Family stopover during walk adventure

The Meththa family on the Te Araroa Trail had a stopover stay in Methven.

“Methven is a nice cute gem hidden away from all the hustle and the bustle,” trekker Asanka Meththa says.

Asanka, his wife Mariya, and three young children are travelling New Zealand via the Te Araroa Trail and have just left Mid Canterbury after a five day stopover in Methven.

They stayed at the camping ground.

“I just wish we had come in a car so we could drive around more,” he said.

“We are thinking to get a van that sleeps four to five and travel around New Zealand and complete more trails that we couldn’t do and visit all the places we loved, especially Methven.”

The idea to tackle the national walk was Asanka’s but Mariya was keen for the whole family to do it, despite their youngest child, Aaron, being just five months old. The other children are Alexander, 10, and Victoria, 7.

The family, who are from Kerikeri, started the trail doing the Cape Reinga to Paihia leg “to see if the kids could do it”.

Then after it went well, they hopped on a plane to Invercargill to start the trail north bound.

It had been a challenging trail but was “a good experience to walk with the family together,” Asanka said.

“Some parts have been challenging but it’s really working. It already feels like such a big achievement and it’s great family time!”

The family have already walked close to 900km of Te Araroa Trail, which is 3000km long.


Asanka, originally a mechanical design engineer from Canada, was working as a civil design engineer in the far north.

“My workplace agreed to give me unpaid time off, my wife is on maternity leave and with the pandemic the kids are not too keen to go to school with masks on, so (we thought) this would be the best time to do it.

“We had to buy all the gear to fit for the entire family; the most costly operation of our trip so far,” he said.

Warung Bali in Methven was a popular dining choice.

The family are planning on taking five to six months to complete the trail all at once. But it is weather dependent.

“If the winter catches up to us before we head north, we will have to pause and continue some other time. Hopefully we can keep going.”

Asanka said the biggest challenges had been river crossing for the children, who were shorter.

“I have to cross multiple times with each kid and help them to get across. Also our strides are much longer than them, so at the end of each day our Fitbits would have different distances and usually it’s our daughter has the highest mileage by 30%- 40% more than us.”

There had been many great experiences along the way including enjoying hospitality of other people along the route.

The family has a four person tent but if there is room they bunk down in the trail huts.

They have also had “kind people invited us to stay at their place for free,” Asanka said.

The Rosses Saddle, Stag Saddle, Longwood Forest, Te Anau and meeting the “lovely Braaksma family” cycling from Bluff to Cape Reinga, taking a side trip to Milford Sound and all the trail angels and kind people who had helped us in many different ways/occasions were all highlights, he said.

Meeting new people along the route has been a highlight for the family.

They were even getting recognised after sharing their travels on Instagram. Their account is TFE.2GDR4EVR.

The family stayed in Methven as it was the recommended option for travelling the trail, Asanka said.

“The trail intercepts the Rakaia River, and it is categorized as a hazardous trip crossing to other side via foot. So the recommended option is to get a ride to go around, which is coming into Methven, resupply with food and then get a ride to the other side of the river and continue on.”

“We had heard so many great things about Methven and the Methven campground and Darren the owner, so we decided to take a few days off and enjoy this beautiful town and explore the local restaurants and pubs.”

Alexander and Victoria on the trail.

The Warung Bali had proved a popular favourite.

“We encourage families with young kids to get outdoors, this is the best time to get out, especially with the pandemic and all,” Asanka said.

“The nature has such a powerful force to ground you, heel you and reset you for back to what you were before the materialism swallowed you.”

The family are already planning their next adventure and have their sights on the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage, in Spain.