araroa and that is their experience. I’m glad I’m taking time out to visit and experience all New Zealand has to offer beyond a twelve-inch (or 30 cm) wide path from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
Te Araroa can be so many different experiences to each and every tramper!
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