Te Araroa Trail
New Zealand’s long walking trail, Te Araroa, is a 3,000-kilometre tramping route running from Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island. Popular with visitors to Aotearoa, walking the length of New Zealand is a burgeoning rite of passage for Kiwis.
Te Araroa’s founders believed New Zealand’s great variety of landscapes and the open-hearted character of its people would be an invitation to the world and to Kiwis themselves – to explore it all, over five or six months, at walking pace along a single, narrow route. This set of stamps highlights the diversity of New Zealand’s landscapes, and the stunning scenery to be discovered on New Zealand’s trail.
$1.30 Ninety Mile Beach, Northland
The first day’s tramp from Te Araroa’s northern start point at Cape Reinga takes a through tramper to Scotts Point, overlooking the long expanse of Ninety Mile Beach.
$1.30 Karamu Walkway, Waikato
West of Hamilton, Te Araroa climbs gradually away from the Waipa River banks. At 200 metres’ elevation, the tramper’s reward is airy views across the Waikato Plains.
$1.30 Tongariro Alpine Crossing
As winter through-trampers require specialist alpine skills, Te Araroa trampers usually traverse the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing in summer.
$2.40 Nelson Lakes, Tasman
Some through trampers walk Te Araroa from south to north, and this one has crossed Waiau Pass (1,870m) on the distant Franklin Ridge, and pushes on through snowgrass above Lake Constance towards Blue Lake Hut.
$3.30 Stag Saddle, Canterbury
For safety in marginal weather, Te Araroa’s route is poled along Camp Stream Valley to Stag Saddle (1,925m), the trail’s highest point. The recognised alternative in good weather, though, is the ridgeline west of the valley.
$4.00 Lake Hawea, Otago
The Otago trail heads over Breast Hill (1,578 metres) before dropping down 300 metres over the next two kilometres to Pakituhi Hut. Most Te Araroa trampers stop overnight here, awakening to explore rocky outcrops near the hut.
Journalist, playwright and author Geoff Chapple is the former Chief Executive and founder of Te Araroa. In 2012 Geoff was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to tramping, tourism and literature, and Geoff tells the story of the trail in this issue’s presentation pack.