About Us

At the age of 19 after finishing High School in Brunswick, Germany I didn't want to have a normal working holiday for a year in New Zealand, so I decided to do something different in my gap year.  A long time before I flew to the other side of the world I read an article in an outdoor magazine about a new long-distance trail in New Zealand.  Later when I knew that I would come to NZ but not what to do- it gave me the biggest idea I ever had in my life so far. I wanted to walk the length of Aotearoa. I always loved walking and the outdoors but I had never been hiking for a long time in the mountains.  I'd done a couple of longer hikes in central Europe and the US but nothing ever involved great ups and downs.
I trained quite a bit before I set off but with hindsight it wasn't enough, especially the hill walking.  I walked 20 k's a day (most days) for 6 months but never in the mountains.

On the 20th of November I set off at
Cape Reinga alone. Why did I walk alone? It's not easy to find someone to walk with, I mean not many people walk TA and it's a big thing to decide to walk someone for 5 months. But I was dumb and really wanted to walk the length of NZ so I set off alone even though I knew it wasn't the best idea.

Luckily I met Philippa on day two, that was more than luck I mean how likely is it to meet another solo tramper that early on the TA with whom you get along swimmingly. We never said something like" Let's walk together" we just did it. And it was so easy, we always had something to say and laugh about. Philippa was a great help and I know it wasn't easy for her to walk with a 19-year old girl who almost dies every time she has to walk up a freaking hill and who is almost always totally exhausted and just wants to eat and sleep.

Even though there was a lot of pain and frustration I totally enjoyed Te Araroa and Philppa's company. I fell in love with that beautiful country and its people.

There is not a day since 2011 when I didn't think about
New Zealand and how beautiful it is. I'm very thankful for the Te Araroa Trust, all "Trail Angels", all TA hikers of all seasons and especially Philippa.

My life was just ticking along with one day melting into the next but under the surface my wonder-lust was bubbling up.  Having spent many years travelling the globe in my teens and throughout my twenties I just knew that I had to find an adventure.

I had always been a keen hill walker and a chance encounter with Dutch tourist while doing the Coast to Coast in the UK planted the seed of doing a thru-hike.  I would be turning 40 in a few months time and if I didn’t do it now I feared it would be dream I took to my grave.  I started to research the World’s long distance trails and found the TA.  Almost 20 years earlier I had been to New Zealand and had always wanted to return but never had. 

The next few months were spent putting the wheels in motion sorting out my affairs in the UK, researching gear, reading blogs etc.  Finally I Jumped on the plane and flew to the other side of the world.  I was hoping to walk the length of New Zealand but only planning the first 10 days to Keri Keri.  I had a backpack full of concerns - navigation, river crossings, dodgy knee, motivation… So I thought it best just to think of the trails as lots of  shorter walks joined together. 

Meeting Madeleine changed, for the better, my whole experience of walking the trail.  We shared decision making (most of the time), laughed a lot, never felt lonely and spurred each other on.  We certainly did have our moments of tension.  Regretfully, there were times when I was harsher to her than I should have been and a few occasions (not that many) when I blew my top.  To Madeleine’s credit, never once did she say a cross word to me, she suffered my temper tantrums and didn’t hold them against me. 

Walking the Te Araroa was the most consuming and satisfying experience of my life.  It was simply, amazing.