Last Updated: 12th Jan 2024

Very Experienced

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I've done it Done

Tararua Traverse

Eketahuna, Manawatu - Wanganui

Submitted by Matt Bixley

Last Updated: 12th Jan 2024

Very Experienced

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done

Open

Grunt Factor: 194 ?

Gnarl Factor: 86 ?

74.0km

6000m

6000m

1561m

  

  

  

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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Mountainous

Native bush

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup

10%
80%
10%

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +15.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -15.2%

Trailhead

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Estimated Times to Run

36:00

Slow

26:00

Moderate

20:00

Fast

To complete the length of the Tararua Main Range in a weekend has long been a goal for members of Tramping Clubs in and around Wellington. Also known as a "Schormann to Kaitoke", the trip is wild rough, slow and not for the faint hearted, nor is it to be attempted in rough weather and the Tararua Range has a lot of rough weather.
While parts of the track are now part of Te Araroa and have improved, other parts are difficult to follow and trip in a single push will mean significant amount of time in the dark. Map, compass and the ability to use them should be considered mandatory as you are likely to be out longer than your GPS watch will last. Many experienced locals have become lost while attempting the route.

This trip possibly has more history than any other run in New Zealand, it has it's own book and anyone considering the run should get a hold of a copy to read of the epic adventures.

Checking out times at https://tararuafkt.wordpress.com/routes/s-k/ will help with planning for food and shelter if required. Many of the sub-24 hour attempts have involved roping together a cluster of friends to take supplies into some of the huts. But I thoroughly endorse the simplicity of getting dropped off and running to the other end with a mate.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There is plenty of parking space at the start, an area to camp before your early start. Getting someone to drop you off is the best way to get there, but back in the early days of the trip it was done by train and then taxi.

19 km

43 minutes

Unknown

No

Hard.

On a clear day the trip and track is relatively straight forward to follow. However if the clouds come down then visibility will be near zero and the potential for disaster is very, very high. The early parts around Dundas and Arete have caused problems for some and the Marchant ridge when tired and in the dark can be difficult to follow.

Patchy.

Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries

Water is available from the well spaced huts along the route but is more or less non-existent between them. To break 24 hours there are a couple of stretches up to 5 hours with no water.

The Tararua Range has in the vicinity of 250 bad weather days per year. It can and does snow all year round. October to April are the best time to attempt this, the more daylight hours you have the better. Local advice suggests that the 48 hours after a southerly front has passed generally provide good conditions.

The popularity of the Tararua Range means that it is often taken for granted, however the Southern end has an unobstructed line to the Antarctic and is often hit with deadly southerlies. While there are plentiful huts for shelter, the potential to get lost and be caught out is quite high. This is a serious trip.

Sleep
It may come to you without asking

Garage Project - Beer
91 Aro St, Aro Valley, Wellington 6021
https://garageproject.co.nz/products/beer
If sleep doesn't attack you then celebrating the finest trip in NZ with the finest beer in Wellington is appropriate. I didn't get to drink mine, as recommendation #1 happened.

Trail Legend

BT

BJ T

has completed Tararua Traverse once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Great and challenging run - pretty epic mission. https://tararuafkt.wordpress.com/fkt-reports/main-range-sks/2020-sk-reports/ian-gilmour-main-range-sk-2020/

Ian Gilmour

February 18, 2020

Incredible & tough traverse of the tararuas, highly recommendedhttps://tararuafkt.wordpress.com/fkt-reports/main-range-sks/2020-sk-reports/alastair-mcdowell-main-range-2020/

Alastair McDowell

January 7, 2020

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