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Cape Reinga to Bluff – Without a Hitch!

Hiking Days Remaining: 0
Remaining Distance: 0km
Distance Covered: 3301km
Total Traverse Hiking Days: 148

Only 13 kilometres remained until I would reach the very end of the trail – Stirling Point, Bluff! My last day of hiking started from Stanley Township Rd where I finished hiking the night before. It was early in the morning and a lot quieter on Bluff Highway than it was yesterday evening when many trucks were hurtling past me. The predicted forecast for 10th May was once again the opposite of the weather I was experiencing. There were clouds about and rain on the horizon but as I neared Bluff the sun emerged from the clouds. So with these changes, my day was fast becoming what I had hoped for.

One of my goals was to hike a continuous trail apart from canoeing 42km down the Whanganui River (from Mangaparua Landing to Pipiriki on the North Island). As I approached Bluff, it’s difficult to explain in words how I felt but I felt more than satisfied knowing that I’d hiked this far without too much going wrong along the way. I found it hard to believe that this was the last day of the life I had become accustomed to for the past seven months.

As I was walking along Bluff Highway I thought about the last scenic stretch of the Te Araroa Trail that was coming up – The Foveaux Walkway. The walkway would take me around the southernmost point of Bluff before reaching Stirling Point. I was pleased to see the beginning of the walkway and immediately my surroundings were a lot more peaceful. In the distance I saw a big orange triangle nailed to a gate so I hiked up to it. When I got there I noticed that the gate was padlocked and there were high fences all around. I recalled reading about this a couple of years ago when two hikers had to scale the fence in order to hike the rest of the walkway. So I climbed the tall fence which had obviously been climbed many times before because there were big holes in it from where people had wedged their boots. Eventually I was on the other side and that’s when I spotted an unusual looking stile which I had missed. The reason I had overlooked it was because I followed the orange marker which was placed at the gate. It would have made more sense if it had been attached to the stile instead of where it was on the gate, some thirty meters away. My frustration with badly placed markers leading me astray, added enormously to the distance over the course of the trail. On this occassion the distance was nothing but it was more the fence climb with backpack and poles to contend with that I could have done without. Hopefully writing about my frustration will be of some help to future hikers.

Earlier in the day, Gordon started hiking from Stirling Point back towards me. As planned, we met at the lookout point which was the southernmost point of Bluff. We discovered a plaque there which was the Foveaux Memorial. I found the memorial rather interesting and although I’d researched the trail in detail, I saw no mention of this plaque. The wind here was quite strong as it was coming from the east and up till this point I was protected from it by Bluff. My flag was flapping furiously and I loved the sound of it. We hiked on and Stirling Point appeared in full view about a kilometer away. I could see other flags around the finishing post and wondered why they were there.

As we hiked the last kilometer it felt strange that the end of the trail was closing in. Many times on this trail places have crept up on me very quickly and this was one of them. The ocean swells were crashing against the rocks down below on our right. Although there weren’t many people around the atmosphere of this place was really alive. It was the sun, the wild swells, the sound of my flag and knowing that my family were there too which made the end part of this walkway quite dramatic.

Gordon and I hiked through the small carpark towards Stirling Point’s signpost where the trail ended. As I got closer I discovered that the flags and banners were there for me! Gordon had designed two other flags and two banners which were all flying well in the wind. I was surprised and really appreciated the effort he had gone to. I walked between the flags and right up to the signpost. The trail, which I had looked forward to for so long and had enjoyed every day of, had come to an end. All things going to plan, finishing this trail was inevitable and since I had been enjoying myself so much along the way I always expected that arriving at Stirling Point would be somewhat of an anti-climax. As it turned out – it was very much the opposite.

I was so pleased to have my family there with me at the end to share in the moment. I couldn’t imagine completing such a journey on my own. A moment like that really should be shared with at least one other person you know.

I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the finish with my family at Stirling Point. We stayed at Lands End Bed and Breakfast for the night. It’s less than 100m away from the end of the trail which I figured I’d be able to walk, so we booked it in advance. We were the only guests staying there for the night so we could choose whichever room we liked. Gordon and I took the corner room which overlooked Stirling Point. Later that night we could still see Stirling Point’s yellow signpost lit up by floodlights.

It would only be a couple of days later when I arrived in Queenstown that the realisation of seven months of pure adventure had come to an end. My dream hike had been fulfilled, and what a dream hike it was. I really can remember each of the 148 days for what they were.

At some stage I’ll be putting together another post which will include an overview of my time spent on the trail. I will also be updating the website and filling in some gaps which I did not get around to at times whilst I was hiking.

More about the flags:
The yellow in the flag (below) represents Stirling Point’s yellow signpost at the very end of the trail. The circle of blue symbolises the vast amounts of water that surround me on the Te Araroa Trail in the form of the Pacific Ocean, the abundance of rainfall, the powerful rivers and the constant need for safe drinking water along the way . . . and that’s me hiking in the centre of it all with my SPOT Satellite Messenger transmitting my end of day locations. All the names of the towns I’ve passed through are mentioned in the order I reached them. The two TNZ logos are the East and West pointers of the compass. The compass symbolises direction which is invaluable on such a journey. The tiki symbolises good luck.

My favourite out of the two flags (above) is the one with my TNZ logo on it which is interlinked with the tiki. Along the way I have come to regard the tiki as my brother Gordon. Gordon was the one who oversaw the planning behind my traverse from beginning to end so that’s why my reflection appears in the tiki’s right eye. The tiki is a symbol of a good omen which is what Gordon has been to me all along.

36 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jill #

    Congratulations to you, Kenyon, and to your supporting Metford team. What a fantastic achievement. Wonderful photographs and a stunning flag! Best regards to you all from Jill and Malcolm.

    Thursday 10 May, 2012
    • Thanks so much for your congratulatory wishes and your consistent interest which meant a lot to me. Yes, I was totally surprised and taken aback by the flag that Gordon created for me. It really did add a lot of fun to the last couple of days hike to Bluff. I certainly am fortunate to have such a supportive family.
      Your comments have been gratefully appreciated.

      Saturday 12 May, 2012
  2. Well done, you must feel so proud of yourself, we
    certainly are of you.

    Cheers Wendi and Tony
    Woodlands Motel & Conference Venue

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • It’s great to hear from you Wendi and Tony. It’s hard to believe that three months have passed since I last called you from Wellington. Life has never moved so fast for me as it has on this traverse. Yes, I’m happy looking back on the adventure! Memories for life.

      Sunday 13 May, 2012
  3. Andrea #

    Congrats! So happy for you to have finished this amazing trip. Really glad I met you and got to read about, and briefly BE a part of this awesome journey! Hope to see you before you leave NZ!! Get some sleep. 🙂

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • It was an amazing trip and something I’ll never forget and I’m very pleased to have hiked Tongariro with you. Contrary to the weather forecast the final day could not have been better. I’m glad we got to chat close to the end of the trip before you returned to Milford Sound. Yes, hopefully we can meet up again before I head back home. Will be in touch.

      Saturday 12 May, 2012
  4. Amazing achievement Kenyon! Well done, now get some proper rest!!

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • Hi Lindsay,

      It was a nice surprise to see your comment on this post. I enjoyed meeting you here in Queenstown and hearing about your work. It sounds as though you need the rest too after your latest deadlines. Take it easy!

      Sunday 13 May, 2012
  5. Norm #

    Congratulations young Kenyon… amazing ‘feet’ of endurance……..exceptional effort……well done.

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • Thank you Norman. Your congratulations are much appreciated. My feet are enjoying the post hike experience.

      Saturday 12 May, 2012
  6. Yay, Ken! Well done!  What a great finish. I love the photos. That’s a cool one of you hanging off the sign! You all look so happy.  Enjoy the celebrations and I’ll have some bubbles later today with chip to celebrate your achievement!  I know wee chip is looking forward to seeing you.
    Will be great hearing all your stories.
    Love Fi &  xx

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • It really was a happy moment although I miss parts of the trail life already. We are celebrating now and it’s great just to be able to sit down and reply to everyone and reflect on the last seven months. What a treat to have internet connection here in Queenstown. I’d love to be able to celebrate with you and wee Chip right now. Only twelve more days till I can give Chip a really big hug.
      I hope you have an incredible trip overseas and look forward to exchanging stories with you when you return.

      Saturday 12 May, 2012
  7. Frith Metford #

    Dear Ken, Congratulations!!!! What an achievement!!! I am thrilled for you that you did it and triumphed all the way! An inspiration for us all!!! Enjoy a great relax and we look forward to hearing more about your journey when you’re back in person. Love, Frith & Rob xx

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • Hi Frith and Rob! I’m really enjoying putting my feet up and just taking time out to catch up with everyone which is something I’ve missed being able to do along the way. I look forward to finding out what you have both been up to in the time I’ve been away. Thank so much for your comments. Chat soon.

      Saturday 12 May, 2012
  8. John Phillips #

    Congratulations Kenyon on accomplishing a dream. I know you had some doubts at the beginning and you overcame those and all the challenges on the way – torrential rain, impenetrable bush, cold, heat, flooded rivers and much more. Well done – if it went off without a hitch it is due to good planning and discipline and good fortune.I know you had a great team in Gordon and your family and friends and that makes all the difference. I am sure you made new friends too. You have a chance to celebrate with some of them and relax a little now as you head north through Queenstown – by car this time? It will seem very different. Don’t let civilization get to you. You will have to get back to nature again soon I am sure.

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • Thank you so much John for your inspirational comments. I’ve really appreciated your input along the way. It’s been great to have you following my trip so closely.
      I recall how excited I was, back in February, to meet up with you all in Wellington. As you said, it was amazing how all our paths, having started in different parts of the world, converged in “The Windy City”. That in itself was worthy of a celebration. What made it all the more special is that our friendship goes back many years.
      I thought of you as I continued my hike through the South Island and how the scenery equates to that of Canada. It’s a place you simply have to explore further!

      Saturday 12 May, 2012
  9. Jonathan Wreglesworth #

    Fantastic news – what a great accomplishment!!!! – I hope you take some time to relax, eat pizza and drink beer! Will you have your boots bronzed?

    Big hug from your Canadian friends!!!! – Can’t wait to see more photos.

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • Hi Jon!

      Yeah, we’re carb loading in Queenstown at the moment while watching the paragliders descend from the hills above.

      That’s a great idea about bronzing the boots – but which pair?

      Cheers and thanks,


      Monday 14 May, 2012
      • Jonathan Wreglesworth #

        how many pairs were there? 3? Why not do them all and make a sculpture
        out of them – a sort of trophy or a foot stool. I am serious!

        Monday 14 May, 2012
    • There were two pairs of boots so the foot stool idea could still work. Will let you know if I create anything.

      Wednesday 16 May, 2012
  10. How awesome, well done Kenyon, you are an inspiritation and know how to follow & achieve your dream. It has been great watching your progress and beautiful photos that a lot of kiwis haven’t even seen. It was so lucky that you got all those blisters otherwise we would never have met you. Good Luck for everything and you know where we are.

    Cheers Wendi & Tony

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • It sure worked out well when I reached your town of Kerikeri on hiking day 12. I loved resting up at your place with those tall trees surrounding your property and taking the occasional walk down by the river. Thanks again for including me at your dinner table. I really did enjoy my stay at Woodlands Motel. I’d love to go back and explore that area in more detail. Till I’m next there – take care!

      Wednesday 16 May, 2012
  11. thanks for a great adventure and inspiration, i feel lucky to have bumped into you one windy day as you headed up the rakaia near double hill, and have been following progress ever since.
    im sure that horrible empty feeling you must have after completing such a journey wont hang around too long.

    take care, s.

    Friday 11 May, 2012
    • Hi Stuart! It’s really great to hear from you. Glad you have been following along. Yes, that sure was a windy day. I remember cutting the day about 10km short due to that head wind. Thanks for taking that photo of me with the Rakaia River in the background. A little while later I saw your car parked below by the river and wondered if you had caught any fish for dinner. I hope so.
      Since finishing the hike I have enjoyed some time off in Queenstown and I’m now in Wanaka. I’m really missing the trail I was on but I’m sure it won’t be long before the next adventure begins.
      I enjoyed meeting you that day. I’m glad you stopped for a chat as it was a bit of a quiet stretch – so, thanks.
      Cheers for now,

      Wednesday 16 May, 2012

    From the very start when you mentioned that you’d love to hike the length of New Zealand, I knew your mind was set and that you’d see this challenge of yours through to the finish – it’s just the strong minded person you are. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed tracking your progress, mainly because I know you, and I know how much of a great guy you really are! Being right there with you on this final day of yours was extraordinary for me. I really did have a front row seat when you reached out and grabbed the finishing post with your right hand. I’ll never forget these last few seconds which turned all the hard work you’ve put into your traverse, into a moment of personal glory!

    Remember the intense sound of your flag flapping in New Zealand’s southern winds, for it’s the true sound of victory and success!

    In admiration – your brother G.

    Saturday 12 May, 2012
    • Gordo,

      Having set out with you at Cape Reinga, reaching Bluff together was the only way to finish this great adventure. It certainly would have been incomplete without your presence at it’s culmination – Stirling Point!

      You did an incredible amount for me along the way. On top of it all, you organised a very unique, personal and special ending which was totally unexpected. The flags awaiting me at the finish lifted my spirits which would otherwise have been somewhat at a low with seven adventurous months coming to an abrupt end.

      All along your loyalty and support have been exceptional and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

      Your twin, K

      Thursday 17 May, 2012
  13. Pammy #


    No words can adequately express the deep admiration we felt at Bluff witnessing your moment of triumph as you took the final step of your traverse. What an incredibly emotional moment that was for all of us!

    We are filled with envy and pride that you had the courage and determination to follow your dream and the strength and endurance to see it through to fulfilment.

    Despite the painful and difficult times you have endured, you have come out smiling, and our toast to you is – “TE HANA – TO SHINE!”

    In gratitude for enriching our lives,

    Pammy and Ol’ Blue Eyes

    Sunday 13 May, 2012
    • I greatly appreciate the fact that you flew all the way over here to be with me when I completed my traverse. It was fantastic to celebrate the ending with yourselves and Gordon. I couldn’t imagine arriving at Stirling Point on my own and not having anyone there to share the moment with.

      I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time in Queenstown and Wanaka with you after being on the move for so long. What a great way to recover.


      Saturday 19 May, 2012
  14. Carol Wright #

    Congratulations, Kenyon, on completing your trek. What a wonderful achievement. We have been following your blog since arriving home from our South Island holiday. It was good to meet you and be able to give you a lift from Hanmer Springs to the start of your next walk. You will be pleased to know we had no more car trouble after getting the battery replaced at the garage at Hanmer. Enjoy the celebrations of your success.
    Carol and Martin

    Sunday 13 May, 2012
    • Hi Carol and Martin!! Wow, it’s really great to hear from people who I met along the way like this. I did wonder how you both went with the car after you dropped me off but I was confident you wouldn’t have any further troubles with that new battery. Thanks very much for getting me back to the point near Boyle Village where I’d stopped hiking several days earlier. I really appreciate the help you gave me. Whilst I haven’t missed my car during this trip – I have found it challenging at times when it comes to making side trips.
      Many thanks and I hope your trip back up to Hamilton went well.
      Bye for now, Kenyon.

      Wednesday 16 May, 2012
  15. Judith #

    Absolutely fantastic to hear of your adventure and achievement. Congratulations!! It was a privilege to meet you north of Hamilton and chat on a rainy day. Your blog and journey are a rare treat. What an amazing way to finish a long trek. Keep on hiking on and enjoy the day!

    Friday 18 May, 2012
  16. Hi Judith! It seems ages ago that we were sitting in your car whilst the rain came down. What good timing it was for us to meet that way. I’m really glad you took the time to pull over on the side of the road on that cold rainy day. It was quite a coincidence to meet you after reading your trail stories online six months earlier.

    It really was a treat to try your home-made muffins whilst we talked about the trail. Thanks too for the fresh fruit that you gave me. Those unexpected moments are the makings of great memories on an adventure like this.

    I’m interested to know which sections of the trail you are going to hike next.

    I have a few days left in New Zealand before going back to Australia. Just making the most of the snow capped mountain views before I go. It’s always hard to leave this beautiful country.

    Bye for now,

    Saturday 19 May, 2012
  17. Peter Green #


    Awesome effort! Got a lump in my throat reading about the last few kilometers of your journey. Looking forward to reading about your next walk from Capetown to Tierra del Fuego via Alaska.
    cheers Peter “Bad Hobbit” Green.

    Thursday 24 May, 2012
    • Hi Peter!

      Seems ages ago since I met you and Dom on the North Island in Te Kuiti towards the end of 2011. You two remain the funniest guys I met during the eight months that I was away. I really enjoyed your comedy night. I’m sure the cycling and comedy went well for the rest of your NZ tour. The Kiwi’s love you both!

      🙂 Yes, I might do the Capetown to Tierra del Fuego via Alaska walk over a few days next week if I get enough time off.

      Bye for now, Bad Hobbit!

      Saturday 26 May, 2012
  18. debbymccoll #

    Hi Kenyon, awesome blog, congratulaions on your journey.

    Saturday 26 May, 2012
    • Hi Debby!

      Great to hear from you. I met your friend Tony on Paraparaumu Beach whilst I was hiking towards Wellington back in January 2011. He said that you and Rob were hiking somewhere on the South Island at the time. I had my photo taken with Tony and will send it on to you when I have sorted through them all. I looked you up on the internet and have been reading your blog. Most enjoyable! Thanks very much for the stories.

      Also a friend of mine knows your nephew. What a small world!

      Well done on reaching Bluff! Looks like you both had the time of your lives! Bye for now, Kenyon 🙂

      Friday 8 June, 2012

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