Friday, April 8, 2011

G... is for (the) great outdoors

G... is for (the) great outdoors
The sun is finally shining here on Vancouver Island. It's been a bit wet and cold of late, and it certainly hasn't helped when friends in London have reported temperatures of 21 degrees C, and evening meals outside in quaint old pub gardens. 

As I write this April entry, the sunshine is pouring into the windows around me and as I sit at the computer today, trying to meet deadlines (eek!), the sun will follow me around. Summer is definitely on its way.

It's an unusual time of the year to be looking forward to summer. As a child growing up in New Zealand, summers were at Christmas, a time to go to the beach, camping, hiking and racing around outdoors.

So today I'm going to do a bit of shameless tourism promotion for New Zealand, and its great outdoors. If you're heading downunder, pack your hiking boots, because these Great Walks are a must!
1. The Routeburn
A beautiful, three-day hike through Mount Aspiring National Park in the lower South Island. 
My book of choice while walking this track: "The Lord of the Rings" - very appropriate!
2. Heaphy Track
Spending five days in the bush isn't a hardship when you're walking through beautiful NZ bush and along the edge of the wild west coast. Just take your raincoat. The west coast of NZ is known for its wet weather!
3. Nelson Lakes
Over rivers, up mountains, through NZ bush - we encountered snow, sunshine and mosquitoes while walking the Nelson Lakes trail. What more do you need?
My book of choice while walking this track: The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho
4. Lake Waikaremoana
My first introduction to hiking (or tramping as we call it in New Zealand) was around Lake Waikaremoana, in the central North Island. It takes just three to four days to cover the 46kms in the Te Urewera National Park, and allows you refreshing dips in the lake to cool off. This Kiwi experience is a must!
5. Tongariro National Park
This is still on my list of walks to do. I haven't yet made it on one of New Zealand's most famous of walks, the Tongariro Crossing, and after a start on the round the mountain trail at Christmas one year (which came to an abrupt end - lets just say crutches were needed!), it still needs to be ticked off the list. But, I have started....
My book of choice while walking this track: Road to Paradise, by Paullina Simons - aptly named perhaps?


  1. I fell in love with the landscape of New Zealand when I saw Lord of the Rings! Some day I hope to visit for real. :)

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

  2. It's strange for me to think Christmas-time downunder has summer weather. Here in Texas, it's just the opposite. What's it like seeing so much holiday propaganda depicted with snow?

  3. Hey Ann,

    On behalf of New Zealand I thank you for the promotion!

    I have to say that I haven't done any of these great walks, it's terrible. I shall make it a resolution to do at least a couple before the years end.

    @Kris, it's a very weird mis-mash of cultures, with some Christmas cards with pictures of beaches and bathing suits, but on the other hand we made paper snowflakes to decorate our office last Christmas. A bit like easter and it's symbolism of renewal and new life, just when it's starting to feel bleak for us.