WHERE: Te Araroa “the long pathway” – New Zealand, North Island
WHEN: November 6, 2020 – January 10, 2021
WHO: Karma & Scott
OBJECTIVE: Te Araroa thru-hike (North Island)
DISTANCE: 1846 km

This video episode covers the first 220 kilometers on the Te Araroa long-distance trail, from Cape Reinga to Kerikeri. Starting with a long grueling hike down 90-Mile Beach and through the beautiful Northland forests.

A write-up along this section… add or take a few km…


The Te Araroa long-distance trail is known for throwing you into the deep end on day one. The first two hundred kilometers of the trail start with a demanding hike down 90-Mile Beach. Four days of beach, nothing but beach, and it takes a toll both on fresh feet and the mind. Far in between water sources on the spit also forces a few 30 km days already this first week.

Next, the trail heads up through the beautiful Northland forests. Unfortunately, there is a lot of track closures at the moment due to Kauri dieback disease, but two forests are still open, the Raetea and Puketi. There has been severe drought up here in Northland over the past few years. So even though we saw quite a bit of rain our first week on trail, the water table is still low and the forests are not quite as muddy as they can be. We really enjoyed our day in the lush bush of Raetea, up and over in one day. The trail follows a long ridge and over some of the highest peaks in Northland, including the 744m Raetea summit.

A beautiful 2.5 km long river walk in the Mangapukahukanu stream thoroughly cleaned off any lingering Raetea mud and brought us up to the impressive Puketi Kauri Forest. A steep climb up the ridge among young and old Kauri felt like a privilege given how many Kauri forests are now closed. There are boot cleaning stations at both ends of the forest, and DOC has done a big job on upgrading the track in order to protect the sensitive roots from foot traffic.

A long road walk finally brought us into Kerikeri for a resupply. From Kerikeri, we drop down to the ocean in The Bay of Islands. Following the coastal walkway between Pahia and Opua before detouring around Russell Forest on roads. We stopped in at ‘The Farm’ a bustling farm/backpackers/recreation center along the way for a rest day.

There has always been a bit of road walking in Te Araroa here on the North Island. But with all the recent track closures, this portion has grown significantly. A shame that the detours cannot be created differently given how many alternate routes there are.

We still looove being back out and look forward to an amazing summer on trail!