Tramping (Trekking) the Length of New Zealand (MAIN PAGE)

Section F: Rotorua to Taupo

[A few photos to be posted later with Section G photos]

Section Summary: this section follows rural sealed (paved) roads and highways through rolling farmland and private forests to connect the two cities.

Route: Highway 5, Waipa Mill Road, Tumunui Road, Corbett Road, Waikite Valley Road, Highway 5, Settlers Road, Broadlands Road to Taupo.

Towns: Reporoa (store/meals).

Maps: U16 Rotorua, U17 Wairakei, U18 Taupo.

Section Journal -- December 13, 2003, Taupo, New Zealand:

I bicycled the entire 80-km (50 miles) of Section F, starting in Rotorua where my Section E walking ended, and finishing in Taupo where my Section G walking was to begin. It was a very nice bicycle ride, and a good change of pace. As discussed at the end of the Section E journal, the forest roads south of Mamaku were not inviting due to logging activity, lack of an up-to-date road map, the general unease with which foresters view the tramper around active logging sections, and the fact that the forestry company had told me that tramping was formally prohibited in the area. Besides those forest roads, the other possible route, given here, is entirely along paved rural roads and highways, with limited water access and no places to camp. So I decided that bicycling was the most appropriate mode for this section. Also, after Section E, I wanted to recover my strength and energy for Sections G and H, which I expect to be the most difficult of the entire trek (along with Section I).

What follows is a philosophical and bean-counting diversion from my normal journals, brought on in part by the bicycling!

"On purity, discontinuities, interruptions, and flip-flops"

The ideal for through-hiking a continuous trail is that one walks every step of the way, re-starting each day from the exact point of earth where one left off, with no discontinuity of walking. This is considered a "pure" hike. On long-distance trails such as the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, there are various terms for hikers who create discontinuities by skipping sections of a trail (i.e., "yellow striping" for someone who gets car rides on the highway, as I recall). Another form of discontinuity is called a "flip-flop", where the trekker eventually walks the entire trail, but may break it into pieces and skip some pieces initially, to return and complete them later in the trek. Flip-flops are used by some Pacific Crest Trail through-hikers to avoid the deep snow of the High Sierra in early season; they return later in the trek to complete those sections when conditions are better. Most common of all, trekkers (even purists) may interrupt the hike to ride in a car (or even fly in a plane) to someplace else to re-supply, rest, work, attend a wedding, etc., but the hike still resumes at the exact same place it was interrupted.

A discontinuity somewhat unique to New Zealand's topography is a water crossing by boat. Water along coastal routes, either bays or rivers, must sometimes be crossed by boat unless long inland detours are considered. Several such water crossings are part of the proposed Te Araroa route. Te Araroa also includes a few sections of canoeing/kayaking instead of walking: 10-km along the Puhoi river (which I did in Section D), and 80-km along the Whanganui River from Pipiriki to Whanganui on the west coast (not part of my route). The Whanganui canoeing is justified because "canoeing is what you do on this river" in the words of Te Araroa.

My ideal was to walk every step of the way, with no flip-flops, discontinuities only for water crossings, and with as few interruptions as possible. In fact, I originally had an idea to try the trek without once getting into a car. However, I am diverging from the ideal in places, due in part to wanting to enjoy the trek and maintain a general optimism of what I am doing, as well as rest appropriately and still get through the entire trek.

What follows is a current inventory of purity, discontinuities, interruptions, and flip-flops:

Purity. My trek, as of now, is 97% pure. The 10-km of kayaking on the Puhoi River in Section D and the 80-km of bicycling for Section F totals 90-km of non-walking (but all still under my own power), for 3% non-walking out of 2700-km. (As my Auckland-to-Wellington route is different from the Te Araroa route, I'm defining it as I go along, so I'll say here that "bicycling is what you do from Rotorua to Taupo"!)

Discontinuities. (1) Six water crossings ranging in distance from 100-m to 4-km (Opua ferry in Section C, car to cross Ngunguru and Horahora Rivers in Section C, Whangarei Heads water taxi in Section C, boat crossing of river at Mangarei Heads Section D, Devonport ferry across Auckland Harbor in Section E, Dominion Post ferry across Wellington Harbor in Section H). (2) 80-km west-to-east "at constant-latitude" discontinuity from Auckland to Coromandel in Section E. (3) Ocean crossing from North to South Island (Wellington to Picton).

Interruptions. (1) Section B, when I was driven by car to Peter's house then returned to the same spot the next day. (2) Section E, at the end, when I stopped 20-km short of section's end, went into town, and then returned later to finish walking the section (in running shoes without pack). (3) Section G, at the start, where I walked the first 30-km without a pack, came back to town, and then resumed later at that 30-km point with pack.

Flip-flops: none.

Page updated December 13, 2003