Te Araroa Trail Itinerary

Te Araroa Trail Lake Tekapo

Te Araroa Trail Itinerary

Mine was a leisurely thru-hike and below is my Te Araroa Trail itinerary. Click the links in red to view day by day or start with Day 1 on the blog roll.

My full Te Araroa Trail experience on and off-trail totaled 146 amazing days. I started on 14th October 2017 and finished on 2nd March 2018. Finally, I came back to hike the Richmond Ranges in December 2018.

There were plenty of rest days – 12 on the North Island and 17 on the South Island. I took rest days for rest, injury, fun, exploring, waiting out weather, hot pools, and just because I could.

Purist or Non-Purist?

Before starting the trail I was adamant that I would walk as a purist i.e. walking every single step of the way according to the map. In reality, was a non-purist. I skipped small parts e.g. some State Highways, bits that I had walked before etc. I also did a ‘flip-flop’ i.e. I mixed up my route. Due to bad weather on the South Island, I walked Tekapo to Bluff before Nelson to Tekapo.

Why did I change my mind? All kinds of reasons… nice people offered me lifts, I was walking with cool people who weren’t purists either, and who wants to walk on a dangerous state highway for 20Kms?

My advice? Don’t feel bad about throwing your intentions out of the window. Do what feels right at the time. Your journey is your journey. Take your time, don’t hurry, go with what feels good and enjoy it!

Click here for a copy of my Te Araroa Trail planning spreadsheet which includes route, gear, food and training.

Te Araroa Trail – North Island

  1. Cape Reinga to flat grassy area on beach by stream Km 21.6 – wild camp
  2. Km 21.6 to Km 46.7 grassy area behind dunes – wild camp
  3. Km 46.7 to Utea Park – cabin solo
  4. Utea Park to Ahipara YHA holiday Park – camp
  5. Ahipara rest day – camp
  6. Ahipara to Km 128.5 after Herekino forest – wild camp in animal pen
  7. Km128.5 to the campsite after Ratea Forest just after the barking dogsKm156 informal campsite by river – camp
  8. Km156 to Waipapa river crossing junction with Mangapukahukahu river walk Km 183.1 – wild camp
  9. Junction with Mangapukahukahu river walk Km 183.1 to Puketi Forest DOC campsite – camp
  10. Puketi Forest DOC campsite to Kerikeri – apartment with own room
  11. Kerikeri rest day – apartment with own room
  12. Kerikeri to YHA Paihia – shared backpacker dorm
  13. Paihia to Russell Walkway Junction camping area – wild camp
  14. Russell forest to Whaikahoa Bay Doc campsite (off trail) – camp
  15. Whaikahoa Bay to Whananaki Holiday Park
  16. Whananaki to James’s place Nikau Eco Camp Ngunguru – cabin
  17. Ngunguru to Ros & Hugh’s Tidesong bnb – cabin
  18. Tidesong Ocean beach, Bream Head to Taurikura Bay – apartment with own room
  19. Taurikura Bay, Reotahi Point, Marsden Point to Waipu – stayed friends
  20. Waipu to Riverside Holiday Park Mangawhai – camp
  21. Mangawhai to Pakiri Beach Holiday Park – camp
  22. Pakiri Beach to Matt Fox on Govan Wilson Rd – camp in garage for koha
  23. Govan Wilson Road to Nanekoti Homestay Edgerley Road – caravan
  24. Edgerley Road to Puhoi pub – own room
  25. Puhoi pub to Orewa – stayed with friends
  26. Orewa to Dacre Cottage (past Stillwater before estuary) – camped in cottage shed for koha
  27. Dacre cottage to Takapuna Holiday Park – camp
  28. Takapuna to Devonport Auckland – took a lift to stay with friends as had walked Auckland coast to coast section before. Skipped Auckland to Mercer (road sections)
  29. Off trail rest day
  30. Off trail rest day
  31. Off trail rest day
  32. Mercer to Cathy’s (pie) place in Rangiri – camp
  33. Rangiriri to Huntly – stayed with friends
  34. Huntly to Ngaruawahia – stayed with friends
  35. Ngaruawahia to Hamilton – stayed with friends
  36. Skipped Hamilton to Pirongia. Dropped at Kaniwhaniwha Stream car park to Pahutea hut Mt Pirongia – DOC hut
  37. Pahutea hut to Km 871 – wild camp
  38. Km 871 to Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park – camp
  39. Waitomo to Te Kuiti Casara Mesa Backpackers – camp
  40. Te Kuiti, Mangaokewa river track, then hitch to Ngaherenga campsite (start of Timber trail) – DOC camp
  41. Ngaherenga campsite to Km 995.2 Timber Trail – wild camp
  42. Km 995.2 to #10 camp at Km 1032 Timber Trail – wild camp
  43. #10 camp at Km 1032 to Taumarunui Holiday Park (hitch from end of Timber trail to Holiday park) – shared cabin
  44. Taumarunui rest day – shared cabin
  45. Taumarunui rest day – shared cabin
  46. Taumarunui to Whakapapa river informal camp site (before river) Km 1103.5 – wild camp
  47. Whakapapa river, 42 Traverse to Km 1134.3 – wild camp
  48. Km 1134.5 Waione Cokers Track to YHA National Park – shared room
  49. National Park over Tongaririo Crossing (slackpacking) – shared room
  50. National Park to Junction of Retaruke Road and Oio Road (by horse statue) – wild camp
  51. Oio Road to Whakahoro – DOC hut
  52. Whakahoro to Whakahoro via Whanganui river (capsized!) – DOC hut
  53. Whakahoro, hitch to Pipiriki Whanganui River Adventures – camp
  54. Pipiriki to Flying Fox at Matahiwi – camp
  55. Matahiwi to YHA Whanganui – dorm room
  56. Whanganui rest day – dorm room
  57. Whanganui, hitch to Turakina beach, walk to Bridge Motor Lodge in Bulls – camp
  58. Bulls to Feilding – Trail angel
  59. Feilding to Palmerston North Holiday Park – camp
  60. Palmerston North to Km 1541.4 Burton’s Track – wild camp
  61. Km 1541.4 Burton’s Track to Sally’s place at Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre – camp for koha
  62. Outdoor Pursuits Centre to Te Matawai DOC hut Tararua Ranges – Doc hut
  63. Te Matawai hut to Nichols DOC hut Tararua Ranges – DOC hut (camped)
  64. Nichols hut to Waitewaewae hut Tararua Ranges – DOC hut
  65. Waitewaewae hut to Otaki Forks campground – camp
  66. Otaki Forks to Kapiti Holiday resort campsite Paraparaumu – camp
  67. Paraparaumu to Paekakariki Holiday Park – camp
  68. Paekakariki to Porirua Camp Elsdon – cabin
  69. Porirua to Ngaio Wellington – Airbnb
  70. Ngaio through Wellington – to complete N.Island. YHA Wellington – dorm room
  71. Wellington rest day – own room
  72. Wellington rest day – own room
  73. Wellington rest day – own room
  74. Wellington rest day traveled to Picton Villa backpackers – dorm room


Te Araroa Trail – South Island

  1. Picton to Madsen’s campsite Queen Charlotte Track – camp
  2. Madsen’s campsite to Cowshed Bay – DOC campsite
  3. Cowshed Bay to Davies Bay – DOC campsite
  4. Davies Bay to Havelock Holiday Park – camp
  5. Havelock to Pelorous Bridge – DOC campsite
  6. Pelorous Bridge to Middy hut – DOC hut (camped)
  7. Middy hut to Rocks hut – Doc hut ** see day 67 below for Richmond ranges **
  8. Rocks hut to Nelson InBetween Backpackers – off trail – dorm room
  9. Nelson rest day – dorm room
  10. Nelson rest day – dorm room
  11. Nelson rest day – dorm room
  12. Nelson rest day – dorm room
  13. Nelson hitch to Blenheim Top 10 Holiday Park – camp
  14. Blenheim to Christchurch YHA Hereford Street – own room
  15. Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Motel and Backpackers – camp
  16. Lake Tekapo rest day – camp
  17. Lake Tekapo cycled to Lake Ohau, camped on Freehold track just before treeline Km 2516.3 – wild camp
  18. Km 2516.3 Freehold Creek to Birchwood track past car park Km 2538.2 – wild camp
  19. Km 2538.2 Avon Burn Birchwood track to Top Timaru Hut – Doc hut
  20. Top Timaru hut, Stodys hut, over to Breast Hill and Pakituhi hut – DOC hut
  21. Pakituhi hut to Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park – cabin
  22. Wanaka rest day – cabin
  23. Wanaka rest day – cabin
  24. Wanaka to Fern Burn hut – DOC hut (camped)
  25. Fern Burn hut to Roses hut – DOC hut
  26. Roses hut to Arrowtown Holiday Park – cabin
  27. Arrowtown to Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park – camp
  28. Queenstown rest day – camp
  29. Queenstown, bus to Routeburn Track (off trail). Day walk the Routeburn track to Lake Howden campsite (30 mins past hut) – camp
  30. Lake Howden campsite to Greenstone track (off trail) to Greenstone hut – DOC hut (camped)
  31. Greenstone hut to Careys hut Mavora Kakes – DOC hut (camped)
  32. Careys hut Mavora lakes to 3rd swingbridge, hitch out to Te Anau Top 10 Holiday park – camp
  33. Te Anau rest day – camp
  34. Te Anau bus to Princhester Road walk to Aparima hut – DOC hut
  35. Aparima hut to Telford campsite – camp
  36. Telford camp via Linton Station to Birchwood Station Sarah & Dean’s place – dorm room
  37. Birchwood Station to Merrivale Road – Merriview hut – Hut
  38. Merriview hut via Longwood forest to Martins hut – DOC hut
  39. Martins hut to Colac Bay Tavern – cabin
  40. Colac Bay Tavern to Riverton Monkeys backpackers (terrible experience here, use campsite instead) – room
  41. Riverton to Invercargill to Bluff via public transport. Southern Comfort Backpackers Invercargill – dorm room
  42. Invercargill to Nelson rest day Inbetween backpackers – dorm room
  43. Nelson rest day – dorm room
  44. Nelson to Old Ghost Road mountain bike trail to Goat Creek (off trail)- DOC hut
  45. Old Ghost Road – Goat Creek hut to Ghost Lake hut (off trail) – camped
  46. Old Ghost Road – Ghost lake hut to Lyell, then hitch to St Arnaud Travers Sabine lodge – dorm room
  47. St Arnaud rest day – dorm room
  48. St Arnaud to Upper Travers hut – DOC hut (camped)
  49. Upper Travers hut to Blue Lake hut – DOC hut (camped)
  50. Blue Lake hut to Waiau hut – Waiau Pass – DOC hut (camped)
  51. Waiau hut to Boyle Flat hut – St James Walkway – DOC hut (camped)
  52. Boyle Flat hut to Boyle Village ourdoor centre – St James Walkway – hitch to Hanmer Springs – Airbnb
  53. Hanmer Springs rest day – Airbnb
  54. Hanmer Springs hitch back to Boyle village, to Hope Kiwi Lodge – DOC hut
  55. Hope Kiwi Lodge to Hurunui Hut 3 – DOC hut
  56. Hurunui hut 3 to Locke Stream hut – DOC hut
  57. Locke Stream hut – rest day – DOC hut
  58. Locke Stream hut to Morrison’s Footbridge – Arthur’s Pass – The Sanctuary – cabin/pod
  59. Arthur’s Pass Avalanche Peak track (off trail)  – cabin/pod
  60. Hitch to Cora Lynn Road – Bealey track to Hamilton Hut – DOC hut
  61. Hamilton hut to Trustpower campsite Lake Coleridge, lift to Methven The Blue Pub – room
  62. Methven hitch to Glenrock Station with school bus, to Comyns hut – DOC hut (camped)
  63. Comyns hut to Manuka hut and Lake Emily, got a lift around the river to Mespoptamia Station – room
  64. Mesopotamia Station to Bush stream track (and out again) hitch to Forest Creek track (off trail) Felt hut – Private hut
  65. Felt hut (off trail) over Bullock Bow Saddle and Stag Saddle to Camp Stream hut – Private hut
  66. Camp Stream hut to Lake Tekapo Motel and Holiday Park
  67. Maitai dam to Browning hut – DOC hut ** Richmond Ranges **
  68. Browning hut to Slaty hut – DOC hut
  69. Slaty hut to Tarn hut – Over Little & Big Rintoul and Purple Tops
  70. Tarn hut to Top Wairoa hut – DOC hut
  71. Top Wairoa hut to Porters Creek hut – DOC hut
  72. Porters Creek hut to Red Hills hut and St Arnaud





To add comments, ask a question or to signup - please click below

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.