I’d announced The Te Araroa Trail opening was happening today, earlier this week, and I made an effort to make it along.
(I know Te Araroa, means “The Long Pathway” so “The Te Araroa Trail” literally means “The The Long Pathway Trail”, but if you have ever uttered the words “Mekong River” then you’ll just have to forgive me)
This morning in Island Bay it was a day that had everything; sunshine and a brass band:
The Govenor General opened the Te Araroa Trail for all of New Zealand and for foreign visitors too. There were also speeches from Geoff Chapple, who’s original idea was the inspiration for the track, and Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown. There were parallel ceremonies on 90 Mile Beach in Northland and Bluff in Southland.
A plaque was unveiled and trees were planted:
And like a few others, my buddy and I set off to walk the first 14km heading north out of Island Bay. The weather was warm and that made the views quite stunning:
It was really a beautiful day for a walk or a game of cricket:
We talked about keeping on going over Tinakori Hill, Ngaio Gorge, over Mt Kaukau and into Johnsonville and then we shortened it to just Crofton Downs station, then we said hey it is hot, and we walked down to the Wellington Station instead, through the rose gardens which were smelling quite nice:
On the train ride no one sat next to either of us, probably because we weren’t smelling like roses.
One thing Geoff Chapple said during the ceremony, was that one of the first things they did back at the start, circa 1994, was to put together a route the whole way from Cape Reinga to Bluff which could be walked from the start, and ever since they’ve been improving the route sending it off-road wherever they could, which is a process still continuing. In an upcoming blog will be how that strategy could be employed by Nga Haerenga, the National Cycleway.
Congratulations were read out from the organisations behind the Trans Canada Trail, The Appalachian Trail, The Pacific Crest Trail and the Bibbulman Track. That puts into perspective what little old New Zealand has achieved with Te Araroa.