For the past six months, a small team of outdoors experts from Got To Get Out have been coaching a group of relatively novice hikers to try and complete increasingly hard weekend-long sections of Te Araroa.
These novice hikers each contacted us online, saying they wanted to change their mental and physical health by getting outdoors. Little did they know what they were in for! Today, they have all completed this life-changing project.
Te Araroa is the hiking or walking (and occasional kayak) trail spanning 3000k, the whole length of New Zealand. We wanted to show what can be achieved by every-day Kiwis during a weekend, without taking months off work as more traditional through-hikers would.
The sixth and last video in our series documents our group of now ‘substantially less novice’ hikers (a credit to their commitment) attempting a comparatively easy section of trail, by their new standards.
Our group of weekend-warriors would embark on kayaking from Puhoi to Wenderholm Regional Park, before continuing on foot to Orewa beach.
After months of hiking some of the most rugged and difficult sections of trail (see our NZ Herald Travel videos of Tararua Ranges, Mt Pirongia, Hakarimata) it was nice to end this project on a comparatively easy note, floating rather than trudging on foot for a welcome change.
For this final adventure, we opted to travel SOBO (South Bound), and drove from Auckland up to the ‘start line’ in Puhoi, about one hour north of the city. After coffee in the lovely historic Puhoi village, we got fitted with life vests and paddles, by the friendly staff at Puhoi Kayaks.
The paddle itself from Puhoi to Wenderholm is fairly easy going, a welcome relief for Te Araroa through-hikers who have walked all the way from Cape Reinga by this stage. It’s worth noting, if one times the tides wrong (paddling on the incoming instead of outgoing tide) this easy paddle can become quite a slog against the current. Winds matter, too.
Our group put their phones and cameras into dry-bags (a good thing, as it rained the whole journey, in the middle of summer) then paddled to Wenderholm at a leisurely pace. The kayak rental team met us at Wenderholm, collected the kayaks, and then we all continued on foot to Orewa, the end of our journey.
Choosing Orewa as the ‘end point’ of this section of Te Araroa was symbolic for this group. If you remember back to our first video shared here on NZ Herald Travel (North Shore Coastal Walk) we started in Devonport and walked to Orewa. A gruelling induction, on hard packed sand. For a Te Araroa hiker to say they’ve walked this whole ‘section’, one ought to finish in Puhoi. So, now our group can say they’ve done the whole section.
The walk from Wenderholm Regional Park to Orewa is tide affected, so you need to wait for the low tide in order to make it around the rocks without wading in deep water and getting soaked. The alternative is to skip the coast and take the road, but where is the fun in that? On this final morning, our group enjoyed killing time exploring Wenderholm Regional Park, to wait for the perfect time to walk around the rocks.
People thinking about hiking this or any section of Te Araroa, should download the trail notes (see teararoa.org.nz) and prepare by sourcing the right clothing for the conditions, equipment such as walking poles and footwear, lightweight and waterproof tents, and lightweight high energy nutrition to keep energy up during long days on foot with backpack.
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