Te Araroa Trust announced their three-year plan for New Zealand’s longest walk this month, which stretches from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Te Araroa is a 3,000km long national trail that is treasured by thousands each year, and thousands more to come. The Trust’s plan covers the track until 2022 and involves five focus areas for improvement until that time, those being, quality infrastructure, clear communication, strong relationships, outstanding walking experiences, and sustainability.
The trail was first opened in December 2011 after two decades of work from volunteers who created and linked the network of nationwide trails. In years past, it has been hailed by both CNN and National Geographic as one of the best long walks in the world.
Te Araroa Chief Executive Mark Weatherall said that with increased popularity of the track, changes will need to be made to how the nationwide track is managed, “Volunteers and supporters have done an outstanding job developing Te Araroa trail through its formative years and this strategy aims to build on all their hard work,” Mr Weatherall said. “It’s about plotting a course for the future and making certain that all of our efforts are sustainable, focused and for the benefit of walkers and the many iwi, landholders and communities the trail touches.”
The track passes directly through the Upper Clutha on its route south, spanning from the Ahuriri Valley north of Lake Hawea, to Gladstone, the Wanaka Town centre and then out of Glendhu Bay through the Motatapu Track. Many of the walking paths in these areas are already frequently used by locals as sections of their own tracks, which are already maintained. However changes to parts of these tracks may be expected in the coming years.