New Zealand Highlights

Last week was the opening ceremony of the trail me and Nicky walked in New Zealand – Te Araroa. To mark the occasion I thought I’d share some of the progress I’ve made on all the photos and video we brought back.

I edited the photos first, there was about 25,000 to go through so I’ve only just finished! I got them down to reasonably easy to flick through 200 photo set of the highlights. And then a slightly longer 1000 odd photo set that covers the trail in a bit more depth.

We even got a few photos published in Geoff Chapple’s official trail guide, got our copy through the post the other day :)

If you followed our progress on Nicky&, you’ve probably seen most of these before, but you might be interested in checking out this short highlights video I’ve just finished putting together. It’s roughly in chronological order from the Top of the North Island to the bottom of the south, unfortunately I don’t have any footage of us getting to the end due to a memory card malfunction… Hopefully I might be able to recover some of it though. The rest of the video should be finished in the New Year.

Across New Zealand in 3 and a half minutes:

Te Araroa Trail Maps

Te Araroa Trail Maps

May not be of much interest to most, but if 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.

Info about the maps:

  • I made them A4 size for printing (ink-jet or laser)
  • They are all .gif format (small file size, no artifacting)
  • The route drawn on has little white dots every mile (can’t get my head round distances in KMs)
  • There’s 103 maps in total, so you’ll need 52 pieces of paper to print them all out (both sides)
  • Split into North Island and South Island folders, all numbered consecutively from north to south
  • I’ve also done a total of 57 sheets of alternate routes, more on that later..

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 (CDT maps were already done by Jonathan Ley). 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.

If anyone other than me & Nicky end up using the maps, let me know how you get on!