New Zealand Walks: Wai­heke Walk­ing Fes­ti­val of­fers 50 guided walks

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Denise Whit­field

Ranked con­sis­tently as one of the top five is­lands in the world to visit, Wai­heke Is­land surely must be on every New Zealan­der’s bucket list – a tropical is­land with its own mi­cro cli­mate and all just a short ferry ride from down­town Auck­land.

Wai­heke is fa­mous for award win­ning wine and restau­rants, beau­ti­ful beaches and views that sim­ply take your breath away.

In amongst all this is a small com­mu­nity of 8000 that takes pride in their nat­u­ral land­scape and who want to show­case its beauty to like­minded visi­tors.

With more than 100kms of stun­ning walk­ways span­ning the en­tire is­land, a walk­ing hol­i­day re­ally is the best way to ex­pe­ri­ence the true magic of the Is­land.

The Wai­heke Walk­ing Fes­ti­val was cre­ated in 2010 with this goal in mind. Held over nine days in Novem­ber each year it is the largest free walk­ing fes­ti­val in New Zealand.

This year’s pro­gramme (18-26 Novem­ber 2017), is packed with walks for al­most all ages and abil­i­ties.

There are fifty guided walks cov­er­ing a won­der­ful range of top­ics, some cross­ing pri­vate land, and all in­clude a fan­tas­tic and fun group of lo­cal vol­un­teers. This for­mula cre­ates the per­fect walk­ing hol­i­day recipe for all.

Here are a few of the walks that caught our at­ten­tion.

For those af­ter a chal­lenge, why not con­sider the five day 100km Te Ara Hura ad­ven­ture that cir­cum­nav­i­gates the

Is­land. All shut­tle trans­fers are sorted, there is no need to carry more than a day pack and ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions are avail­able.

Or join Fes­ti­val am­bas­sadors Sir Gra­ham Henry and his lovely wife Raewyn as they guide you around their special patch of the is­land.

Per­haps a fast paced morn­ing walk through One­tangi’s Vine­yard val­ley fol­lowed by an after­noon spent win­ery hop­ping is more to your lik­ing? Or an art themed walk fol­lowed by lunch over­look­ing Oneroa Bay?

The Wai­heke Walk­ing Fes­ti­val gives you the op­por­tu­nity to be one of the first to ex­pe­ri­ence a new walk­way through bush at the Eastern end of the is­land on the shores of Te Matuku Bay. Th­ese walks are bound to be a high­light of the fes­ti­val based on our sneak peek of this fan­tas­tic new track.

An­other amaz­ing first for the fes­ti­val. Join ex­pert guide Louise Marra, nor­mally found on the Camino Trail, as she takes you on a two day in­ner and outer jour­ney of discovery that ex­plores both spec­tac­u­lar coast­line and peace­ful bush ar­eas of the is­land.

Or how about a special one-off fes­ti­val coastal walk with a mouth-wa­ter­ing din­ner at an award win­ning restau­rant? Fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers know that walk­ing is only part of the ad­ven­ture and work with lo­cal busi­nesses to pro­vide fan­tas­tic spe­cials ex­clu­sively for Fes­ti­val walk­ers.

They have a motto on Wai­heke, “Slow down, you’re here” and that is what the Wai­heke Walk­ing Fes­ti­val does best.

Plan your Novem­ber walk­ing ad­ven­ture now, book­ings open 1 Oc­to­ber. Or bet­ter yet, be­come a Friend of the Fes­ti­val, you will get early bird book­ing priv­i­leges whilst pro­vid­ing some es­sen­tial sup­port for this free event.

For all the de­tails visit www.wai­heke­walk­ingfes­ti­val.org.

The Wai­heke Walk­ing Fes­ti­val is proud to have Ray White Wai­heke as pre­sent­ing part­ner for the 2017 Fes­ti­val and would also like to thank the Wai­heke Lo­cal Board and ma­jor spon­sors Stay Wai­heke, Fullers and Mac­pac for their sup­port. Dates: 18 – 26 Novem­ber 2017 www.wai­heke­walk­ingfes­ti­val.org.

Rainer Lehr. Photo by

Be­low left: The group on an up­hill sec­tion on the Man O War Magic Walk.

Photo Tim Hus­ton

Above: On the Man O War Magic Walk they meet the lo­cals.

Photo by Anne Prof­fit.

Be­low right: Climb­ing up a sand path on the Ox­fam Trail­walker: Te Ara Hura 100km 4 day walk.

Photo Anne Prof­fit

Above: Walk­ing down a road with a beau­ti­ful view of boats moored.

Photo by Reiner Lehr

Mid­dle: A large group on the Man O War Magic Walk.

Be­low: Walk­ing around Omaru Bay on the Fit Wai­heke: Omaru Bay Daz­zler Walk.

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