Hiking the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand has been on my mind for about ten years now as ‘something that might be fun to do one day’. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember that New Zealand has been my favorite travel destination in the world since 2002 and I try to go there as often as possible. However, I never had the opportunity to take six months off before to actually do this. When the pandemic hit in 2020 and I turned 40 that same year, I suddenly realized “I’m going to do it!” Now that I’m still fit and financially able to put most of my work on hold for six months is about the most perfect the timing will get.
It’s been two years since that initial thought and a few other blogs I have written about my plan. By now I have arrived in New Zealand and I will hit the trail in just a couple of days time.
Table of Contents | Inhoudsopgave
About Te Araroa
Te Araroa is a thru hike in New Zealand that starts on the North Island at Cape Reinga and ends on the South Island at Bluff. On the North Island the trail is 1.600 kilometers long, on the South Island it’s 1.400 kilometers. Although the route is mostly marked, it’s described as very challenging, partly due to the many (potentially dangerous) river crossings, the many roadwalk sections and the mountain ranges that have to be crossed. An average walker takes about 4.5 to 5 months to complete the entire walk, I have planned about 5.5 months to complete the whole trail
Incidentally, I already walked several parts of Te Araroa in the past, including the entire Queen Charlotte Track, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and Greenstone Caples Track.
Te Araroa budget and costs
Planning my trip started with making a financial plan. On various sites I found that most hikers spend between 7.000 and 10.000 NZD on their hike. This is about 4.000 – 6.000 euros. In addition, I actually read different amounts on the internet. I have budgeted a total of 1.000 euros per month for costs on site (ie transport, accommodation and meals). In addition, I have set aside an amount for gear that needs to be replaced and I have a amount set aside for emergencies.
In addition, there’s costs for flights, insurance and the gear that you’ll be carrying, in case you don’t have that yet. I did have all gear but I wanted to replace quite a bit of items for lower weight gear. I’ve never really been a low weight gear hiker but figured I could make some small changes and invest in new gear as most of my stuff has been used for many years all across the globe already.
These have been my costs so far:
– Flights with KLM and Air New Zealand: € 1.289,-
– Checking in luggage on the outward journey: € 85,-
– Visa for 6 months: € 152,-
– Sleeping bag RAB: € 270,-
– Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 tent: € 432,-
– Water filter Sawyer Squeeze: € 75,-
– Garmin inReach Mini 2: € 369,-
Total costs for flights, gear, visa: € 2.672,-
All other gear I already had from previous trips and/or received from my sponsors, including an Exped sleeping mat and an Osprey backpack. I didn’t have to make any changes to my travel insurance, it was already on world coverage for six months. Costs that I also made here are my sim card ($129 for 3 months of unlimited GBs) and the costs for my Garmin inReach subscription (39 euros per month).
I’ve by now arrived in New Zealand and I noticed that inflation is huge here too, like in Europe. Whether the amount of money I budgeted will be enough I have no idea, but fortunately, I’m in the privileged position of occasionally doing odd jobs online to earn money so I can easily work for a while and earn a little more. I definitely don’t want to be eating instant noodles every day because money doesn’t allow me to do otherwise.
Working from the trail
This may need some explanation because it’s perhaps a bit unconventional that I brought my laptop and will do some work from the trail. This has been a clear choice from the start. As an entrepreneur who, in some ways, is still recovering from the pandemic, I can’t just leave my whole business for the next six months to come. If I’d have to outsource all my work for six months, I’d have had to save for a few more years until I’d be able to go. I didn’t feel like that since now is the time, not in two or maybe two years. Moreover, I do not consider a lot of my work, such as writing this blog, as my work but as something I do with great pleasure . The fact that I earn money with that with which I can support myself on the trail is a very luxurious position and I consider it a privilege that I can be as flexible as this.
I also have ongoing costs in The Netherlands, including my health insurance, the hosting of my six websites and the technical guy I hire to keep my websites up and running. In addition, my Dutch mobile phone subscription, various small insurance policies (funeral, third-party liability, etc.) and some other things have to be paid as well. My costs in the Netherlands are around 700 euros per month, which I pay with the money that I make through the advertisements and affiliate marketing from my various websites.
I’ll try to schedule an extra rest day every week so that I can work that day. This was just an idea, hoever how this will work out in reality remains to be seen and I can’t say much about it yet. I’ll try to mail my laptop to the next city or village as often as possible so that I won’t have to carry those extra kilos on my back most of the time.
Speaking on the International Adventure Conference
What’s also nice to mention is that in December I will be going off the trail for a few days to hit the stage as one of the speakers at the International Adventure Conference in Queenstown on the South Island. Queenstown, despite the fact that it has become very big and touristy in recent years, has a special place in my heart. In 2018 I had my fern tattoo done here and I always enjoy coming back there. On stage I’m going to talk about how to choose adventure over fear. More information can be found here.
Some final thoughts
I don’t get paid to write about Te Araroa or promote it. I only do this because I like inspiring others to chase their dreams as well and I enjoy sharing my passion for hiking and New Zealand. If you like my content, you can buy me a cup of coffee so that when I’m in a village, I can buy a decent cup of coffee after being on instant coffee for days. Ofcourse you can also donate more in case you want to buy me a cold beer at the end of the day!
Updates from the trail
I won’t promise you that I will write an update every so many days, simply because I don’t know how my journey will be and if I have the time and/or energy for it. Anyway, you can regularly find me on Instagram where I post updates in my stories quite frequently. I don’t do any updates on Facebook anymore so find me on Instagram if you are curious about my current whereabouts. See you on the trail!
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