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How Much Does It Cost to Hike Te Araroa?

Recently, I’ve had a couple people planning future thru-hikes ask me for more information about my Te Araroa hike, specifically how long it took and how much it cost.

Being a bit of an Excel nerd and enjoying a good number crunch, I decided to dig back through my records and create some pivot tables. I found that my hike took 101 calendar days and cost $3,085.98 USD. What follows is a detailed breakdown.

Background Statistics

I kept a daily journal of my hike in which I recorded each day’s start point, end point, and mileage hiked. Using this information, I was able to answer a number of questions.

How long did Te Araroa take?

I started the evening of December 6, 2016, and finished March 16, 2017. In total, Te Araroa took 101 calendar days. Breaking it down by island, my hike looked like this:

North Island

South Island

Full Te Araroa

Start Date




End Date




Total Days




It was roughly a 60/40 split between the north and south islands. Included in these numbers are seven total zero days (three on the North Island, three on the South Island, and one in between for the ferry). That means I averaged a zero day once every two weeks.

What was my hiking pace?

My average mileage ended up being right around 18.4 mi/day:

North Island

South Island

Full Te Araroa

18.2 mi/day

19.2 mi/day

18.4 mi/day

Conventional wisdom says that people cover less distance per day on the South Island, but I experienced the opposite. Overall this deviation was small—about a mile per day. This may be due to the fact that while the North Island is easier, by the time I got to the South Island my legs were in trail shape and I had established a rhythm.

The chart above shows my daily hiking totals (the green line) along with a 10-day moving average (the dashed orange line). Some takeaways:

  • My zero days were fairly evenly spread. The only time I took a double zero was Feb 13 & 14, when I was stuck in Blue Lake Hut waiting out a terrible storm.

  • I wanted to start slow and hike conservatively until I felt like I had my legs under me, so (excluding the first full day when I was overly excited) it was reassuring to see my moving average increase steadily throughout the first month.

  • The dip in pace from 1/31 to 2/21 is indicative of the northern half of the South Island. The sections from Ship Cove to Methven were the most strenuous.

  • My longest day was 43.0 miles (69.4km). It was also my final day.

Hopefully this table provides a basic sense of pacing on the TA. As a point of comparison for those familiar with the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, I averaged 17.8 mi/day on the AT and 20.7 mi/day on the PCT.

How often did I pay for accommodations?

The Te Araroa definitely felt like it had less opportunities to freedom (or “wild”) camp than other distance trails like the AT and PCT. Fortunately, I recorded where I slept every night, so I was able to go back through and see if this perception matched my reality.