Warning: You might want to avoid walking Te Araroa in the following circumstances
If you don’t like bugs – crawling on you, biting you, flying into your food, flying into your mouth, riding on your pack or hat or sunglasses; or if you don’t like the feel of walking through spider webs and having sticky threads floating around your face. Most memorable bug experience so far was when a blow fly dive-bombed into my dinner and drowned itself in the sauce. It was lucky I saw its death dive as the dinner was a black bean curry and I could easily have mistaken its corpse for an extra bean.
If you don’t like cows. The TA North Island is a bovine bonanza. It should be avoided if you are afraid of cows staring at you, stalking you, charging at you, charging away from you, licking you, mooing at you or doing any other inscrutable farm animal behaviour.
If you are squeamish about the sight and smell of death. Seeing animal bodies in varying stages of decomposition and eviseration is so common it becomes unremarkable, serving merely as a marker as to what creatures are most abundant in different regions (e.g. rabbits, possums, hedgehogs, finches); or what native species may be doing well enough to get squashed by traffic on roads (e.g. pukeko, frogs) or not doing well and being washed ashore on beaches (e.g. blue penguins).
If you have a grass allergy. I only had one bad day of hayfever in the North Island but a hiker we met had such a bad reaction to an overgrown grass track that his face swelled up and he developed hives all over his body. A supply of antihistamines is a necessity.
If you need a flush toilet for your ablutions. You need a hardy disposition to tackle some of the long drops in the back country- especially those that have not been emptied for a while and have become alarmingly short drops. Also alarming are the flooded long drops that have far too much splash for comfort. The buggy long drops do not encourage lengthy visits, especially when the bugs can bite. In such circumstances, only the bare minimum of exposure is tolerable and you risk having an incomplete and unsatisfactory evacuation of the alimentary tract.
If you can’t sleep with snorers. It’s inevitable – you’ll end up stuck in a hut with someone who spends the night mimicking a freight train. Or even if you’re tenting, you’ll hear the freight train from the tent next door. There’s no point complaining- break out the ear plugs and think about how delightful it is that at least someone (the snorer) is having a beautiful sleep.
If you have a fear of heights or swing bridges – including three-wire bridges. There’s no way to get across some rivers without these; and no way to get over some mountains without navigating scree slopes, precipitous ridges and dizzying descents. Those with vertigo, be warned.