Christmas came early this week for Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail after it was selected as one of the best hikes in the world.
The influential National Geographic magazine has placed Te Araroa alongside some of the world’s most renowned walking routes in its collection of “World’s Best Hikes: 20 Dream Trails.”
Te Araroa (Māori for “The Long Pathway”) runs 2996km from Cape Reinga at the top of New Zealand’s North Island to Bluff at the bottom of the South. The walk showcases stunning New Zealand landscapes including; Ninety Mile Beach, the Tutukaka Coast, the North Island volcanic plateau, the Queen Charlotte Sound and the Southern Alps along the way.
“As National Geographic highlight, it’s the variety that makes Te Araroa one of the best and that is just as true at a local level as it is for those coming from overseas to walk the route.” Te Araroa Trust CEO Rob Wakelin said.
“Te Araroa could become a part of Kiwi culture whether that be walking Te Araroa, like a rite of passage, or actively supporting the Trail and those walking it.”
Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key was quick to recognise what this meant for New Zealand.
“I am delighted Te Araroa has been named one of the world’s best trails.
"Te Araroa Trail, which spans from Cape Reinga to Bluff, showcases the best of New Zealand’s diverse and unrivalled scenery. It’s a great example of a public-private partnership that enables overseas visitors and New Zealanders to experience the natural beauty New Zealand has to offer.
“Between 2009-2013, over a million international visitors participated in a walking or hiking activity during their visit to New Zealand. These visitors are hugely valuable to our tourism industry as they stay longer and spend more than other visitors, so it’s great to see one of our trails recognised on the world stage.”
Te Araroa and its recent placement on the National Geographic list have Wakelin enthusiastic for the summer ahead.
“This summer sees record numbers walking Te Araroa and that popularity continues to stimulate private enterprise along the route such as accommodation, transport and other services for walkers – with those listings on our website doubling in the last year.
“Those providers and the countless everyday Kiwis offering kindness and support are often referred to by walkers as what makes Te Araroa so unique and memorable.”
Background: Te Araroa
Te Araroa is 2996km long, from Cape Reinga to Bluff, and can be walked in either direction.
Founded in 1994 by Geoff Chapple, ONZM.
Officially opened 3 December 2011 by Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General of New Zealand.
Managed by the Te Araroa Trust, a charitable trust working in partnership with DOC, councils and private landowners to form and maintain the trail.
The route includes popular routes the Tongariro Crossing, the Whanganui River and the Queen Charlotte Track.
The route passes through major cities Auckland, Hamilton, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington, Queenstown and Invercargill.
Walking the entire trail takes an average 120-150 days.
Te Araroa was completed in 53 days by Jez Bragg, British ultra-runner, in February 2013.