The Te Araroa begins at the “Meeting Place” of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea and takes the hiker across lonely beaches, thick muddy bush and past charming coastal villages.

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Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand
After 3 flights, and 36 hours of travel, I start the hike, falling asleep to crashing waves at Twilight.
Rain passes through at Scott Point above Ninety Mile Beach, a relentless expanse of sand walked for three solid days.
Following the stairs down from Scott Point, the Blissful Hiker begins the Ninety Mile Beach.
Spirula or Ram's horn shell on Ninety Mile Beach.
Awakened by wild horses, the Blissful Hiker heads back onto the long, lonely Ninety Mile Beach.
Blow Carting near Ahipara.
On the final day walking the Ninety Mile Beach, the wind changes and brings blow carts my way.
Tuis, bell birds, roots and mud – the deepest I've seen in my entire life – in the Raetea Forest.
There's nothing like putting wet and muddy shoes on in the morning.
The mud continues until the bush abruptly ends at rolling hills headed toward more bush.
Kauri bark has a hammer-mark texture and continuously sheds its outer bark in large scales to prevent climbing or perching plants from gaining a permanent hold.
A long walk through the Puketi forest takes me past manuka honey bees and a kauri forest.
A welcome sign and snacks left by trail angels.
It's a long walk mostly on easy forest track and farm fields to Rainbow Falls and Kerikeri.
Oysters are farmed on log wooden piers in the Whangaroa Bay near Kaeo.
I take my first "zero day" near Kaeo and eat mussels, oysters and take a huge nap.
Legs like stilts on the Ninety-Mile Beach in the far, far north of New Zealand.
The start of the Te Araroa is a trial of sand, wind, rain and mud, but it's worth it.
A Māori pou whenua or "land post" that marks territory and tells a story, much like totem poles.
It's "easy tramping" all day to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and finally Pahia.
The tide pushed my kayak right up the gorgeous Waikare Estuary.
The trail is on water as I kayak up the beautiful Waikare Estuary.