KZN hiker’s trail across New Zealand cut short by coronavirus
Claire Brear, of Port Shepstone, said she had been hiking the Te Araroa trail with fellow hikers when they had to abandon the walk from Cape Reinga, the northern point of North Island, to Bluff in the South Island. She had 500km of the 3 000 km trail to go.
“The reality is that all trails are officially closed, and nobody is allowed to continue hiking the Te Araroa, as the Department of Conservation closed all the huts.
“No hiking beyond your backyard is allowed at the moment. So, although I would have loved to continue the trail, it was neither legal nor wise, given the circumstances.
“I unfortunately had to quit my journey just two weeks short of reaching Bluff - my final destination.”
She arrived in November.
New Zealand has 1 350 confirmed cases and five deaths from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Brear said when the lockdown was announced, she went to Christchurch and flew to her family in Hamilton. Depending on what happens after the lockdown, Brear said she would consider whether to continue her hike or not, as there would be additional challenges to face such as the change of season into winter.
She was raising funds for bursaries for the Cornerstone Learning Centre, a private school in Port Shepstone for children with autism.
“It was not easy going,” she said describing the hike.
Brear said the trail was largely unformed and made for difficult walking. She also had to navigate boulder fields, walk through rivers and hike in torrential rain.
As tough as it was, there were also highlights, she said, such as “the 90 mile (145km) beach”, a four-day stretch at the start that is infamous for the blisters it induces; and making it across the North Island to Wellington to beautiful weather and a celebration of beer and pizza with fellow hikers.