Charlotte’s epic trek across New Zealand to raise money for Winston’s Wish

Charlotte has taken on the adventure of a lifetime and is currently trekking Te Araroa, New Zealand, in aid of Winston’s Wish, completely self-sufficiently. She shared more with us about her decision to take on the challenge and what it means to her, as well as some beautiful photos of some of the incredible areas and views she’s experienced along the way.

Tell us all about your challenge

I’m walking Te Araroa over five to six months. Te Araroa is Māori for “The Long Pathway” and is a 3,000km “thru hike” in New Zealand. The thru hike, which is a long-distance end-to-end trail, starts at Cape Reigna at the northern most point on North Island and ends at Bluff in the South Island. I’m completely self-sufficient while walking, so I’m carrying everything I need: water, food, my tent and other important supplies. I’ve just finished North Island and I’m now on my way to start the walk on South Island.

Why did you decide to fundraise for Winston’s Wish?

One of the many reasons I wanted to do a thru hike was to take some time to process the grief I’m still holding on to. My mum died when I was 11 and I wish I’d had more support navigating grief and loss at the time.

The work Winston’s Wish does to support young people is so important. Grief and loss is a sad, but inevitable and natural part of the human existence, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Therefore, having additional support as a young person during a very difficult time, whatever the circumstances, is invaluable.

How has fundraising been going?

I’ve been spreading the word about my fundraiser via word of mouth and social media, posting regular updates on Instagram and including links to my JustGiving page – social media is such a powerful and effective form of communication!

What have been your favourite moments of the challenge so far?

There are so many to choose from! So far I’ve covered a lot of terrain and faced various challenges: Walking 90 Mile Beach, hiking the Tararuas, mountain biking the timber trail, canoeing the Whanganui river, hiking the Round the Mountain Track and walking through all the beautiful forests.

I’ve also enjoyed pushing myself outside of my comfort zone regularly and rediscovering how determined and resilient I am!

It’s great being part of the Te Araroa community, everyone I’ve met has been so supportive and kind. It feels like we’re all rooting for each other to finish. I’m also proud of reaching the end of North Island.

What have been the most challenging aspects?

Keeping the base weight of my pack as low as possible. Because I’m walking every day, maintaining a base weight of 10kg and under is key. I’ve found it very difficult!

I’ve also experienced both tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. Being in pain daily is both frustrating and a real mental drain on top of the physical exertion, which have been additional challenges I’ve had to work with and overcome. Reducing my base weight further, reducing milage I’m trying to cover each day and being disciplined with stretching daily are some of the steps I’ve taken to manage my injuries.

Also, the weather hasn’t been great, apparently New Zealand experienced the wettest November in years. I think I’ve walked in wet shoes and socks more often than dry ones!

What advice would you give to others thinking about taking on such an incredible adventure?

If you have any old sports injuries definitely get them looked at before setting off. I wasn’t so well prepared!

Being smart about your kit list is key; the base weight of your pack is everything, the lighter the better, so investing in the kit is really worthwhile.

I’d also say that you should prepare to lean into the lows as well as enjoying the highs, it’s all part of the experience and every moment counts!

Feeling inspired?

Huge thanks to Charlotte for sharing the exciting details of her journey so far. We hope to hear more from her once she’s completed the thru hike and would like to wish her all the very best for the rest of the trip. If you wish to, you can donate to Charlotte’s JustGiving page.

If you’ve been inspired to take on an epic fundraising challenge yourself, visit our Fundraising page to find out more and contact our team on to let us know your plans.

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