Te Aroha Summit / Tui Track
May 19, 2024
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After enduring the stress of the last seven months, moving to New Zealand, trying to establish some semblance of life here, and being unemployed for almost six months, it has started to feel like my body makeup is solely cortisol. Some days, lifting my head in the morning is so hard that I close my eyes and try to drift back off again. Finding a hike or run has become daunting enough that I can't tackle it most weeks. Luckily, Trail Cutter lived here long enough that she knows a few spots to take us for a tramp in the woods. This weekend, she directed us to Te Aroha.

te aroha city park near the trailhead
te aroha fall colors
te aroha city park near the trailhead
te aroha city park

As with many of the tramping tracks in New Zealand, the hike to Te Aroha's summit starts on the edge of a city. Despite this, it quickly enters some dense woods, and the sight of houses and businesses rapidly fades away. The first section of switchbacks up to Whakapipi (pronounced Fa-ka-pee-pee) is well-cut switchbacks to an excellent town viewpoint.

rata tress along the lower domain walk
trail cutter and a large rata tree
view of te aroha from the lower domain walk
te aroha twon
start of the summit track
start of the summit track

After the lookout, the trail becomes much more challenging. The higher we went on Te Aroha, the steeper and more remote the climb to the top started to feel. Much of the second part of the track involves climbing over rocks, grabbing roots, and walking steep sections to reach the summit.

dense forest on the tui track
dense forest along the track
spiderweb glowing in the sunlight
spiderweb glowing in the sunlight
steep section of the trail
steep section of the trail
fancy mushroom near the summit
mushroom graffiti

The summit itself provides a beautiful view out over the surrounding farmland and out to the coast of the Coromandel peninsula. While it does end at a massive cell tower, it was still well worth the two-hour drive and a trip to the private hot pools at the bottom of the hill. If you are looking for a quick spa trip after the hike, the #2 bath house private sessions is well worth the NZ$20 per person for a 30-minute session.

te aroha summit view east
te aroha summit view
te aroha summit view east
te aroha summit view east
cell tower on the summit
cell tower on the summit
summit view facing east
summit view facing east

By the end of the day, I was feeling less like a bottle of cortisol and more like a human again. Recovery from this adventure of moving across the world will be slow, but at least there is always a walk in the woods to refresh the mind and body.

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