"Te Araroa is New Zealand's trail - taking in spectacular New Zealand landscapes from Beaches to volcanos to forest to cities" - the slogan on the TA's official homepage (btw a great site, extremely helpful!) basically says it all: If starting in Cape Reinga, New Zealand's northernmost point, you initially follow the 90 Mile Beach before heading into the muddy, dense rain forests of the Northland. Continuing south along the scnenic east coast the trail takes you towards busy Auckland and inland through farming dominated Waikato. Via the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a canoeing journey on Whanganui River and the challenging and rugged Tararua Range the trail leads towards hilly Wellington.
After crossing the Cook Straight by ferry, the trail winds itself through the Marlborough Sounds before entering the extremely remote, mountainous Richmond Range. The trail remains rather isolated, leads over many passes, some of them still snow covered and crosses numerous rivers until reaching Queenstown only to lead away from the beaten tracks again for the last stretch to Bluff, where the trail, after a last torturous road walk eventually ends.
The map on the right shows the rough route, recorded by my spot tracking device. For a more detailed route click on "Hiking New Zealand" on the top of the map and select "Adjustment", where you can adjust the numbers of points shown.