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 episode covers the fourth section of our Te Araroa thru-hike, 272 km of hiking from Hamilton to Taumarunui on the North Island of New Zealand.
A write-up along this section… add or take a few km…
WHATAWHATA TO TAUMARUNUI (774 – 1032 km):
The next challenge was the Pirongia Forest. Mount Pirongia is an extinct stratovolcano and at 959 meters it is the highest peak in the Waikato region. Nice climb up, and a really steep, muddy a d sketchy climb down on the other side. There is a nice hut on the summit, but we decided to go up and over the same day.
Next, we pushed s really big day to an amazing trail angel in Te Kuiti since everything in Waitomo was either booked, closed, or a million dollars… The weather is really shit at the moment… lots and lots of rain… so we gratefully accepted the offer to stay an extra night. Our first proper rest day.
The trail out of Te Kuiti is a rough one, really testing your patience. Took us 6.5 hours to hike 17 km. Really overgrown with tall grass, blackberry thickets, and prickly gorse. A very steep sidle for most of it too, either next to a sheer drop to the river or on farmlands with no existing trail at all. Hard work in the slippery mud after all the rain. Had plans to go further, but came across this awesome camp spot with a wee shelter made for TA hikers and could not pass it up. Especially not with all the rain forecast to drop overnight (22mm in 2 hours). It just means more km on roads tomorrow.
A long road walk brought us to the trailhead in Pureora Forest. TA follows the Timber Trail through here, a very nice mountain bike trail and we are thankful not having to battle a muddy wet track for once. Pureora is a very beautiful forest, covered in ferns and mosses, some of it untouched by logging. Lots of birds too. Camped up at the free DOC campsite about halfway through after a 40 km day. We passed the 1000 km mark on trail the next day (another 40+ km day) on our way down.
Since we pushed up and over in two days, and most people do it in three, we seem to have caught up with another TA bubble. We are camped up at the canoe hire company in Taumarunui tonight with a dozen other TA hikers. We have another week of hiking to do before we meet our canoe on the Whanganui river, but all the logistics with food and canoe rental are sorted here.
We are heading towards the Tongariro alpine crossing followed by the Whanganui river next, so this section should be really cool!
Love life on trail!