Walking the island made accessible and affordable

The Bay of Islands Walking Weekend has a huge variety of walks. We walk many of the islands and remote spots on the peninsula that are hard to access as individuals – the walking weekend makes it affordable and accessible. These walks are spectacular with breath taking scenery, amazing flora and fauna.
This is a must do all-time favourite for walkers on the weekend – the Moturua and Motuarohia Island Walk. Travel aboard the R Tucker Thompson, which is a total experience in itself – this amazing olde tall ship with its fantastic crew is a real treat and a perfect way to travel to your destination in the Bay of Islands.
Sail past the spot where Captain Cook anchored in 1769 just before we land barefooted on Motuarohia Island.  Walk and talk – hearing some history of Cook, the firing of a canon and the theft of kumara from the locals. Learn of the ghastly murder of the whole family of Robertons who farmed there.
Re-join the ship for the short voyage to Moturua Island.  More murders happened here…more stories are told.  Observe the feathered wild life, saddlebacks, tui, fantails, North Island robin, and the very endangered dotterel who insist on nesting near the  high tide mark which further endangers its existence.
The views, lagoons, beaches and bush leave you breathless on every step of the journey. The walking is fabulous and you journey to some beautiful spots.   This day trip is truly entertaining with its stories and majestic in its beauty.  Totally unique and a real must do in the Bay of Islands.
Other walks by boat are Urupukapuka Island Walk, Project Island Song Walk, and walks on the Cape Brett Peninsula.
The Project Island Song Walk is a new walk this year where you can spend all day on Urupukapuka Island focusing predominantly on encounters with newly released birds, while walking the entire network of tracks.
Walk among regenerating native bush and trees, take in stunning sea views. Listen to the birdsong and spot reintroduced tieke (saddleback), toutouwai (North Island robin), pōpokatea (whitehead) pāteke (brown teal) and many other species.
There is 21km of trail on the island and you will be walking and exploring 10 – 12km over the day.
This gives you an amazing experience on the island as you get to enjoy the islands hidden treasures, enjoy some kai, beautiful beaches and bird watching stations.
So what is Project Island Song? – Project Island Song is a partnership between community conservation group the Guardians of the Bay of Islands, local Rawhiti hapu (Ngati Kuta and Patukeha) and the Department of Conservation.
Project Island Song’s vision is the ecological restoration of the pest-free islands of Ipipiri in the eastern Bay of Islands to create an archipelago of sanctuaries that celebrates the native subtropical habitat, lush with vegetation and alive with birdsong.
They have just released Kakariki back into the islands which is just incredible.  Enjoy this magic walk with guides who are experts in this habitat.
Food also seems to be at the centre of some of our walks.  From simple White Bait Fritters cooked for you at the end of the Okiato to Orongo Bay walk, to pizzas and platters at Omata Estate or brunch at Charlottes Kitchen.  All of these delights are deserved after several hours walk.
The walking weekend HQ is in the Russell Bowling Club, the Saturday night there is a fun prize giving – though it’s not a competition we have some great prizes to give away and some funny stories to share after two days walking. This is a jovial affair with a shared meal and another of the culinary and social highlights of the weekend.
There are many walks to choose from – from an hour to all day. From easy to challenging, you can even walk one way and kayak back.
For information on all walks visit www.boiwalkingweekend.co.nz, or call 021 122 9307.

Newly formed Waiheke Island Walking Trust

The previous organisers of the Waiheke Walking Festival are delighted to announce that the 2017 Waiheke Walking Festival will be delivered by the newly formed Waiheke Walking Trust (WWT), a charitable trust developed for the primary purpose of ensuring the Waiheke Walking Festival continues to be a successful event with strong governance and financial security.

Having helped to develop and manage the festival over the last four years, Denise Whitfield will remain active as the festival manager while also joining the WWT as a Trustee. Other Trustees include Waiheke residents John & Jo Gow, who are well known as founding benefactors of Sculpture on the Gulf, owners of Connells Bay Sculpture Park and who were actively involved in transforming Rotoroa Island; and Tessa Shaw and Tim Huston, keen walkers who have lived on the island for five years, and bring branding, marketing and sponsorship skills to the Trust. Gary Wilton, champion of the Waiheke Walking Festival and walking trails including Te Ara Hura, will be working with the Trust in an advisory role. The Trust is also thrilled to announce that Sir Graham and Raewyn, Lady Henry have generously become ambassadors for the Trust.

With the stronger governance and added financial stability provided by the Trust, they have already been able to make some exciting changes including a new patrons programme for the Trust and a bigger and better Friends of the Waiheke Walking Festival programme. To learn more and find out how one can become involved in the Trust’s Patrons Programme, please contact Denise directly at denise@waihekewalkingfestival.org.

Despite these changes, the goals of the Festival remain the same. They will continue to promote Waiheke Island as a walking destination and encourage both locals and visitors to be active as they enjoy the incredible network of tracks weaved throughout Waiheke.

Most importantly, they will continue to share the stories of the people and the land that make Waiheke the beautiful island that they call home, and remind us why we must nurture our precious environment.

2018 Manawatu Walking Festival

The Manawatu Walking Festival  coming in its 4th year, is offering walkers and trampers from throughout New Zealand, lots of  interesting and inspiring walks from 9-11 March 2018.

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Here are just some of the walks tramps that are expected to be in the 2018 festival:

The walks will range from a Sunset Beach Walk from Foxton to Himatangi on Friday, the most popular walk last year, to the Pohangina Estate Vineyard and farm walk on Sunday.  This vineyard walk has been the  second most popular walk and includes wine tasting, a gourmet picnic lunch, and a walk around the Pohangina Wetlands, and in 2018 will end up at the historic County Faye Cafe.

There will be  Manawatu Gorge Tawa Walk, a family walk is guided by Forest & Bird and also  the full Manawatu Gorge walk on the new part.

Manawatu Striders are guiding a walk around the Summerhill area with magnificent views of the Manawatu River ending at the Victoria Cafe.  This can be a good starter walk before doing a longer walk on Sunday.

Another new walk led by Gavin Scott of the Kitchener Park Trust,  is the Kowhai Park to Kitchener Park in Feilding, where there is a 700 year old kahikatea tree.  Walkers go on by bus to Mt Lees Reserve with a walk through the reserve, ending with a picnic lunch in the summer house.

Bronwyn Zimmerman is guiding a Public Sculpture Walk around the city of Palmerston North.

Bookings are essential.  Book after October 1 2017  to avoid disappointment at www.mwf.org.nz

There’s lots to do in the Manawatu

The ten top attractions you could visit while in the Manawatu  area are:

  1. Coach House Museum, 2. Feilding on a Friday, 3. The Herb Farm, 4. Managaweka Adventure Company, 5. Mokai Gravity Canyon, 6. NZ Rugby Museum, 7. Owlcatraz, 8. River Valley, 9. Te Manawa Museum, 10. Tui HQ.

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