Student Life: The Ara Tramping Club

Being a student is about hard work, striving to attain your goals and being your best possible self. But all work and no fun is a sure fire way to burn yourself out…even the most conscientious student needs to take a little down time to recharge those batteries.

Hard work is good but the body also needs emotional nourishment…

To that end there are a number of different clubs at Ara which cater to different interests. From sports clubs, cultural clubs to groups for social get togethers there are groups for everyone.

One activity that is personally close to my heart is tramping. Tramping is the word we use in New Zealand to describe hiking/walking trips into the outdoors. A tramp could range from a couple of hours walking to monster 10+ day expeditions to remote Wilderness Areas. There is no better way to experience New Zealand’s legendary scenic delights that by walking there on your own two feet.

Classic New Zealand tramping: sand beaches, swing-bridges and bush….
…..and mountain and stream…

Here at Ara we actually have a student tramping club which caters to this interest. The Ara Tramping Club was set up in 2019 by a group of students and aims to assist both the novice and the experienced back country trekker to find experience and companionship while outdoors.

Article about the Ara Tramping Club in the Feb/Mar edition of Waha Korero

There is a long history of club tramping in this country and it is an excellent way to find people with a similar interest in the outdoors. It also allows you to access the skills and experience more seasoned trampers have and is the best way to begin your introduction to this most excellent pursuit.

Photos of a 2019 Ara Tramping Club trip to Woolshed Creek, Mt Somers

There is a recent article in the Ara student magazine, Waha Korero (February/March 2020) about the Ara Tramping Club. It is well worth a read if you are looking to join a club to get outdoors. They are actively seeking members (both experienced and inexperienced) and would love to hear from you.

Port William Hut, Rakuira, backcountry huts are the focus of tramping in New Zealand


You can contact the club via email at or on Facebook @AraTramping. The club also advertises their regular planning meetings around the Campus. If you are a student, love the forests and hills and want to experience the essence of New Zealand then you should drop them a line.

I hope to see many of you out in the backcountry…

….may your lunches be dry, your huts empty and your wood sheds full….

Walking “The Long Pathway”

Spring has arrived and for people who enjoy the outdoors fine weather means trips to the mountains, valleys and forest. What a lot of people dont realise is that New Zealand has one of the premier long distance walking trails in the world, the Te Araroa Trail

Te Araroa Trail (TaT)

CapeReinga, start of Te Araroa trail
Cape Reinga, start of Te Araroa trail,

Te Araroa (The Long Pathway) is New Zealand’s long distance tramping route, from Cape Reinga to Bluff, a distance of over 3000 km’s.

Mark Percy (left) and Fiona Mackenzie, Te Araroa’s project manager in the North, install the sign at the Govan Wilson end of the new track. Te Araroa Trust, 2011


The trail has approximately 300 sections ranging from walks of 1–2 hours through to a 9-day route in the South Island where full equipment must be carried. Te Araroa joins a mixture of existing tracks and walkways, new tracks and link sections alongside roads.
The straight line distance from Cape Reinga to Bluff is 1475 km, but the Te Araroa Trail covers a longer nominal distance of 3000 km. and is constantly being adjusted.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, part of the Te Araroa Trail,



Methods of madness

“Through hiking”, or walking the full length of the trail in one go,  takes three to six months. The fastest effort was by British ultramarathon runner Jezz Bragg, who managed 53 days during the 2012-13 season.

Some walkers report around 100 days, but many take their time to enjoy the whole season and spend around 150 days. Most start in September-October and finish early in the new year.

Ridge to Roses saddle, Motatapu Alpine track, Te Araroa,




You can also “section hike” various parts of the trail. Section hikers work their way along the trail section by section. In this case it may take several years to complete the whole trail, but the end result is the same.

I am currently section hiking the South Island part of the trail.

Looking north and back down the West Sabine as we climb the moraine above Blue Lake. The hut is just inside the bush edge at the far end of the lake.
Blue lake to Waiau Pass in Nelson Lakes National Park, Te Araroa Trail,



How about it, will you take up the challenge?

If you are a fit, keen person looking for a life altering challenge, perhaps the TaT is for you. Check the resources below for more information about the Trail and those who have walked its length:






A Walking Guide To New Zealand’s Long Trail: Te Araroa by Geoff Chapple. This is the official guide book for anyone thinking of walking the trail


TeAraroa_logo The official Te Araroa Trust website:  Information, trail maps, gear lists etc.


patbanner3Here is one of my favourite blogs from Kiwiscout, a New Zealander who through walked the trail in2013/2014:


StartPortraitAnother great blog about walking the Te Araroa, from Nicky and Cookie:


CaptureSome section hikers, Rob and Debby McColl walk from Cape Reinga to Bluff on the Te Araroa Trail:


Visit a “Great Walk” in 2014/2015

Have you ever considered walking one of the iconic “Great Walks”?

Key Summit on the Routeburn Track by photographer Carly Williamson
Key Summit on the Routeburn Track by photographer Carly Williamson


Abel Tasman Coastal Track
Abel Tasman Coastal Track: Photo DOC

The “Great Walks” are 9 premier outdoor experiences, selected to showcase the best of New Zealand’s natural beauty. There are 8 walking tracks and 1 kayak journey.

They are: Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, Wanganui River Journey, Mt Tongariro Northern Circuit, Able Tasman Coast Track & the Heaphy, Routeburn, Milford, Kepler & Rakuira tracks.

Visitors to these spots can go as part of a guided tour or as freedom walkers. Due to the massive demand to visit the tracks, the Department of Conservation has a booking system for the huts on the tracks. Prior booking is essential to ensure you have accommodation for the night.

Milford Track

Hut bookings for the 2014/2015 Summer season are due to open on the 21st July.

In years past I have tramped the Heaphy track, Lake Waikaremoana Walk and Mt Tongariro circuit. I can thoroughly recommend them as a great way to spend some of your summer holidays.

If you would like to experience some of the best of New Zealand go to the DOC website for more information:

Kahurangi National Park, Heaphy Track Photo: DOC
Kahurangi National Park, Heaphy Track: Photo: DOC


Department of Conservation (DOC): Great walks:

Also see: The Great Walks, an official NZ Tourism site:

Adventure recreation – new books – May 2012

   Click on any title below to view its details in our Primo Library search. If you would like to request any of these, sign in first and then select Request. (Hint: the sign in is in the top right corner once you have clicked on the resource.

For more resources on adventure recreation be sure to visit the subject guide.

New Books

Stebbins, R.A. (2011). The idea of leisure: first principles

Watch this DVD as Craig Potton tours New Zealand’s most significant rivers, delving into the depths and shallows to unearth the rich history of the local people and their relationship with some of the country’s most significant waterways”
NOLS Soft Paths is the go-to resource for Leave No Trace skills and ethics. This new edition includes expanded information on camping practices and new research and field experience that prescribes better minimum-impact techniques
 This is the guidebook of Te Araroa Trail: The Long Pathway, a continuous trail running from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The book maps the 3000-kilometre trail in 40-kilometre sections. Each of the 12 regional sections opens with a stunning 2-page 3D map.
This is an ebook. Long recognised as one of Britain’s finest mountain writers, this collection brings together the best of Jim Perrin’s essays and articles on climbing. Perrin has selected these from four decades of describing and commenting on the experience of rock-climbing and the characters of the climbing community.