Friday, 27 February 2015

My Te Araroa Summary and Statistics

It is now one week after completing Te Araroa and I am busy relaxing and trying to put some weight back on. I am making good progress on this and am probably at the stage where I can resume a normal diet but it will be hard after indulging so much. 

Some serious eating required to increase my weight again. These shorts were a little tight at the start.
Thank you all for your messages of support throughout the journey and when I completed it. It is great to know people have enjoyed the blog and especially great where people are thinking about giving Te Araroa a go, or even just getting out in their own countries and walking.

I was spoilt by my parents for the first few days after finishing before they were shooed away on a well deserved holiday while I look after the animals. My new routine is up at 0730 and do the rounds of the animals feeding, scratching, patting, giving new breaks (moving electric fence to give them more grass). There are Ducks, Chickens, Budgies, Burks (small bird like budgie), Nubian Goats, Boer Goats, Miniature Horses, Welsh Horses, a couple of cows and 3 dogs. Then I have breakfast and settle in for a day of reading or researching my next adventure before evening rounds of the animals, dinner, TV and bed. All up I am walking around 1 km a day. 

I have recently brought some hiking boots as the guides on Mt Kenya (I have now added that to my warm down) and Mt Kilimanjaro will not allow trail shoes and it will be too cold. It feels really constraining wearing them and they are heavy. I miss not being able to feel the ground as much and it is taking a lot of getting used to as I walk around wearing them in when I do the rounds with the animals. I intend to do a few longer walks to wear them in properly before leaving.

My body is free of aches and pains except my feet which feel a little strange. It feels like they are swollen even though they are not.

Below is a summary of my journey down the length of New Zealand. If there is anything I have missed summarizing let me know.


Total Days


Full Walking Days

Number of Zero Days

Number of Half Days (< 5 hrs)
Average km per day - incl zero
Average km per day - without zero days
Average km per day - full days only
Maximum Distance in a day
Average Speed
8 h 42 min
Average Hours Walked per day
13 h 15 min
Maximum Hours Walked per day
Number of Shoes      4 (4th pair still has another 4-500km life left)
Number of Socks      4
Number of Tops        2

My normal walking routine in the North Island was start walking at 0730 and finishing between 1700-1800. In the South Island I was not in as much of a routine due to using Huts rather than just stopping and camping when I felt like it. For the last part of the South Island it was cold in the mornings and I got up later and finished later. Generally I would walk for 10 hours a day.

Best and Worst
-Best Area North Island: Northland due to variety of terrain. I loved the fact that I was next to a beautiful beach, then in the bush, then in farmland and then in pine forest. It kept the days interesting.
-Best Area South Island: Richmond Ranges due to spectacular scenery in the mountains and good grunty hills which I love.
-Worst Area North Island: Hihikiwi Track coming down from Mt Pirongia. Muddy and steep.
-Worst Area South Island: Track next to Mararoa River south of Lake Mavora. Lack of track, very long grass and lots of prickly things.
-Best Moment – too many to narrow down to one. Usually it was the peaceful moments just being surrounded by the bush or by fantastic scenery.
-Worst Moment – being stung by wasp in Richmond Ranges.

I was very lucky with the weather. All up I had 2 full days of rain. The remainder were half day or less. In Northland there were showers about half of the days. I then had a great spell of fine weather until around National Park where it was heavy rain. Thereafter it was fine or occasional showers. I seemed to time my rest days well with many of them being rainy days. I also seemed to time it well that whenever there was heavy rain there was either a café, backpackers or hut waiting to get dry again.

I put my tent up in the rain twice and only took it down in the rain once. It did get rained on during the night, sometimes quite heavily but I don’t mind that, it is only the putting up and down where it matters.

There was a cold snap in northland and the nights stayed quite cool until December. Generally the temperature was warm to hot from then until Tekapo with the exception of Goat Pass Hut which was the coldest night in a hut. From Tekapo the night temperatures varies between ok, cold and absolutely freezing which made me change my routine to getting up later.

When tenting I generally always found public or conservation land. There were a few times I was in shelter belts but on road side of track. My preference was to camp under trees as this reduced chances of a wet tent due to dew or condensation and provided shelter from the wind. I was very lucky and did not have storm conditions when in my tent but it did get heavy rain for periods. There was only once that I had to pack up in the rain and only twice that I had to set up in the rain.

The huts were great but mice were an issue in many. I never got mice in my food or pack as I was careful to hang them out of reach. They did have a chew on my camp slipper and toilet paper zip lock bag. At $96 for a 6 month hut pass the huts are fantastic value and I did love on a wet day knowing I had a hut to dry out in. There was only once that a hut was overfull, usually they were pretty empty. The most people I shared with was 8 (in a 16 bed hut). Several times I had a hut to myself.

Backpackers were generally of a very good standard and I think they are fantastic value for money. Several times I talked to other TA hikers who had stayed at the holiday park and were paying $15-30 for a tent site and having to pay for a shower on top of that. Most of my backpackers were $19-29. YHA were cheaper due to the YHA member discount and the low Carbon Discount.

Holiday Park Cabins were private but I preferred backpackers over them as I did not like the long and sometimes wet walks to get to the bathroom. In the backpackers everything is under one roof.

Summary of where I spent my nights:
No of Nights

I had set an on trail budget of New Zealand Dollars (NZD) 10,000 expecting the trail to take 4 ½ months. This does not include initial gear purchases. I had made a generous allowance for food and made allowances to treat myself to some upgraded accommodation a few times and to nice steak dinners at restaurants occasionally too.
In the end I came under budget. The reduced time it took for completing the journey probably explains this. In the end I spent NZD 7,239 on the trail.  This is broken down to:
Food                          $3995
Accommodation       $1483
Miscellaneous           $1761 – Post, Gas, Equipment replacements, ferry, shuttles, movies e.t.c.

If you are happy with a bland diet and staying in your tent on rest days you can reduce this budget significantly. I like comfort on rest days and love my food.


I was surprised by how much weight I lost (Start 67 kg finish 56 kg) as I was only expecting to lose around 5 kg. 
Before and after photos. Big loss in size around my hips and stomach

Side by side comparison of how I looked at the start and finish.
Starting out I was heavier than I wanted to be due to not much exercise over the last couple of years. In the north island I lost 3 kg and this was where I gained muscle and lost fat so the measurements are the more interesting statistic to look at than weight. As expected I lost more weight in the South Island due to less shops to supplement my food.
From Boyle River I was having stomach issues and lost my appetite which explains the dramatic drop in weight from end of 2nd month to end of 3rd month. From there I did not lose much more though some of the measurements continued to drop. Here is a graph showing the loss in weight or measurements every month (less weight for month 1). 

 Weight is in Kilograms (no measurement for end of first month). Measurements are in Centimeters.

Next blog will be in a few days and will be a detailed gear review.


  1. thanks for this part of your blog...very interesting to read...tell me...what is your height? the graph is interesting...

  2. Hi Kirstine, great to see that you made it, a great adventure and yes you are a lot skinnier :-). It was nice to talk to you that day on the road (we were the "nice couple" that offered you a ride in the Clearwater area) and have followed your progress since then with interest. We were also in Tekapo at the same time as you, in the camping ground but not sure if it was that backpackers you stayed at! Interested to get a hint of your future plans, a big adventure but will be well worth doing.
    Now, I have an offer/question for you, would you be interested in giving a talk to my Rotary club sometime in the future, I have an idea that you are from much the same area as I (Dunners) but I may be wrong in which case it may not be a goer but if you felt you could do a presentation we could arrange it. If you could respond on here we can then sort details etc . Don't feel pressured but I believe your story would be of interest to our members and their partners. If you say no, I will totally understand.
    Lindsay Strong

  3. Hi Lindsay
    You can contact me by facebook. Go to the Te Araroa Group and find one of my posts and message me through this.

  4. Hi Kirstine - we are the couple from "just out of Whanganui" on 23 Dec that you talked to whilst directing traffic around our car. What more can be said - congrats on doing it, enjoying it and writing a fantastic blog. Enjoyed every inch of your tramp....has one of us inspired to finish Cape Reinga to Whanganui - the other is less inspired.

    Arohanui - Pauline and Russell

    1. Hi. I am glad you enjoyed the blog and good luck with finishing the trail. Good luck getting the 'other' one inspired too

  5. This is good data you have included, that's why I like this blog so much. I really like that breakdown of costs, as no other TaT walker thought to talk about it.

  6. Great read. Thanks for the info! Very useful as I am planning my trip on Te Araroa for Sep 2016.

  7. Great read. Thanks for the info! Very useful as I am planning my trip on Te Araroa for Sep 2016.