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Change of Pace

Posted in Exploring the Bay

Black Stick Rose Keddell kicks off her first health and fitness column by sharing some of her favourite walking spots where you can clear your head and enjoy our gorgeous area.

The weekend means something different to everyone. I like to make the most of the sunlight hours by spending time in our beautiful backyard. It’s no secret that I’m a very active individual, however being active doesn’t necessarily mean that every single activity I do needs to get my heart rate right up and work my sweat glands over time. Sometimes a simple walk around the Mount, with a coffee upon completion, is just as beneficial.

It’s so important to find balance in our lives, whether this is juggling work and family, or high-intensity exercise versus a relaxed bush walk. So I’ve put together a collection of my favourite walks, suitable for every level, to get us up and moving in the weekend and to provide us with a bit of distance from our everyday environments.

First up is the Tuahu Kauri Track between Omokoroa and Katikati. I initially came here for a run with Dad (yes, go Dad) and have been back many times, each time discovering different tracks with stunning lookouts over the Bay. There is a collection of massive kauri trees within the first 20 minutes of walking, so the little ones can enjoy them, no sweat. For the weekend warriors, the track continues onwards as you make your way up to an opening that overlooks the Kaimai ranges. This is more demanding but worth every step, and only requires a few more muesli bars in the packed lunch to get you through.

If you’re not so interested in a Sunday drive and prefer something a little closer to home, Summer Hill is situated amongst the Papamoa Hills. I absolutely love the fact this is a private farm that has been opened up for the public to experience and enjoy. The farm is full of mountain bike trails and walking tracks, and is a place where you can really spend as little or as long as you like, making it a versatile destination. As a bonus, you may also be sharing the farmland with a few animals, which adds an extra element to the outing for kids.

For more details on what Summer Hill has to offer, visit: summerhilltrails.co.nz.

I’m partial to a beach stroll and we’re blessed that we have no shortage of sand and ocean in this area. For a beachside walk that’s a little further afield, I recommend you drive the 30 minutes from Tauranga to Maketu, then make your way to the end of Town Point Road until you reach Newdicks Beach. You’ll then drive down a private road that requires a $5 entry fee for cars and $8 for motorhomes. This place is raw and rugged, and the beautiful stretch of beach is tucked away from any hustle and bustle. It demands a long walk and a picnic! I’ve never been let down by some roast chicken and coleslaw piled inside a ciabatta bun.

I really urge you to embark on some weekend adventures this year. I understand that ‘busy’ is firmly fixed in our vocabulary, however, I wonder whether people would make these outings a priority if they understood just how much we gain from branching out of our everyday environments and exploring our backyard a little more.

(Content originally created for Our Place magazine and shared with love by Tourism Bay of Plenty).

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Read more about other short walks in the Bay of Plenty