Eleven days of a 3000km trek have already provided keen hiker Constable Gary Hayes with plenty of lows and highs.
Hayes is walking the length of New Zealand to mark the 35th anniversary of the police-run youth charity Blue Light, a charity that works with police to deliver programmes and activities such as waka ama, fishing and life skills for youth.
Joining Hayes on the 440km section through Northland is Bay of Islands College student and under-18 Northland rugby representative Tipene Parata from Moerewa.
Alistair Todd, a former Kawakawa and Whangārei detective now living in Auckland will join the tramp in a few weeks after recovering from an injury that out him out for the first few weeks.
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If all goes to plan, Hayes and Todd will finish in about four-and-a-half months at Bluff.
Only a few days in and Hayes suffered a leg injury, but he reckons "it's nothing a little bit of concrete couldn't fix".
On Saturday Hayes and Parata jumped ahead and meet with members of the Blue Light team from Whangārei at Ocean Beach.
The kids and members of the Police Search and Rescue Team walked the challenging track From Ocean Beach to Peach Cove before returning to the beach to complete obstacle courses.
"The kids were fantastic and that's who I'm doing this for ... it's worth it."
To make the trip on time they will have to cover on average about 25km a day.
Check out the Facebook page "Gaz and Toddy do Te Araroa" for daily updates and more information about their trek.