Te Araroa Trail Maps

Te Araroa Trail Maps

Update: There’s now an official printable map set from the Te Araroa Trust, you’re best using these for the most up-to-date and accurate route info.

CookieIf you’re planning on doing the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand, or just fancy having a closer look at what me and Nicky are going to be doing for the next 6 months, then here’s all the maps (268.4MB)! I can’t guarantee the route I’ve drawn on is accurate, the route itself is constantly changing, but also expect a fair amount of human error! If you use these maps follow your judgement and common sense, over the orange line. I didn’t get around to making all the map notes I’d of liked too.. but I’ve run out of time now and need to get on with other stuff. My plan is to check for the latest route descriptions and read people’s journals to find out info about the next section as we go and then doodle these notes onto my printed out maps. I’ve left a space on every page to be used for this purpose.

I always enjoy the pre-walk planning and mapping stage, although I’ve never bitten off anything even remotely as complex or long as this before.. Got to say a big thank you to Land Information New Zealand who made all the 1:50,000 scale topographic maps and hats off to you for making them all freely downloadable :) The Te Araroa Trust for building the trail in the first place and providing all the route descriptions on their site. And most importantly to Geoff Chapple who founded the trust 16 years ago and who has been spearheading it’s development ever since.

When you’re following a pre-defined route, there’s always the temptation to work out a few variations that suit you’re own preference of terrain etc. While mapping the trail I managed to rack up more than I was expecting, 57 maps worth in total! I’ve got no idea how many, if any of these we’ll do, those sort of decisions usually make themselves at the time. But if you’re interested, these can be downloaded too (164.9MB).

Word of warning though – I’ve never been to New Zealand, so have absolutely no personal experience whether these are any good or not. I think they are all probably longer and more difficult than the official route.. But they do follow the same numbering as the official route maps (just with a ‘b’ after the number) so you can see where they fit into the trail.

We Done It!

section 01

Map of tricky section

Map of tricky section


Heading North?

Heading North?

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park Scale Model

Walking across New Zealand in about 20 seconds

That's what I call a map!

NickySince we were way back north in Mangawai, where I first heard about the giant squid, I’d been waiting to catch a glimpse of this awesome sea monster! My mind full of old pirate tales and etchings of legendary giant monsters I have to admit I was getting secretly quite excited about the encounter. That, and it was good to have something, anything, to focus on to get myself to the half way mark :) 

I think watching Pirates of the Caribbean the night before, with that giant octopus that swallows a ship may have gotten my hopes too high… The Colossal Squid wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I’d hoped. About 3 metres long maybe? … But when you consider the size of a normal squid I guess he’s still pretty special. Perhaps not the scene from Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus I’d been imagining, but still monstrously ugly at least! :D

Wellington seemed the most culturally vibrant place we’ve walked through so far. Cuba Street with it’s many cafes and vintage retro clothes shops had a bit of a warm Shoreditch vibe about it. It felt personal and homely for a city. Architecturally it had hints of San Francisco with it’s steep hills stepped in pastel coloured decorative wooden houses. And even it’s own old fashioned tram come cable car. I would love to have spent a few lazy sunny days checking out the nooks and crannies of this compact city. Unfortunately the rainy gale-force winds, combined with us visiting on a Sunday and a public holiday, meant not much was open, and ambling round got you cold and wet more than anything. Shame! 

Also our iPad decided to dish us a plate of anxiety, crashing in a spectacular fashion, meaning we got to spend one of our hard earned days-off standing uncomfortably next to a mac in a computer shop trying to fix it while apologising profusely to the staff!

And on that note, a massive thanks to the staff at Yoo Bee / Magnum Macs in Wellington for helping us out and putting up with us loitering for the day! It means we can continue with this blog of our expedition, so Thank You fellas! :D

CookieThe weather was very poor while we were in Wellington, so we didn’t venture too far from our base in Cuba Street.. The only cultural delight we actually took in was the Te Papa Museum. Mainly because Nicky wanted to see the Colossal Squid they have preserved in a tank, which turned out to be not quite as colossal as we had both imagined. Our favorite exhibit was this massive illuminated map of New Zealand, fascinating to re-trace our steps across the North Island and look ahead to the South. It’s a free museum, would definitely recommend to any TA hikers behind us for this map alone.

Treasure Map to a Secret Place

Treasure Map to Find Hurunni Hot Pools

NickyClues in hut book comments suggested there were hot pools nearby to be investigated. Lots of notes and contradictory directions suggested they might be tricky to find. But we were keen for a wash, and with the cold weather we suspected we might be able to spot the steam in the undergrowth more easily.

And so with a photo of the clues, and bikini at the ready we set out to rummage around the forest til we found the magic.

Wrong Way

Wrong Way

CookieGenerally I’m not a fan of flip-floppin’ around on trails, I like to walk in one direction from start to finish, it makes doing my animated maps of the route much easier that way ;) But we have two friends coming out to walk with us for 2 weeks and we want to make sure those weeks are impressive ones so we’ve decided to break our continuous walk south. It’s not like it’s been un-broken so far, we did much shifting around in the North Island to take in or avoid bits of New Zealand we did or didn’t want to see along the official trail.

So the plan is to get a bus from Greymouth all the way down the west coast and over the main divide to meet Ollie & Nico in Queenstown. After steak eating and supermarket shopping we’ll get the bus back part of the way to Makarora, where we’ll throw the boys straight into the deep end by hiking the Gillespie Pass track and then Rabbit Pass track together, resupply at Wanaka via Rasberry Creek bus, then continue on over the Cascade Saddle to Glenorchy. If we have any days spare there’s another route I’d like to do on our way back to Queenstown called the Five Passes, but we’ll see how we get on!

I’m slightly concerned about getting Nicky over Rabbit Pass, the ‘Waterfall Face’ sounds exactly like the sort of thing she wouldn’t like, but I’m hoping the added peer pressure will spear her on, either that or we’ll drug her A-Team stylie and carry her up ;) Only joking, we do have Plan B’s, C’s and D’s if needed.

Getting Lost in Jumboland

Cookie Checking Route Across the Open Meadow

Aitutaki Atol – Deep in the Pacific

Ariel photo of Aitutaki Lagoon