MIL OSI – Source: Department of Conservation – Release/Statement
Headline: Summer holiday hot spots
Summer is here, and it is looking like it will be a hot one! DOC has some tips to refresh yourself outdoors over the holiday period.
Manawatu Operations Manager Duncan Toogood is encouraging people to make the most of any downtime by exploring some of our great local spots.
“Research shows that connecting to nature provides powerful benefits for your family’s health and wellbeing,” Duncan says.
“Fortunately, getting out in nature is relatively easy in New Zealand. There are opportunities for everyone, from a gentle walk through a scenic reserve to an overnight hike to a backcountry hut.”
A busy father of two, Duncan is looking forward to a chance to connect with his family and with nature during the Christmas break.
His top picks for places to go in the Manawatu include a beach adventure at the Manawatu Estuary, a pleasant stroll in the shade beneath the forest canopy in Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge, a quiet night away in the Pohangina Valley, and a hike to a hut in the Ruahine Forest Park.
A day at the beach is a classic part of the kiwi summer. With the Manawatu Estuary Kiwi Guardian adventure map as a guide, you can turn an ordinary beach trip into a family treasure hunt. Find the guardian post to claim a Kiwi Guardian medal!
Toyota Kiwi Guardians is an activity programme with easily downloadable adventure maps to guide children through explorations of some of New Zealand’s special places.
A stroll in Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge is a great option for a warm summers’ day. Enjoy shade, stunning views and cheerful birdsong through lowland forest, with opportunities for all fitness levels. Children can earn a Kiwi Guardian medal on the Tawa Loop Walk. Finish your day with a picnic by the river at Ferry Reserve or a cold drink at the Bridge Café.
If you’re are looking for a night away that is good for your family’s well-being and budget, the DOC website is an ideal place to start planning your journey.
“You’ll find places like Pohangina Base, a former DOC field centre,” says Duncan.
Now offered as booked accommodation, it is easily accessible with room for two or three families, plus tent sites. It is a great base from which to explore the nearby Totara Reserve and Kahikatea Walk. Cool off in the swimming hole at Piripiri campsite.
If you need the security of a guaranteed bed, you can now book a bunk at Rangiwahia and Sunrise huts. These are two of the most popular huts in the Ruahine Forest Park, both located on the open tops.
“It’s a two to three hour ascent to either hut, making them great overnight options for families and those new to tramping,” Duncan says.
“But this kind of family adventure is not for everyone,” he warns. “Backcountry huts are pretty basic. There’s usually a long drop toilet, water, mattresses and a heating source but you’ll need to carry everything else with you.”
No matter where you go, Duncan’s number one piece of advice is to plan your trip responsibly.
“We want families to enjoy themselves and return home safely,” he says. “Wherever you are heading, you must be prepared for the outdoors and changing weather conditions, even in summer.”
There are five simple steps to help you stay safe :
- plan your trip
- tell someone
- be aware of the weather
- know your limits
- take sufficient supplies
“Hot summer weather has a downside too,” reminds Duncan. “Water levels get low, things get dry and the fire risk soars. Most forest fires start in nearby access ways and areas such as roads, river beds, tracks and campsites. If you see a fire, dial 111”.
“Connecting with nature isn’t just about getting outdoors. It’s about looking after yourself, those around you and the environment,” says Duncan. “Be considerate of those around you, and aim to leave no trace of your activities.”