I have thru-hiked Te Araroa – from Cape Reinga to Bluff – the length of New Zealand – 3000km – 4 months – tama tu, tama ora; tama noho, tama mate kai – hikertrash for life.

Longest day: 15h45 (Mt Crawford traverse in the Tararuas).

Shortest day: that zero I took at Upper Wairoa Hut to finish reading Hero Of Ages #savageas

Worst days: Mt. Pirongia a.k.a. The Vertical Somme; dealing with Little Laddie Loathsome; TE KUITI.

Best days: wild horses at Twilight Beach; the oceanside sheepfolds of Northland; ferns on the Morepork; the sunrise from Helena Bay; crossing the Ngunguru; the pies of Rangiriri; double maras on the Timber Trail; the ever-lovin’ pirates of the ruddy Whanganui; my dear Manuka-Bogans; going Round The Mountain; Mt. Doom stargazing; Christmas G&Ts; The Longest Day in the Tararuas; Kaukau and The Sea, The Sea; posting chicken-sentries on the Queen Charlotte; every single inch and minute of the Richmond Range; Lake Constance, riding the scree; the fireplace at Deception; the stars over Tekapo Dark Sky; coming off Breast Hill and jumping right into Lake Hawea; venison and Laphroaig in Wanaka; utes and wild boar on the Mavora; oysters and Felton Road in Bluff; finishing with tramily.

Thank You to some very special thru-hikers. In order of appearance: my beach bros (Casper, Tundra, Tony The Pony, Adrien The Spy); my Northland buddies (Julian and Christine); my Crate Day crew (Bram, Baptistie, Ondi <3, Sabina, Helga, G-String); my pirate brethren (Vera, Justin, Michaelangelo, Chloe); my Tararua crew (Matt, Steph, Bīn, Amy, Dom); my Richmond mafia (Leo, Padre, Sundown, Babyshark); my Canterbury corps (Bojan, Marco, Elena, Man-Gerbil, Andrew); my Otago horde (Patrick, The Sydster, Team R&R); and thru it all, Christie.

Special thanks to all the trail angels, including Chief Makati, Candycroc Life-Saver, Officer Damon, marvelous Dayll & Ollie, the finest folks at the Green Bus and the Roost and the Outdoor Center and Birchwood and every other hut and hostel and home that made us feel safe and warm and clean, Raewyn IOU doc, Wattie I spread your legend, and just the thousand people who’ve done good by a forestjew up and down Aotearoa.

Thank you to my people-people around the world: family, friends, tramily from other trails, and friendly strangers on Reddit and IG.

Thank you to the Te Araroa Trust and to DOC. Kia ora rawa atu. Please keep this trail going for the next year and the next. So long and thanks for all the fantails.

And to the class of 2019-20: kea kaha cuz the trail won’t hike itself.

Final thoughts: flat whites; crisp high fives; neuken in the keuken; only take bbubblebbaths; give koha, get koha; cowboy under the stars; no rough, no tough, no Bluff; <3

david axel kurtz
davekov dot com
…dolla dolla billz yall



One thought on “Bluff

  1. Great read, I,m a kiwi living in Nelson. Keen tramper. So admire people who come from other countries to do the TA. Such a big commitment of time and money. Kia kaha..

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