A walk in the park

LINKING UP: Volunteer John Smith on the newest part of the Te Araroa walkway in Manurewa.
LINKING UP: Volunteer John Smith on the newest part of the Te Araroa walkway in Manurewa.

International tourists and South Aucklanders alike have the chance to trek through the newest part of a walking trail that links all parts of New Zealand.

Te Araroa is a 3000km-long trail stretching from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Its newest section will be opened in Manurewa tomorrow.

The 1.5km track runs from Rata Vine, under the southern motorway and finishes at Totara Park, giving easy access to the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Volunteer John Smith says completing work on that part of the trail is very satisfying.

"It's been enjoyable and a bit of work at times but I've met lots of people," he says.

"We planted all the trees down here."

The Papatoetoe resident expects the trail to be popular with tourists and locals alike.

"It's a major tourist attraction. The track is world class.

"We've had people coming through already."

Te Araroa Trust founder Geoff Chapple says Mr Smith played an integral part in helping him decide which way to progress the route through South Auckland.

"It included a thing that would stop a track dead – a motorway."

But with support from the former Manukau City Council, now part of the Auckland Council, New Zealand Transport Agency and others it's finally finished.

"I'm very, very happy. It's a walking trail that stretches in front of you and behind you," Mr Chapple says.

"If you had the time or inclination you could keep on walking and have a look at the whole country."

About 70 per cent of the trail across the Puhinui Stream is now complete and connecting a new section to Clevedon is another priority.

And he says there are alternatives to get around the parts of the trail that aren't yet complete, like using the footpath where it's not finished in sections of the south.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae officially opened the Te Araroa trail in December last year.

Mr Chapple says 28 people have so far completed the entire route, which takes about 118 days to walk.

"It's getting a bit of a reputation and has been marketed in Australia," he says.

"I think it's really good for New Zealand's profile."

The opening is at Enid Place in Manurewa from 10am tomorrow, with a walk to Everglade Dr after speeches.

Manukau Courier