I’ve recently got back from a great week, spent exploring New Plymouth in Taranaki, New Zealand. I have been to New Plymouth a couple of times for WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) which is an incredible festival, but I hadn’t actually done any real exploration of the area. I have my partner’s family here from Wales at the moment, and whenever they come over we like to rent a bach (that’s NZ for holiday house) and explore a region they (or we) haven’t been to, or don’t really know. I suggested Taranaki which I knew they hadn’t been to, and which has- mountain biking, an amazing coastal cycle/walkway, a gigantic mountain (Mt Taranaki), good surf, the wonderful Pukekura park (currently hosting the festival of lights and outdoor movies!), a compact creative city hub full of great cafes and independent stores. Something for everyone you could say!
A highlight of my trip was discovering and visiting Pukeiti, a rhododendron garden set among New Zealand native trees and plants at the base of Mt Taranaki. This garden was set up by an incredible visionary person named Douglas Cook who famously established Eastwoodhill Arboretum in Gisborne. Douglas set up not one, but two incredible and huge public gardens! I was familiar with the Gisborne arboretum and story but I had no idea he set up another one!!! Pukeiti covers 360 ha of regenerating native forest and includes 21 km of walkways, including 26 ha of planted exotic garden. Apparently, and I love this part he was searching and searching for the perfect place to grow rhododendron and found it here at the foothills of Mt Taranaki. P.s the best time to see rhododendrons is not summer!😂
At the entrance to the park you will find a wonderful cafe and beautifully done information panels. We also discovered (much to our glee!) that they do a “kids tree-house trail” ! You even get an Activity bag containing 4 activities and a map. We had such a fun time exploring the gardens, doing our activities and finding tree-houses. I can’t recommend visiting Pukeiti and the Taranaki region enough! Did I mention it’s all FREE!
NB: We tried to take the stroller along the tree-house route but it was a bit tricky in places. I feel there’s still so much to explore here. We will definitely be back!
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Starting off the new year with an Epic Adventure – Whakamarama Rd on the Eastern side of the range to Wairere falls in the West!!! Tonnes of laughs 😂 were had and plenty of questions explored, always great to have a crew to share wicked experiences 🌄 with.
Check out our video below; we were super lucky to have 3 rifleman birds, the cutest, most tiniest New Zealand native birds 🐦, come and have a korero (chat) right next to us, they are too tiny to see, but if you listen carefully in the video you might catch their super sweet tweeting:
In total this crossing took us 7 hours (1/2 an hour more than the DOC signs), we took 2 snack breaks and had plenty of stops to check out the awesome flora and fauna of our beautiful country. The track was really well-marked with orange triangles and signs came by at every junction. Wairere Falls track was super busy so be patient and prepared to share the track if visiting there- all the people were hard for us to acclimatize to especially after having the first 5 hours in the bush to ourselves ☮️.
🌳If you’re in the Waikato or Bay of Plenty area and you’re up for missions with us 😍👊and other mum’s maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group check it out here: Wild Mums Go Tramping Tauranga
Nga mihi, Anita
Here’s how we spent the last day of 2018. Just a short 35 minute bush walk and you can be swimming in this pristine river and doing bombs off the rocks! A great adventure for the whole family.
Click here for the forest family nutshell and track information.
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On boxing day I asked my family what they would like to do, all 5 unanimously agreed they wanted to go to the beach. This is extremely common in my house hold as I live with surfers, body boarders & general beach bums! I however, felt like getting away from the crowds and into the bush (forest) and so with enough adults going to the beach to supervise my kids, I text my friend and 30 minutes later we were heading out into the hills for a bush walk, this time to Aongatete to do the long loop track with an estimated time of ~3 hours return.
The sun was out, but due to large amount of rain we’ve had lately it meant the bush track was a bit soggy in places, but the air temperature was soothingly cool. It was such a fun walk, we yakked the whole way (as you do with good friends) we fell over in the mud (both have scrapes and bruises), took lots of photos, waded through small rivers, had a picnic, walked up one river to find a waterfall, then bush bashed our way back up the hillside and back to the track (we are both experienced navigators). It was such a great day walk/adventure and we both got to walk a completely new track.
We would love to know what you did for Boxing Day! Comment below and let us know.
🌳Click here for the Forest Family NZ nutshell, with more information about this track.
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For me the joy of the silly season really is getting together with friends and family – eating, playing games, eating, toasting with glass of bubbles 🥂 and lets face it – eating some more 🍗, but these holidays can often be so busy and full that they go by in the blink of an eye and by the end you feel as if you need a break from your holiday …. go figure 🤷♀️.
After all the “festivities” taking the opportunity to get in a bush walk while all the whanau (family) is together is not only a great way to take stock, be grateful and breathe a little but is also a good way to burn off all those extra calories 🎂
I managed to grab half a day away from the madness (“children”) to get out with a friend that was up from Christchurch; We walked the Karangahake Summit Track in the Karangahake Gorge (SH2). It was a good 2 hour uphill battle and a stunning 360 degree view as reward, not a bad spot to enjoy some left overs for lunch …… and a candy cane for Christmas cheer.
Nga mihi, Anita 🥜
Thinking of setting New Years Resolutions? Most people I meet these days can’t be bothered.
But for those of us who get irritated with ourselves, and just can’t wait for that fresh start on January 1st – we set intentions with HIGH hopes.
If you’re like me, we start out with great intentions, big dreams, lots of enthusiasm and energy…..but then it’s hard to keep that energy up, and eventually things kind of fizzle out, we stop caring and life just carries on as normal, and by the time we get to April, we’re saying things to each other like; “I can’t believe it’s Easter already! Where’s this year going? Wow this year is flying by!”
Or is that just me?
This year my husband and I set two New Years Resolutions, which was weird, we usually don’t bother with them – because of what I already told you about how I’m not that good at keeping them! The past has shown me, it’s just not worth it.
Anyway, our resolutions were simple this year; 1. Quit coffee for a year. 2. Quit alcohol for a year.
Oh, and no decaf either ….. I know.
According to a few comments I got, this year I was going to be “no fun at all”. It’s been a super interesting experiment – on so many levels. People ask me all the time “Why would you do that?” And I guess the main reason is; because we wanted to, we wanted to see what it would be like to not have those 2 things in our life.
On a side note – I often have people tell me “I quit alcohol and / or coffee, I felt amazing, I lost weight, saved money, had so much more energy, I slept better, I exercised more……but then I just started the habit again”, I’m always fascinated by humans. Why do we do stuff that makes us feel worse?
The reason we decided to do both coffee and alcohol was because I said alcohol would be hard to quit – but coffee would be easy, and my husband said alcohol would be easy – but coffee would be much harder, so we decided to quit both – it seemed fair.
So this year I’ve gone from a woman who LOVES wine, looks forward to a glass of bubbles with her girlfriends, and can’t wait till Friday’s come / or it’s hot / or I’m cooking / or a friend pops in / or book club – so I can open a bottle and hang out – to a woman who doesn’t drink a drop. I wasn’t a big drinker (2 glasses in a sitting was my max), and I’m not into clubbing. But, I would never say no to a glass of wine or gin, I felt like it was a special treat. I looked forward to it the way my kids look forward to ice cream.
When I first stopped drinking – I hated it. I wished I had a glass in my hand when everyone else did, and I definitely felt like I was missing out. I missed the feeling of being a fancy adult, I missed the taste, I missed the feeling of sharing a treat with my husband or friends, I missed the feeling of being part of the group that wine created, and I missed the relaxing feeling that I thought wine gave me. But as time went on, I noticed how much better I felt not drinking, emotionally and physically. The way I thought about not drinking changed, from; “I’m missing out if I don’t have a drink”, to; “I prefer not drinking”.
We didn’t mean to set these resolutions for ourselves, one day during the holidays, we just started talking about what it would be like to not have coffee and alcohol in our lives, and got curious about what that experience would mean for us.
We did it on a bit of a whim really.
But I think it stuck for a few reasons……
Should we set more reso’s in the future?
This year has totally shown us what’s possible, it’s given me a feeling of inner strength and to be honest I feel so much better not drinking, even when everyone else is – something I never would have imagined to be true, it got me wondering, what else might I be opened up to if I dramatically changed something about the way I live. Who might I become?
Now I know some of you women out there might be thinking oh I stopped both those things for 9 months while I was pregnant – or maybe even longer if you did it throughout your breastfeeding days…..?
And let me say a little something about that.
When I quit coffee and alcohol during pregnancy – I resented it. I longed for those things all the time. I was pissed off when I didn’t get to enjoy a glass of champagne on New Years. I couldn’t wait to be back on my fix. I was on a count down. I kept telling myself “not long now”
And I think that mindset of “I’m missing out” made me grouchy and frustrated. I didn’t see myself as a making a choice. I saw that my husbands life hadn’t changed, and already I was being asked to sacrifice things I loved. I hated it.
The reason this year worked so well, was because I entered the year with the perspective of curiosity….. “I wonder what a year without alcohol and coffee would feel like, I wonder how my mental health will be affected, I wonder what our bank balance will look like, I wonder how I’ll act without those things in my life, I wonder how it will affect my menstrual cycle, hormonal health and over all health….”
It was an experiment – not something I was forcing myself to do.
I think when we try to force ourselves into things – even if it’s for our own good – there can be a feeling of resistance, or irritation, which can lead us to want to rebel or act out. Like a teenager who’s told “you can’t go” and ends up stomping her foot, and climbing out her window!
This experiment has totally changed my perspective of New Years reso’s and the way I’d make them in the future……
Rather than saying something like,
This year I……
I’d change it to something more like,
I wonder what it would be like …….
Honestly,I’d highly recommend doing and experiment like this to other people because if you do nothing new, if you don’t change the way you think, or act, you’re pretty much going to be reliving the years you’ve already lived.
Sure you might get a new car, or go somewhere different on holiday. You might get a new job, or move house. But the you, that shows up to those experiences will be the same you you were this year.
There’s nothing wrong with that you. My guess is you’re pretty awesome as it is, but doing something that’s different in your day to day life, changing your habits, your thoughts, your feelings, your actions and the perception you have of yourself, how you see yourself and interact with the world – that’ll change you, grow you, open you up to new opportunities, ideas, experiences, and relationships.
You’ll be richer for it.
You’ll thank yourself for it.
And if nothing else you’ll have some good stories to tell about the year you ……….
So what would challenge you? What experiment would you like to run in 2019? What would you like to create? What would you really like to change?
This year I’ve decided to facilitate a Facebook page for anyone who wants to run an experiment in their life, committing to doing or not doing something, because it’s so much easier when we have a partner in crime, and feel accountable to something or someone else.
hmmmmmm what will this year be about?
🌺This year Kate will be working with a limited number of clients, if you’d like to meet Kate, and experience her coaching – get in touch with her, as she offers a free session to all women who are interested in, or considering coaching.
To get in touch with Kate- email: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her website: www.kateapanui.com
🌺Facebook group – What would it be like if…….?
This is a closed group – though anyone is welcome to join.
I’m writing this for me, just as much as for you, because I find myself getting caught up in the busyness of life, and at this time of the year, the chaos of Christmas! The seemingly endless “to do list’s”, the shopping, end of year school prize givings, ceremonies, trips and all the social engagements can leave me feeling exhausted. And while we pride ourselves on being able to do multiple things at once, how much fun is it really?
Reading a book, enjoying a cup of tea (without scrolling on your phone) and listening to a friend are purely joyful acts when you allow yourself to enjoy it simply, on it’s own. When we allow ourselves to be present we enjoy what we do and what we see therefore we take in and experience so much more. Research shows that being in nature benefits the mind and the body, add then the physical exercise you get from a walk and it really is a win win for the state of your well being.
Here are some ideas of the sort of things I am going to do, to try to help myself to slow down and enjoy the present moment over the holidays.
I’d love to know what sort of things you enjoy to do one at a time. Leave a comment below ❤
I wish you a truly wonderful Christmas where ever you are in the world, thank you for reading our blog. Meri kirihimete from Aotearoa/ New Zealand.
“Taranaki Hardcore” 🗻 – a proud region, and for good reason.
This region is so diverse in it’s geography, it really has something for everyone – from the stunning black sand beaches in the north, to the rugged cliff faces of the south beaches, then of course it’s iconic maunga (mountain) Mt Taranaki/ Mt Egmont, which stands strong and proud at the heart of the regions’ circular plains.
Here are my top 5 kid friendly adventures for Taranaki:
Other must do’s in the Taranaki region are:
Nga mihi, Anita 🥜
Other rad things to see or do: Fox St mountain bike trails, Gisborne in general is super bikeable as it is so flat! They also have a cool network of cycle trails. Stand in the water and hand feed the stingrays and kingfish with Dive Tatapouri. Surf, fish, dive!
Happy adventuring! Tammy.
Sometimes I feel like the hardest part of getting the kids out for a bush walk, is the time it takes to find a walk suitable. When my kids were younger (<5) and I’d find a good track, I’d keep taking the kids there to help build our confidence and to get them walking a little bit further/faster/slower etc. Each time we went, there was a new “discovery”:
My method was, and still is Trial and Error. They don’t always work out the way I’d hoped but I love being out in nature, it feeds my mind, body and soul and that’s something I want my children to feel, enjoy and appreciate, especially as they get older (teens 😬)….. did I mention it’s also free 👍.
Here are our Top 5 kid friendly adventures near Tauranga that just keep on giving every time you go back:
Nga mihi, Anita 🥜
When I lived in the south island of New Zealand, I was only a few hours drive from these beautiful places so it’s very hard for me to only choose 5… but here’s where I’d go in a flash for a mixture of beautiful scenery, adventure and cool vibes.
1.Torrent Bay, Abel Tasman National Park. You can either hike here as part of a multi-day adventure, kayak or catch the water taxi like I did with my then 3 month old and my mum (pictured below 😍). We stayed in a waterfront bach (holiday home), it was so was lush!
2. Feeling adventurous? Check out the Rock climbing at Paynes Ford, Takaka in Golden Bay. Camp at hang dog, a family owned campground for climbers and outdoor enthusiasts.
3. Stroll to Te Waikoropupu Springs and marvel at the gin clear water! Home to the clearest spring water in the world!🌎
4. Awaroa Bay, Abel Tasman. Famously for sale a few years back, but saved by the New Zealand people’s through a successful crowd-funding campaign to buy it back from a private owner. Hooray! You can access this piece of paradise by walking across the estuary from Totaranui at dead low tide, walking the multi-day Abel Tasman track, by boat from Kaiteriteri or Marahau, you could also kayak, or if your feeling fancy you could arrive by helicopter.
5.After all these thirst inducing adventures, no trip to Golden Bay is complete without a stop at the Mussel Inn❤ a family friendly cafe and restaurant. I highly recommend sampling their tasty beer especially the 🍻#captaincookermanukabeer👍! It has a charming rustic vibe.Click here for more information.
Happy exploring, Tammy.
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I happen to live on quite an entrepreneurial street. Just down the road from me is Anita the other half of Forest Family NZ, there is also an artist, a nutritional health coach & a not-for-profit charity event planner/adventure gal.
Today, I am excited to introduce Roz McIntosh to you, the nutritional health coach. Not only does Roz create delicious and healthy recipes but she gives you permission to s-l-o-w down. I think as a mother you need these reminders every now and then. Roz shares great advice on to how to take a little time for yourself, as well as how to prepare yummy family friendly meals.
We asked Roz for some recipes that might be good to make – to take on a walking or biking adventure, and she has kindly given us a couple. Thanks Roz!
Enjoy her words and recipe below. Also check out her beautiful 😍 website for more inspiration here.
Adventures out in nature with my family are, I think, one of the best ways to spend time together.
But keeping my kids full can be a challenge, especially when you are limited with what you can actually carry.
Here is one of my favourite recipes to make ahead of time to take with us.
This will keep everyone satisfied for longer because it contain loads of protein from things like eggs and nuts, as well as a good dose of healthy fats to stave off hunger.
If you are heading out for the day, always ensure you have a good source of protein and fat. Boiled eggs, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate and biltong are other great ways to ensure a steady blood sugar level and sustained energy.
Banana and Coconut Bread (pictured above)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (you could also use olive oil or butter)
1 tsp vanilla
3 ripe bananas mashed
½ cup dates, chopped
1 cup brown rice flour (you could also use almond meal, spelt or buckwheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 banana (cut in rounds)
1. Heat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a loaf tin.
2. In a large bowl whisk together melted and cooled coconut oil, eggs and vanilla.
3. Stir in the mashed banana and chopped dates.
4. Sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Then add the coconut and
5. Pour into the lined loaf tin.
6. Place the banana which has been split lengthwise on top and sprinkle with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
7. Bake at 180ºC for 45 mins.
For more healthy recipes check out my blog at www.rozmcintosh.com.
Health + Nutrition