1. Te Araroa, Ninety Mile Beach

We’ve completed the first hurdle of the Te Araroa! 4 days of hiking and wild camping down the infamous Ninety Mile beach. We’ve reached the 100km mark… only 2,900km to go!

At Cape Reinga Lighthouse saying goodbye to Mum and Dad
At Cape Reinga Lighthouse saying goodbye to Mum and Dad

Day 1

The first day on the trail was by far the most beautiful. After leaving the lighthouse at Cape Reinga we wandered across multi-coloured sand dunes, scrambled over headlands (the joy of setting off at high tide), through native bush and down on to Ninety Mile beach. We camped near Te Puki stream on the first night where we filled up with water and watched the sun go down.

Alex on the trail
Alex on the trail
Beautiful view down to Twighlight Beach
Our first glimpse down to Ninety Mile Beach
Happy faces on the Te Araroa trail at last!
Happy faces on the Te Araroa trail at last!
Camping in the sand dunes
Camping in the sand dunes

Day 2, 3 & 4

Once we were on Ninety Mile beach there was nothing left to do but walk the 80+ kms of beach back to Ahipara! With very little landmarks we kept ourselves entertained by singing and playing games as we walked along the hard wet sand. Occasionally we would spot a footprint of a fellow Te Araroa hiker who we had bumped in to along the way. The never ending beach started playing tricks on our minds; seaguls would become people, trucks became wild horses, logs became buses and at one point we were convinced we could see a hobbit house!

Our camp for the night, ninety mile beach day 2
Our camp for the night, Ninety Mile beach day 2
Wild horses in the sand dunes
Wild horses in the sand dunes

On day 3 we made it to the campsite at Utea Road where Tanya and Paul welcomed us in with hot showers and a cabin for the night ($15pp). It was so good to get a decent night sleep to prepare us for the last day of beach walking.

Day 4, we experienced how brutal the weather can be on Ninety Mile beach. 45kph head winds for the whole day with on and off rain! We were so covered in salt and sand I barely felt human.

Taking a leisurely lunch break away from the wind
Taking a leisurely lunch break away from the wind

Back on the beach it was a completely different weather system…

So far walking the Te Araroa trail has been a great experience and definitely a challenge. We are not making any promises on how much of the remaining 2,900km we will walk but we will give it a good shot!

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