If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.

Erica Jong

click here for Blissful’s updated gear list

click here to access the Te Araroa Trust official site which includes history, planning guide, trail notes, accommodations, closures, warnings, etc. as well as how to register and support the TA.


Te Araroa means “the long pathway” in Maori. Completed in 2011, it’s a 3000 kilometer trail extending from Cape Reinga in the North to Bluff in the south.

It traverses the entire country; beaches, forests, mountains, volcanoes and cities and should likely take me four to five months to finish.

Thus far in my “career” the furthest I walked all at one time was the GR5, 450 miles over the spine of the Alps. While taking on that challenge I wondered if I was made of the right stuff to sustain a thru-hike of not just weeks, but months.

Aside from the logistical nightmare and the risk that I might not be missed at my place of employment, I hadn’t the faintest idea if I possessed the grit, the fortitude and determination, and the sheer pig-headedness to stick with a walk of 1,864 miles.

The Te Araroa means "long pathway" in Maori. Blissful Hiker Alison Young walked it in 2018-19.
The Te Araroa is not a trail or even a “route.” It’s more of an idea.

Over the ensuing years, I decided there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to go and do it. Keeping in mind the fact that I’m not getting any younger and my arthritic toes are continuing to protest, I made the decision to request a leave of absence, and put myself directly on the path of enormous change.

Sure, it was a change in scenery and routine, but also in how my life looked and felt because I hiked alone. Don’t worry. Richard followed my every step through the magic of GPS tracking and shared the final three weeks with me in this beautiful country. 

Thank you to Randy and Kathy McCarty for their generous contribution to the Te Araroa Trust and helping to support my – and many, many other’s – successful and safe journeys.

It's farms, the cool Taitua Arboretum and finally Whatawhata, where the Backyard Bar allows camping.
I just happened to be passing through Auckland at Thanksgiving and have a lot to be grateful for.
The trail is through swamp up into the Kapamahungas and muddy, moss covered Tawa on Mount Pirongia.
It's always best just to go straight through the mud as Floris does wearing his rain
I'm rescued by a trail angel after a 5-hour hike from the hut down Mount Pirongia in deep mud.
Under threatening thunder, the walk is in farmland, muddy bush and across a swollen stream.
I think I felt so good yesterday because it was the first time I started to really feel my rhythm
It rains at night, a constant, loud volley of water bullets on the alicoop. I’m dry and snug as the
What an extraordinary place to wake up to. I have a virgin forest, thick and impenetrable, across the river. Rapids
More rain, but finally the sun is up and the sky is pink. I am starting to doubt my capacity
I wake up to an absolute cacophony of bird song, the wildest yet. We’re at about 500 meters and it
All my gear is neatly laid out as I wait for the sun to peak out over the trees. He’s
Good decision to sleep in the tent, so cozy and much less dew this morning. Tuis call each other over
Up early just as the sun is coming up, my favorite time of day. I’m happy to have found a
To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. – Søren Kierkegaard The day starts
Gray and ominous this morning; foggy, but no rain. Obviously I’d like ideal weather for the crossing – and my
I’m up and packing at 3 am. Friends, there are stars out. Glory Hallelujah. Fingers crossed we make the crossing
I often wondered where I’d end up on December 14th while walking the TA. So happy to wake up in
I’m having trouble sleeping as my birthday winds down. So many gifts of good weather, astonishing scenery, strong legs and
The day opens with low hanging mist. I have to put on rain gear to pack the tent, studying the
Waking up was with complaining sheep and the thwap-thwap of techno pop meaning only one thing – sheep sheering. It’s
Our tents are damp in this foggy morning, set on a staircase of carved terraces, Inca-style. Yesterday, Andrew and I
You know it’s a thru-hike – or at this point a thru-paddle – when you wake up in the middle
The moon comes out accompanied by wild night sounds and a few stray splats of raindrops shaking off the trees.
I wake up to a five-note song, a slight variation on Gershwin’s first prelude. I answer with the second line,