Top 5 Tips for bush 🌳walking with under 5’s

“My kids can’t even walk down the road without moaning” …. this is something we hear a lot! Guess what our’s were like that too when we started out!

 Here are our top 5 tips for bush walking with under fives:

  1. Expectations: If you are just starting out, keep them low, or maybe just don’t have any! Be prepared to become a pack horse & expect complaining.  We highly recommend starting with some small easy walks and always be prepared with snacks, water, plasters etc. The first few times will definitely be the hardest but it will get easier every time, we promise.
  2. Distraction: Story telling or singing, great time to practice the abc’s or that old kapa haka song. Treats, a lollipop at the top of the hill or M&M’s along the way to “dangle the carrot”. And of course games, pointing out interesting things along the way, first one to spot a…  or listening and watching out for birds.🦜🕊🐦
  3. Leadership: Taking turns in the lead and giving each child some responsibility within the group, this sometimes need to be timed in order to stay fair. Stop and smell the roses and walk at kids pace #slowwalk 😊
  4. Independence: Letting them pack a bag to carry themselves with 1-2 of their own “treasures”. My kids didn’t start carrying a bag/pack until about 4 years old, and even still now I have to have a turn carrying it.
  5. Gear: Having the appropriate gear always helps. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Think comfort i.e. sneakers over jandals and always carry a raincoat.

When our kids were young we had to use one or all of these in one short little 20 minute walk, but now they’re older – not so much. Part of it definitely comes from getting out there doing it.

What are some tips and tricks that work for you? Comment below and share with all us forest families ✌️

 

Conquering your fears💪🏔🌳

When I worked for the Department Of Conservation (DOC) as a biodiversity ranger pre-kids I would work in the bush daily on my own. I loved my job and never felt afraid, ok- except the one time I stumbled upon a family of wild boars😲🐷🦛, I thanked my lucky stars that we don’t have any wild animals in New Zealand that can kill or poison us!  I do remember people asking me if I was afraid working in the forest by myself and certainly they looked concerned at my lack of concern. Perhaps it was being young and carefree or perhaps it was just because I was so familiar with the forest I worked in? Anyhow I don’t remember feeling afraid of being in the bush alone.

Now 10 years on I occasionally work alone in the forest (usually doing some biodiversity monitoring) and I’ve noticed I feel a bit nervous being by myself. Maybe it’s because I read the news more these days which trips my mind into a negative and/or fearful zone? Maybe it’s out of my comfort zone because I rarely do it? Or maybe it’s because there is a higher chance of meeting people in the forest I work in now due to the smaller size of the reserve?

Recently I read an article from my favorite magazine, Flow, about keeping your own pocket sized “self help” notebook. The idea being that you write in it “pearls of wisdom” quotes or advice that mean something to you and then you keep with you always so in say times of stress or worry you can pull it out and gain some perspective.

Anyway… the other day I went into the bush to do this work on my own, but I hadn’t yet gotten around to doing this, so I pulled out my metaphorical notebook. Here are two quotes I pulled out:

  1. “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life most, of which have never happened” By Mark Twain .
  2. “Thoughts aren’t facts so don’t take them seriously” Ruby Wax.

Relevant much!😂 And so I had a lovely walk in the bush by myself. 🚶‍♀️🧘‍♀️🌿Nice.

Today I thought about this – “Self compassion is a more effective motivator than self criticism because its driving force is love and not fear”. I have a lot of saved quotes on my “Word Up” Pinterest board – it might be time to transfer them to my pocket notebook I think!

What do you do when faced with fears? Do you have a strategy to overcome them?

Love to know your thoughts, Tammy.

🌤 School holidays are here 🤗

Yay 🙌 The weather is clearing up and daylight savings starts on Sunday, time to get back out there! I don’t know about you, but this winter has been a tough one in my household, lingering bugs, uncoopervative weather and sadly a little girl with a broken bone in her ankle from jumping off the bunk bed 🤦‍♀️. All this has meant not many missions have happened for us as a family over the winter, but alas a couple of sunny weekends under the belt and we are all charged up 🔌 ready to roll.

What are your plans for the spring school holidays?

I plan to take the kids on an overnight hut stay! 🤞 for good weather. It’s been awhile, and since I am fortunate enough to have time off, I’m gonna make this happen 💪

Click the link to view our blog on “what should I take on an overnight tramp with kids“.

Whether you are inland, coastal or up near the mountains, there is a hut for you 👇

That’s the beauty of our awesome country 🏞, outdoor adventures are right on your doorstep. Even if you don’t have much time off, get the kids outside, get off those pesky devices and get ya feet dirty 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 together.

This week is also being Mental Health Awareness Week, so it’s a good time to remember that connecting to the earth and each other while being present in the moment can really help cleanse our minds from all of life’s pressures, not just for ourselves but for our kids too.

This doesn’t have to be a long winded huge mission costing an arm and a leg, even 10 minutes down at your local reserve can do the trick 👍.

If you do get out on a choice adventure and would like to share it with others – get in touch, we’d love to hear about it. Your adventure might just be what someone out there is looking for but never knew was available to them ✌️

Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️

 

🌿🌳 Want more time in nature?🌱

I read something earlier this year about questioning yourself before committing to something, to anything actually.

If your initial response isn’t  a “Hell YES!” Then it’s a NO. 👉Thank you my girl Rachel Hollis.

Because let’s face it we all have a lot on our plates and I want to do things that give me energy not steal it. After all, our time is valuable.

Recently I received a phone call from Terry the lovely coordinator of Friends Of Puketoki Reserve, who told me they were struggling to get any young blood to volunteer for their community pest control project. I have had a lot to do with the group and the reserve through my conservation work and so found myself saying “HELL YES”  to Terry before he even thought to ask me. The timing was right, my kids are old enough, I have an interest, I know the kids will enjoy it. We can get into the forest as a family on a regular basis and give back to our community. Yes, we’re in.

Of course time is an issue. However I am an ideas type of gal, so I asked if I could share the trap line with a few families, that way it wouldn’t be too much of a huge time commitment to anyone. Two hours, once every 6 weeks. Yes that’s doable.

And so now we have begun, and I have two other families on board who are also excited to be doing this. PLUS we are getting our kids out into nature on a regular basis and you know that’s got to be good for them!

If this is something you like the sound of I encourage you to have a conversation with your friends and see if it’s something they too would like to be involved in and then find out more about your local community group. Win win🏆

Nga mihi Tammy

 

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2019

Kia ora 😊 This week is Māori language week here in Aotearoa. It is a week dedicated to helping keep the Māori language alive and thriving. I for one feel this is majorly important, as language is the heart of any culture, and Māori culture is part of New Zealand’s identity.

I grew up in Ngāruawāhia, home to Tūrangawaewae Marae – headquarters of the Kīngitanga. Growing up there being immersed in the culture as a pākehā (a minority) is something I feel very proud of and truly blessed by.

It was actually only recently that I completed a beginner’s course in Te Reo Māori. I knew a lot of the basics from my up-bringing but the in-class kōrero (speaking) really helped to make sense of things in my head. The surprising thing is, that in 2012 I attempted to learn a bit of French for an impending trip and I struggled! I kind of figured “language is just not my thing”, but since completing this course, so many more things of what I learnt all that time ago have clicked into place.

 

Having a second language is truly an amazing thing for our minds, most countries around the world have more than one language and taking a second language is even compulsory.

Māori is an integral part of New Zealand’s culture and the language is a taonga to be cherished. He taonga te reo – Our language is a treasure!

Below are some kupu (words) that you might be able to use while out and about in nature:

  • Rākau – Stick
  • Rau – Leaf
  • Ngahere – Forest
  • Manga – Stream
  • Maunga – Mountain
  • Moana nui – Ocean
  • Ngaru – Wave
  • Kāmaka – Rock
  • Wairere – Waterfall
  • Tāmure – Snapper
  • Manu – Bird

 

Whakatauki (proverb): Ahakoa he iti te matakahi ka pakaru i a ia te tōtara: A little effort can achieve great things.

Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori! Anita 🥜 ✌️

Lindemann Loop Track, Katikati

Last winter I took my two boys out to walk the Lindemann track, near Katikati with some friends and their children. Between us there were 6 kids, then aged between 4-7 yrs old. I wrote this story over a year ago, but had to hold off publishing it because the Department of Conservation closed the track due to the kauri dieback threat. The track has remained closed for the last year so they could upgrade the tracks to protect the kauri’s root system and help prevent the spread of this disease. But I have great news! The track has re-opened, so go check it out!

When we did this track we didn’t consider walking the 11km, 5 hr loop with the kids (as much as I love a loop track) we just walked a few hours in and back the same way, happy days.

I was told there was a waterfall somewhere… but after ~1 ½ hrs of walking we still hadn’t come across it, and so we decided to turn back. This turned out to be a good plan as the littlest got quite tired and started stumbling a lot. It is very hard work trying to keep up with those fast, often running 7 year old’s!

The track is well marked, but has muddy sections (in winter), slippery rocks in the un-bridged (shallow) stream crossings, and the track is uneven with lots of roots and rocks which the youngest (4) found challenging.  Marvelous fun in summer I imagine!

 

There is one part of the track after the largest stream crossing with a small waterfall (~ 30 mins in), where the track heads up hill and has a steep drop off. I must admit I walked very close to Mr 4 in case he stumbled.

To combat tiredness on the return journey we played games. The muddy sections became “the boggy bog” – you’d better watch out! Scrambling through fallen branches and “help its got me!” Red clay rock section became “hot lava” run! This helped Mr 4 & 5 keep walking and having fun. Mr 5 fell over and banged his knee on a rock (ouch!) thank goodness for ‘sour snake’ lollies and the strength of the mamas to carry the little ones!

For more details on this track visit our website- -trail information- Bay of Plenty or click here.

 

 

 

Cheers Dads 🍻 Happy Fathers’ Day

With Fathers’ Day coming up on Sunday I thought share a photo collage of some Dads, Grandads and Uncles all getting out there with the kids – Ka mau te wehi! 🙌

If you’re stuck for ideas on what to do on Sunday check out our trail info page for a kid-friendly bush walk.

Bay of Plenty peeps – here are some options for you:

Happy Fathers’ Day

Aroha mai, Aroha atu 💗

 

 

 

 

The Omokoroa cycle way is finally open!🚲🚲🚲

Hooray! The long awaited cycle way from Omokoroa to Te Puna ( + nearly to Bethlehem…) is finally opened! Folks, I have been waiting for this for years! In May 2015 I went to the rally with my mum, friend and youngest son and cycled from Fergusson Park to downtown Tauranga to show our support along with hundreds of other cyclists of the then proposed cycle way.  My baby who is now nearly 7 years old 😲 was 3 years old then and rode in the baby bike seat!

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Here we are back in 2015!😜👊

So to go the full circle😉, we headed along to the official opening a few weeks back and enjoyed a leisurely ride from Omokoroa to Plummers Pt/ Huhurua Habour Park and Ongarahu Pa site with the excited crowd.

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Here’s my baby now!

It was great to see all sorts of people out on their bikes both pedal power and e-bike (VERY popular where I live) as well as families pushing strollers, people with their pooches, and walkers.

My family will no doubt be utilizing the track to cycle to new fishing spots! 🤣🐟Obsessed much?!!

Also I admit I quite like the thought of a long lunch at the Cider Factorie, in Te Puna and then a cycle ride home!🥂🚲😜👍

👉Here are a few more pics taken today, a true reflection of the weather here currently☔🌨 P.s See that cute little pool it is full of naturally occurring warm thermal water! I noticed the steam today- foot spa anyone?

✔ For track info click here

 

 

 

Precious me time 🏔

As parents we don’t get much time for, or to, ourselves. It’s so easy to get caught up in our children and all their needs and wants; we love doing it ….. but it is still so important that we make time for ourselves and look after our own needs and wants.

I know for me, when my children were younger (<5), I almost felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore. What did I like to do in my free time? ….. remember that – free time 😜. It was quite hard to start making time for myself again, to not miss the kids the whole time and then to not feel guilty when I didn’t miss them.

Over the years I have moved on to really cherishing that precious me time and feeling like a happier healthier me and mother for my kids because of it …. So girls’ trips on! My last trip away was in Canterbury; we only had 3 days so the St James Walkway in Lewis Pass is where we ended up (this is part of the Te Araroa Trail and the whole walkway can be done over 5 days).

We walked in to stay the first night at Boyle Flat Hut, then went for a quick walk up to Rokeby Hut the next day and then cruised back to stay at Magdalen Hut before heading back out 👍 We were super lucky with the weather and got 3 amazing clear days, all the main river crossings were bridged, the track was awesomely maintained and all the huts had fireplaces – shot DOC!

Below is a short video of our stunning winter walk.

Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️

 

 

 

Understanding hypothermia🌬🌡

I recently went mountain biking with a group of friends in Rotorua; an hour inland from Tauranga. We had all anticipated the drop in temperature as we headed inland (we live on the coast where the weather is comparatively mild in winter) so believed we had dressed appropriately and had the right gear.

I’ve noticed there is a bit of a theory with mountain bikers about “starting cold” because no doubt 5 minutes down the track you will be stripping off layers = which you then have to carry.  I’m never able to bring myself to do it and yes you guessed it, I’m the one with a big backpack with jackets, jerseys etc but that’s just my way. The girls and I discussed all this in the car park when we realized just how cold it was (4 degrees).  One of our group went with the “start cold” theory another realized her jersey was way to big to ride in, so left it in the car. I was the only one with full finger bike gloves and within 5 minutes everyone’s hands (mine included) were freezing. We finished the first trail and tried to warm our hands, but then our body temperatures started dropping so we had to start biking again. After riding for another 30 minutes my hands thawed out and the rest of me was fine as I was wearing fleece leggings and adequate merino and thermal layers and wore my buff like a bank robber!

20190406_102534It wasn’t until we stopped again that one of our party crouched down and said she felt dizzy. She was all pale and started yawning.  I had a jacket in my bag which I put on her and had to zip up for her. I also gave her my gloves, as my hands were fine by then. I realized we needed to get her out of the forest and warmed up but I didn’t know the trails ultra well, I also realized the other friend who had left her jersey in the car was finding it hard to string sentences together because she was so cold. All three still had freezing hands. As I consulted my map and started scouting our way out I realized that it was possible my friend was going into the first stage of hypothermia and that we needed to get her out ASAP. I started thinking we may need to call for help. Fortunately when I returned from my brief scout, my friend had started to feel better and was able to ride out to the car park. Meanwhile my cold jersey-less friend turned to me and said this had been a good lesson to her about bringing a jacket “just in case”. I’m happy to report we made it out safely, got hot drinks, cranked the heater in the car and headed back to our sunny coastal haven where we completely thawed out and even managed another ride -this time in shorts!🤣🚴‍♂️🌞

There was a happy end to our story, however hypothermia is a serious condition and immediate preventive action is required to prevent the condition worsening. Anyone can get hypothermia old, young, fit, healthy, experienced or inexperienced. Plus you can get hypothermia in summer as well as winter.

Here is how you can recognize it:

The stages: (from the NZ Wilderness Magazine)

  • Cold stress: The stage preceding hypothermia, reduced body temperature (35-37 deg C), mild shivering and stiff fingers. Treat with sugary drinks, food, shelter and clothing layers.
  • Mild Hypothermia: Symptoms may include confusion, personality changes, impaired motor functions, uncontrollable shivering and a core temperature of (32-35 deg C). If cold stress develops into hypothermia emergency services should be contacted. Treat as above and add active heat pads and hot water bottles.
  • Moderate Hypothermia (conscious): Core temperature 30-32 deg C) physical ability is impaired and shivering has likely stopped. The patient should be kept horizontal and still, and choking hazards exist so nil by mouth. Active heat pads, as patient has stopped producing body heat. Hospitalization is essential.
  • Moderate Hypothermia (unconscious): Core temperature drops below 30 deg C and patient loses consciousness. Cardiac arrest risk is high, and patient should not be moved unnecessarily. Hospitalization is essential for survival as the energy requirements to reheat this patient are very high.

*Keep an eye on kids is particular, because even though it can appear like they don’t feel the cold, they have a greater risk of becoming hypothermic due to their lower fat mass, meaning less insulation, and lower muscle mass, which means less capacity for producing heat.

Be prepared and recognize the signs. Have fun and stay safe x Tammy.

 

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