At Shorland Park in Island Bay this Saturday at 10am the Governor-General, Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae will declare open Te Araroa, the Long Pathway. All are welcome. It’s quite an achievement, a 3000km walking trail linking Cape Reinga to Bluff, built with the goodwill of many people and not a lot of money and I’d like to say a very personal thankyou to everyone who has worked on it, donated money to the trusts, allowed the route to cross their land, to DOC and all the councils on the route, to the community groups, to Geoff Chapple for the original idea and subsequent enthusiasm, and everyone who walks and loves any part of it.
New Zealand now has a world class long distance walking trail. As far as I know the Rimutaka Incline Railway Group hasn’t yet applied to put a steam train over the route. There are bits that are still along roads (but it’s up to 90% not along roads), and there are still a few bits where yet to be convinced landowners need to get into the groove (like going up onto the crest between the Ohariu Valley and Tawa).
Personally when I became a bit of the backwash and moved to Wellington from Australia in 2008 I wanted to get a feel for the topography of the place so I started walking from Seatoun on the Eastern Walkway to Lyall Bay and then I walked around Evans Bay to Oriental Bay and then I walked to Island Bay on the Southern Walkway, then I walked the Te Araroa Trail all the way to Otaki Forks. It took about 8 days, not all at once, because Wellington doesn’t get 8 nice days in a row.
Here’s a few piccies of the route north out of Island Bay following the trail:
From Otaki Forks the trail goes up over the high peaks of the Tararuas and it becomes a bit more daunting. There I stopped and I still haven’t gone any further. Maybe someday.