Monday, March 31, 2014

Te Araroa Trail (the long path)

The hi-vis vests were useful on the road sections

Auckland Airport to Te Kuiti  

Te Araroa officially opened a couple of years ago.  It is a walking trail of 3000 km from Cape Reinga, at the northern tip of the North Island, to Bluff, in the south of the South Island.  We walked the first 600 km, from Cape Reinga to Auckland, before the official opening, so this time, walking from Auckland to Te Kuiti, we found the route a little better marked, and slightly better known.  We left Auckland on 5 March, and arrived in Te Kuiti on 17 March, having spent a day with friends in Huntly, and a day and a half in Waitomo sitting out the rain associated with a tropical cyclone.

Hinua Falls

Repeater Shelter, Hinua Ranges

Repeater campground toilet dwarfed by kauri tree

Sunset at Repeater camp

The terrain is varied: the route follows walkways, tramping tracks, footpaths, stop banks and road margins.  Consistently it takes in the high points along the way, so a light pack is desirable to make the ups and downs a little easier. For this section through the Waikato we carried 5 days of dried food for when we needed to camp away from facilities.  However, the wilder sections were relatively short, so we spent a number of nights in or near small towns where we could buy real food.

Tree ferns, Hinua Ranges

Misty morning in Hinua Regional Park

Stream in Hinua Regional Park

I was only able to carry my pocket camera, the Olympus XZ1, and without the separate viewfinder that I accidentally left in the USA last year, I found it difficult to frame good images in bright light.  I carried the camera on the belt of my pack, but even so, I found it more of a chore to take photographs on this kind of trip, so I don’t have such a good set of images as I would like.  As usual, my favourites are generally those that I took either at the beginning or the end of the day when the light was best.  It also helped that I had shed my pack by then.  As my blog is about nature photography, I’ve mainly selected photographs of natural subjects.

Waikato River at Rangiriri, where we stayed the night in the pub

Bindweed flower on a damp morning

Sunrise from our camp, below Mt Pirongia

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