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Begins: Dec 6, 2012
Date: Wed, May 30th, 2012
Trip Distance: 1,915.0
Entry Visits: 7,764
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NOTE: These are my notes on the many towns that you come across on the Te Araroa. The main purpose is to help hikers know where they can resupply and what size grocery store you might encounter. I find the track notes awesome for hiking but vague on town information and had to do a bunch of research on google to figure out which towns have larger grocery stores. The large grocery stores are excellent to resupply from. The 4 Squares are small but usually ok to resupply from (a bit more expensive but not terrible) and all the other smaller stores are very expensive and I would not want to do a big resupply from these. Mileages noted below are approximate and generally correspond to the maps and not nevessarily the actual mileage between towns.
NORTH ISLAND NOTES
Gear: Kerikeri had a small but surprisingly good backpacking store. Auckland, Welington and Hamilton had Bivouac's and Khatmandu's. (TO BE UPDATED MORE)
0K: Start: We took an intercity bus from Auckland through Paihia to Kaitaia. From here there is a small bus that for like $ 5 runs further north to Pukenui and only runs weekdays. Kaitaia has a good backpackers (mainstreet lodge), a Pak n Save and plenty of food. We hitched from Kaitaia to Cape Reinga easily.
70K: Hukatere is a cool little farm with lodging and a tiny backpackers hut and camping. Gabrielle, the owner is super cool. We just stopped for water.
100K: Ahipara is a tiny settlement with barely anything. You couldn't resupply out of the little stores without spending a ton of money. Food at the little store was deep fried and enough salt to kill a horse. I believe there are several backpackers but we did not investigate. We easily kitched the 15k to Kaitaia, a much better place to resupply and eat.
100K: Kaitaia - Hitch 15k from Ahipara. See above for description.
133K: Takahue - Nice community hall (locked) with veranda for shelter and picnic tables. Nothing else.
165K: Mangamuka - Small store and cafe. Cafe was closed when I was there but store had a good grill with the standard fare and a few food items that could be used for a minimal and expensive resupply.
220k: Kerikeri - Full service town with a New World grocery.
240k: Paihia - Full service town with a Countdown grocery. Most hostels are a block past town on King street. Try and pick one with free use of bikes as the Countdown is 1k outside of town (TA passes it on way in).
248k: Opua - $ 1 ferry here across Veronica channel. Has a surprisingly good little store to pick up some snacks or sandwiches.
312k: Whananaki Village - Shop is on the side of the estuary before you cross the awesome footbridge. Shop has a decent selection (expensive) and good takeaway food. Sign said thursday-sunday only for takeaway.
318k: McAuslin Rd Cafe - We did not see this anywhere. Not sure.
336k: Ngunguru - Shop has a decent selection (expensive), a fish and chip place and a couple other nicer cafes.
Various: There are several places to hitch into the large city of Whangarei including from Ngunguru, from Breams head and from further south. I didn't go into Whangarei.
385k: Mardsen point. Did not visit as our boat dropped us off a little west of here.
391k: Ruakaka - We totally screwed this one. We walked past a shooping center thinking this was Breams head when it was really Ruakaka as well. Where Ruakaka is labelled on the map is like 5k's south of the shops. This center had a really nice grocery store, also a 4 square, pharmacy, sushi, takeaway/chinese and a few other shops.
405k: Waipu - Small town that seemed to have one of everything I needed. A good packpackers with laundry, 4 square grocery, bakery, internet at the museum, a takeaway place, a few cafes and a great pizza place/bar.
435 / 440 K: Mangawhai Heads and Mangawhai - Trail does not go through Mangawhai heads and I did not check it out. Trail goes through Mangawhai which has a 4 square, takeaway, pizza/chinese place.
462K: Pikiri Campground - This is at the end of the long beach walk. Small shop (could not resupply) and had a hot food cart outside.
476k: Matakana - Four square, good pizza/bar, bunch of cafes, more upscale village. Backpackers is a few k's out of town (on way in). Did not check it out.
489k: Dome Cafe - Nice little cafe with full menu and desserts.
515k: Puhoi - Tiny store, great pub with lodging.
525k: Waiwera (this is where you start the ocean walk down to Orewa) - Tiny store, motels, campervan park.
531k: Orewa - Much larger than the recent villages with multiples of everything and a New World grocery.
570k: Davenport - The trail down to Davenport follows the Hibiscus walkway and while we didn't check anything out, we saw cafes a few times and surely if we just went a few blocks inland at certain times would have found more. At the ferry wharf it looked like town was just a couple blocks away.
580k: Auckland - There is an I-site next to the ferry landing to help book a hostel. A big New World a few blocks east from the ferry. There is a Biviouac on Queen street that is the best gear store I found within the CBD. The first 50k out of Aucklabd passes a lot of food. Below are a few standouts.
593K - Approx, hit a main road near the end of the coast to coast walk with McDonalds and other fast food and little stores.
610k - Just before the airport there is a shopping center with a Countdown grocery and other stuff. Resupply here instead of in Auckland.
624k - When you hit Great South rd there is a Subway and Domino's.
626k - Tortura Park there is a free swimming pool.
643k - Clevedon Village - Takeaway place, dairy, couple other small shops.
700k: SH 1 travel plaza with McDonalds, gas station with food to buy (expensive), and a couple other small places to eat.
726k: Rangiriri - Did not check it out.
741k: Huntly - Huntly east where the trail is, is kind of scary. Huntly west across the river on the bridge is better. Fast food just over the bridge and Countdown too. CBD 5 minutes walk past that.
779k: Hamilton - Big city. Trail goes through CBD. Everything you need in CBD.
795k: Whatawata - Gas station, bar and cafe. Cafe closes at 5, bar does food starting at 5.
870k: Waitamo Caves - Bar with food, cafe/pizza place, couple cafes at visitor centers. General store has barely anything and is really more of a cafe.
884k: Te Kuiti - Small town with everything. New World grocery is about 1.5k north of main village area.
1000k: Taumarunui - Small town with everything and a New World grocery. No backpackers but a bunch of motels.
1020k: Owhango - Tiny village with a couple cafes but the only one open when we walked through at dinner time was a good pub that also did accomodation.
1060k: Junction SH 46 & 47 - Just before the junction is a small cafe and a campervan park.
1093k: Whakapappa Village - Tiny village in park with a few cafes. Holiday Park has a "store" which was closed when i was there but it looked extremely small.
1112k: National Park Village - Ski village with a bunch of cafes and a few backpackers. Gas station has a 4 square but it is much smaller and more expensive than a normal 4 Square. We hitched 35k down to Okahune which has a New World and a few backpackers.
1170k: Whakahoro - DOC hut and a cafe/lodge run by Don who loves TA hikers. Stayed at the hut and had dinner at Don's cafe.
1310k: Whanganui - Big city with everything.
1366: Bulls - Small town with lots of stuff but only a 4 square grocery.
1386: Fielding- Bigger than Bulls and quite nice. Multiple large grocery stores.
1395: Bunnythorpe - Small settlement with a tavern and dairy.
1405: Palmerston North - Big town with everything. Coming from the north you will want to cut over west to the CBD instead of following the trail around the eastern outskirts of the city.
1470: Levin - Did not go in. This is not on the TA and requires a 7k walk in (see TA notes) or a hitch on a road that deadends where the TA comes out (meaning very few cars).
Waikaine - Did not go in. We walked from Otaki forks to Otaki and then beach south to the trail near Waikaine.
To Wellington - There are lots of options for little villages along the way, the biggest being Poriora, with an insane number if huge stores.
Wellington - The CBD is about 10k north of the trail end. The trail ends at the harbor and there are no businesses there. Catch a bus back to the CBD. The ferry leaves closer to the CBD.
SOUTH ISLAND NOTES
The TA's website has a good resupply PDF file for the south island so I am not going to rehash all that. I'm just going to make some comments which I think would be helpful to add:
-Picton's grocery is a Freshvalue and is a good large grocery store.
-Havelock's 4 Square is a good one and you could definitely resupply from it but if you are buying 7-10 days of food for the next section it might be nice to hitch the nausiating 35k back to Picton on the windy road for better and cheaper selection.
-Send a food box (from Wellington or Picton) to the Travers-Sabine lodge in St. Arnaud. Lodge is very hiker friendly. The store here is tiny and very, very expensive and I would not try and resupply from (although surprisingly you could, they had a decent selection for something so small). Instead buy cheese, etc. to add to your box. Hitching to a town from here is a huge pain based on sheer distance and low traffic and not worth it. Send a box and relax in the middle of nowhere! There is only a fairly pricey cafe at one of the other lodges and takeaway at the grocery fri-sun only. Not great food choices.
-At Lewis Pass instead of sending a box to Boyle Village hitch the 40k to Hanmer Springs where there is a good 4 Square (the bigger/better 4 square type) and awesome hot springs. We didn't want 3 boxes in a row so this was a perfect option. Good food in town as well.
-Arthus's Pass send a food box to the hiker friendly YHA. Exact same comments as St. Arnaud except store is even smaller and totally inadequate for resupply.
-Methven: Hitch here from the Rakia river. Good ski town with a 4 Square and Supervalue grocery.
-Lake Tekepo: Small touristy town with several hostels and a medium size 4 Square
-Twizel: This was a nice little town. Quieter and less touristy than others. There are 2, Squares for some reason, a big one and a little one.
-Lake Hawea: Go out to the main road at Scotts beach and there is a general store/good cafe. This is about 24k before Wanaka.
-Albertown: Pub, takeaway place and small dairy.
-Wanaka: Nice town on the lake. Biggest town near the trail so far on the south island and lots of good food. New World grocery.
-Glendau bay campground: Shop has sodas, ice cream bars and not much else.
-Arrowtown: Little tourist village. Has cafes, small general store.
-Frankton: Bunch of shops at a roundabout including McDonalds, Burger King and Subway.
-Queenstown: Everything under the sun including a million tourists.-Te Anau: A nice sized tourist town with a big Freshvalue grocery.
Te Araroa Trail (3,000 Crazy Kilometers Through New Zealand)
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