A kiwi experience on the Te Araroa Trail

Department of Conservation —  05/05/2016

Last month, DOC received an e-mail from German couple Cécile and Lucas who walked the Te Araroa Trail over summer. Their message included a special YouTube thank you video for Te Araroa Trust and DOC, not without cake!

It inspired us to get in touch and find out more about their experience. Cécile shares her best memories and advice:

Favourite North Island spots

It was wonderful walking and watching the trees along the Hauhungaroa Track/Timber Trail. All the history, explanations of Māori legends and native birds and plants are worth being seen by everyone.


A giant kauri tree shortly before Ngunguru.

The dunes and water along 90 mile beach stretch for such a long distance! It was the first time being together with other hikers, and it was a great experience to share stories with them along the way.

The Herekino Forest Track (when dry) was also amazing. It was my first time in such a spiritual forest and seeing such special kauri trees.

Favourite South Island spots

There were many favourites. The ridges between Starveall Hut and Old Man Hut in Mt Richmond Forest Park gave us stunning views. So did the ranges along the Two Thumb Track, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park.

First glimpse of Mount Cook.

We get the first glimpse of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, the snowy Southern Alps and Lake Tekapo.

Longwood Forest had the most amazing beech trees and fantastic moss – a great sight.

Other favourites would include: Kiwi Lodge (Boyles Village) up to Harpers Pass, boulder hopping along Deception River, Harper River after Hamilton Hut, and between Raikaia and Rangitata River.

Best memories

Cécile and Lucas at Cape Reigna

Cécile and Lucas at Cape Reigna

The people. Kiwis are really friendly and we have a lot of new friends now! We also met some great people from Bed and Breakfasts, like Tide Song B&B. Thank you Rose and Hugh!

We look back on some of the tracks and think, it’s impossible to walk that, but we just did it!

Advice for hikers

Talk to the people you meet along the way. Some Kiwis in the North Island said that to us, and it was a great advice. We had so many helpful people making our trip great. Our best experiences in the North Island where a result of that!

Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail – is a continuous 3,000 km walking track from Cape Reinga to Bluff. 

The images in this story belong to Lucas and Cécile and are adapted from their own Te Araroa blog. Their tales (in German) can be read here.