Walking in the forests of South Waikato
South Waikato district co-ordinator The ECHO Walking Festival is now in its 12th year, the ECHO Walking Festival is organised by town promoters and Sport Waikato District Coordinators in the participating towns and districts.
This could be your year to explore what the great outdoors in South Waikato has to offer, so check out the walks in the South Waikato.
As I reach the crest of the ridge after a slow steady climb through native bush and turn to look out across at the vista of the South Patetere brush land and beyond, I feel a sense of achievement.
I wonder to myself why I don’t do this more often, because it is so satisfying. Being in the bush, breathing in fresh clean air and learning about the history, the wars and the land layout are so rewarding.
It’s simple really, to make a sandwich, fill a water bottle, pack some essentials into a small backpack, don my tramping shoes, pick up a friend and head out for the day. But I find that each year when the festival comes around again, I have not kept my promise to myself to get out and experience more of our superb surroundings.
The festival presents an opportunity for all to explore new tracks within a group, led by a guide who knows the area and who has a good deal of knowledge of it’s history or relevance.
I always meet interesting new people on these walks and hear about other areas and walks available, or tips on good boots and gear. Friendships are formed and loners often find a walking group to join for regular excursions.
Whatever your fitness level or your penchant, you can find walks in the programme to suit everyone. From the grade one easy short walks suitable for families and the less hardy, to a good hard six-hour tramp up to the top of the Kaimai Ranges to see a magnificent view and waterfall, ECHO walks have it all.
There are even a few walks of interest and intrigue designed to educate and delight, such as the Paradise in Pakaraka (Okoroire) or experience the Mangarewa Meander ( Suspension Bridge). Some of the walks take you into places normally out of bounds to the public, such as the "Exploring Kinleith Forest"
The festival began 11 years ago with the intention of encouraging people to improve their fitness, while getting the family involved in discovering new places to visit in this spectacular and easily accessible part of the country.
It is often those who live closest that don’t take the time to discover their own backyard, but we are just as keen to show it off to the visitors.
The objectives of the ECHO Walking Festival is;
To enable local residents to take part in walks in their local parks and reserves.
To highlight the benefits of regular exercise.
To increase awareness and use of local parks and reserves. To promote local tourism. Check out your local walks happening during the festival happening right here in the South Waikato, or if you want to be a bit more adventurous check out other walks.
For all walks check out echowalkfest. org. nz/ walks/ and register while you are there.
For more information or questions contact Lisa at Sport Waikato on 07 886 9002. Brochures on Echo Walking Festival are also available in all three I sites situated in Tirau, Putaruru and Tokoroa. Happy walking South Waikato.