The mind is the most powerful muscle in the body 💪

So I thought I’d share a little personal story of mine from my first multi-night hike and how I learnt first-hand that your mind can control what limitations are actually there.

I always tend to feel quite nervous/excited before new walks, the unknown and getting outside my comfort zone. I knew that there was going to be challenges, as there were some big climbs and long hours amongst it, but I also knew I had a cool crew with me – my sister and our brother from another mother (btw your crew is super important to a great experience!).

I think that since having kids and now being a larger version of myself I have allowed some self-doubt to creep in.  I’ve always been a very active person, but I know that some things are just more physically difficult being the size I am now. Anyway I push negative thoughts aside and tell myself “come on, you got this” ……..

But actually after only 5 hours …. “I didn’t got this”…. My legs were cramping, I got the shakes and my mind gave up – I was done, I was convinced I could not climb up anymore. I was well prepared and had everything I needed to be ok, if I had to stay in the bush I could have – emergency blanket, dry shell, first aid kit, PLB etc etc, it was one of those moments you realise how important it is to be prepared, and to carry all that “what if” stuff = Hope for the Best, Plan for the worst!

Though I was still in a space where I could communicate clearly and make good decisions – I knew I had to get warm. I stripped off my sweaty top, threw on dry warm clothing + hat, gloves, jacket, and my amazing crew looked after me with electrolytes and a miso soup 👍. After about 5 minutes my body came right, but I was shocked that that had happened, I had done bigger climbs and longer days ?? never had I reached a moment like that, where I fully doubted my ability.

So sadly, after 5 hours of walking, we turned around and walked 2 hours back to a hut we had passed and had lunch at. I was Gutted!!! I sat on the deck crying and crying, I was so disappointed in myself.

Here’s the thing though: we were probably closer to the other hut when we turned around, but getting myself back to somewhere I’d been, a distance I knew, was doable in my mind, not the unknown ahead of me. Crazy huh.

But, yay, after a restful night, we spent the next two days on a different circuit, I was determined to get that first multi-night under my belt. My mind was stronger, I knew I could do it and I was not going to let what happened the first day take me down.

There were a couple of decisions us, as a group, decided contributed to the situation:

  • We started the track too late in the day putting us under time pressure, light became an issue and it wasn’t the type of track we wanted to navigate in the dark
  • We had the choice of 2 routes from our lunch stop and we chose the longer one
  • We didn’t fill up our water from the stream before heading up the ridge, so water was limited if we were to stay on the track

Know yourself, know who you are tramping/hiking with, know their strengths, know their weaknesses and be sure to choose tracks to suit the abilities of everyone in your group.

The mind really is the strongest muscle in the body.

Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️

Fact: Outdoor play improves your kids eyesight!👀🌿🌳

I’ve had this topic waiting in the wings for a while now, but it was a recent yoga class that finally inspired me to write it.

My wonderful yoga teacher, Sarah from Kowhai Yoga was teaching us some exercises for our eyes. She went on to say that doctor’s are finding that short-sightedness aka myopia its becoming more and more common with kids, and that they are attributing this to the amount of time kids are spending staring at screens, particularly iPad’s. She told us a story about her yoga teacher, who as a boy was told that his eye sight was deteriorating and that it was a possibility that he may loose it altogether. He went on to practice a series of “eye exercises” aka eye yoga, which strengthened his eye muscles, and by doing so he retained and improved his eye sight!


I have a friend with a similar story who told me her eye sight had improved since she started doing weed control for the Department of Conservation. She attributed it to searching for weeds and strengthening her eye muscles in the process.

There is new research saying that time outdoors helps prevent and control myopia. And they are recommending 2 hours a day of outdoor play. As well as the 20-20-20 rule, meaning look away from devices every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds to a distance of at least 20 feet (6m).

Wild senses!

As if you needed another reason to get yourself and the kids outdoors😉

For more information on this subject check out-

See ya outside 🌿🌳 for some🧘‍♀️👀!



10 free nature 🌿based activities to try this school holidays!

And just like that school holidays are upon us! 😲😃😍 [insert your emoji below]🍷🛌!

Some parents will be dancing with glee (for a bit🤣) at the lack of routine (me), others may be dreading it due to the struggle of juggling children and work commitments, not to mention the financial costs of school holiday programs… Add the word winter and one can soon start to feel overwhelmed particularly if the weather turns bad and cabin fever sets in! Combat this by grabbing your raincoats and gumboots and heading outdoors for a bit.

My hope for you all is that whatever your circumstances are, you can snatch some quality time to spend with the little urchins, whatever the weather and however this looks! Here are some ideas for you to try, that won’t cost the earth🌍👍

  1. Find a local bush walk and do it! For inspiration check out trail info on our website & discover something new. Tag us in your photos @forestfamilynz
  2. Grab the bikes, pump those tyres up and discover a new trail/ or ride somewhere different in your neighborhood. Mix it up on purpose! Take photos and tag us #
  3. Take the kids to the beach with a couple of ice cream containers and go rock pooling. Just remember a change of clothes a towel and to return the critters back to their habitat.
  4. Go bug hunting in a local park with friends. Followed by a pot luck picnic! Gear: Magnifying glasses and a couple of containers. Attitude: Curious!
  5. Go for a wander, take a “treasure satchel” aka a bag and collect “marvelous treasures”!  At home display them on a “nature table” or the kitchen table! Make a mobile or do leaf rubbings, then display proudly.
  6. Even though its cold my kids still love to get wet! So on a sunny day you could take them for a splash in a local creek/estuary or the ocean. Otherwise I recommend one of our many wonderful hot pools! Check out #grabone for deals.
  7. Make or download a scavenger hunt, then set up in the backyard or house. Older kids might want to create this for the younger ones. Probably chocolate involved!
  8. Discover somewhere new! A new suburb/park/trail/city/road #tikitour
  9. Make a hut with the kids outside! It might be on the beach out of driftwood, or in the backyard with a sheet #getinvolved
  10. Go beach-combing then create/make/display. Take a photo and be sure to #tagus

I expect my next 2 weeks will hold as much fishing as possible, knowing my two boys!😉🐟

#natureisgoodforyoursoul  #rainydayadventuring #justdoit #screentimeinmoderation #becurious #getoutdoors #gobarefoot

Keep in the loop, subscribe below👊🌿☔


An honest talk about women, tramping & that vulnerable feeling…

So I was talking with a group of women the other night and I said “we should go on an overnight hut stay together” – to which I got a couple of responses like: 

  • What if some weirdo turns up at night?
  • What if a big hunting party turn up, and it’s just us there?

All the “what if’s…” came out and do you know what?  Sadly it doesn’t surprise me.

I am a women and these “what if’s” are things I have to take into consideration any time I go out walking. It’s always there in the back of my mind … and not necessarily just when I’m on my own.

I’m curious to know if the men out there reading this can tell me, do you think about the what if’s? And if so what are they? I’m fairly certain they will be different from ours and your list not nearly as long but I’d like to know all the same…

I have always walked in groups, safety in numbers and all. But recently I have been gaining the courage to go alone. Its not to say that I am scared of nature, it’s more that I’m scared of coming across a “weirdo” in the bush. Someone who thinks about taking advantage of an isolated situation.

Is this a rational worry?

Sometimes I question myself. But at the end of the day if it is something that pops into my mind, it is valid, and it deserves my attention. I know I am more likely to come across a dangerous situation in a town or city, but it’s still something that I need to consider as a women.

Fear is a natural, normal, healthy and important self preserving emotion. I just have to sit back, acknowledge it, accept it, take precautions to limit the potential dangers and DO IT ANYWAY. Why? because it’s something I love to do and it fills my cup 🧘🏻‍♀️ How do you fill your cup?

So ladies, feel the fear and do it anyway, because the more you do it the more comfortable it will feel. 

Here are some ways you can prepare yourself for situations that may arise when in an isolated situation:

  • Have some form of staying in touch with emergency services. I met a solo woman hiker in the Tararua’s that had a personal locator beacon that could send texts through GPS – that way if she injured herself she could contact emergency services.
  • If you are not comfortable alone – go with a more experienced tramper. There are hundreds of tramping groups to connect with and of course you can always join our facebook group –We are always keen for more people to tramp with! 🙌🚶‍♂️
  • You could take a self defense class and learn how to defend yourself.
  • Always let someone know where you’re going and how long you’re gonna be. For more great resources to get you on the right track check out mountain safety council
  • Listen to stories of other women who have done solo adventures and be inspired – scroll down to follow our blog 👍. There are soo many others to choose from check out the tough girl podcast

Nga mihi, Anita

Attempting to summit Mt Karioi, Raglan🌊☀ with my 7 year old

Enjoy this adventure written by my friend Stacey about her and her’s son attempt to summit (I know that sounds so hardcore👊💪🤣) Mt Karioi – a 2.4 million year old extinct volcano🗻.

In all the times I’ve been to Raglan I’d never considered attempting the Kairoi summit (the mountain you can see from Raglan). But this time because I was training for the Oxfam 50km Trailwalker I decided to give it a go with my son, Leo (age 7 ½). We left early as it was going to be a hot summer’s day and I’m sure glad we did as we were sweating within the first 30 minutes.

The drive out was along the coast about 15 minutes south of Raglan. The parking is the same as Te Toto Gorge which is well worth a look (a few minutes from the car park). The track to the Kairoi summit starts across the road from the car park.  

The track is pretty much straight up from here with only a few level bits. Luckily a decent amount is in the trees but definitely slap on sunscreen and a hat ahead of time. Make sure you bring lots of water. My son carried his own bladder (water in a little backpack) and a few snacks.

The views just kept getting better as we climbed higher and higher. I’d recommend going on a clear day to make the most of the views. After walking for about an hour and a half we made it to the first ladder and decided to stop here. The views were incredible, we could see Mount Taranaki (often used as a stand in for Mount Fuji) in the distance. The walk to the summit was at least another hour from here but we decided to head back down.


A decent walk for a 7 ½ year old. Next time maybe we’ll aim for the summit as you can do this as a loop walk or even start from the other side and have a more gradual climb.  

For the Department of Conservation track information click here

Good effort Stacey and Leo! You guys have succeeded in making me want to have a go with my eldest boy 👍.

How about you, are you inspired??? Comment below

The spectacular Waireinga/ Bridal Veil Falls in Raglan

Enjoy this blog post written by my adventurous pal Stacey.

It’s been years since I’ve been to Raglan, in fact my daughter was only 6 weeks old when we last went and is almost 6 years old now! I was super excited to be back! Raglan’s got a little bit of everything we love = surf, sand, shopping, cafes and some great walks.

Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls is the perfect walk for any age and ability (It’s wheelchair/pushchair accessible to the top of the falls). My son first walked it at 2 years old and there was a preschool group doing the walk at the same time. It’s only 10 minutes to the top of the falls and another 10 minutes down the stairs to see the falls from the bottom.

There is a Maori carving and poem welcoming you as you start the walk. If your kids need a little more prompting to get out on a walk or like to do activities check the DOC/Toyota Kiwi Guardian website and do the Bridal Veil Falls activity to collect their medal. Find out more about it out here.

My almost 6 and 8 year old ran ahead down the track and I finally caught up with them at the first viewing platform. The view was impressive! Even though it hadn’t rained most of the summer there was still a significant flow of water falling a staggering 55m to the pool below. Then we started to make our way down to the bottom stopping at the platform midway to take in the view.

Once at the bottom my kids sat down next to each other mesmerized by the cascading water. We took our time taking it all in and then started the climb back up to the car.

It’s well worth the 15 minute drive from Raglan to do this walk with the whanau.

For the Department of Conservation info click here

Thanks Stacey, both Anita and I have taken our kids here and both agree it is a wonderful family adventure. My kids also spotted eels in the stream near the viewing platform.


Puketoki Scenic Reserve, Bay of Plenty

Puketoki Reserve is pretty much my local and I feel like I know it like the back of my hand. My kids have been walking the long loop since they were around 2 1/2 years old. I also do regular monitoring work there (off tracks) for the local pest control group the Friends of Puketoki . I often take groups of school children there to study the streams health (very healthy by the way) and to learn about native birds and plants.

It’s a great place to head with kids of any age, the short loop is buggy friendly (although you may encounter some mud) and you can bring the dog, on a lead.  The short loop is made up of the old tram lines so they are straight and relatively flat, perfect for little legs to wander along. Its nice if you just take your time and let the kids explore a bit at their own pace. If you go at night you can see glow worms in the banks. There are picnic tables near the car park and a very pretty stream to check out.

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The long loop is more undulating, with sections of stairs, uneven ground and the odd muddy part. You may see pink tags and tape off the sides of the main walking track, these are trap lines (for possum and rodent bait stations). The main walking track is marked with orange triangles. There are a couple of short marked detours off the main track to see giant rimu and puriri trees and they are well worth the couple of minutes detour it takes (if things are going well! )

We often see kereru (native wood-pigeon) and robins and hear tui and grey warbler. Occasionally you might see or hear kaka (native parrot).Puketoki Reserve is a good place to start if you and your family haven’t done much bush walking before as the loop walks are very short and easy, so there’s no stress about distance, you can just meander and enjoy.

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For more detailed info check out our Nutshell: here

Happy adventuring! Subscribe to our blog and be sure to be kept up to date with the latest events and happenings. 🌿Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration.🐛🏕🚵‍♀️🚶‍♀️😍👊

Stream crossings: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Stream Crossings can be so much fun, though generally speaking only when you get to the other side safely and with dry boots.

On this tramp to Lane Cove Hut in Totara North, Northland, 14 of us, 7 adults and 7 children had to cross 2 streams. It was raining pretty steadily but the forecast said it wasn’t meant to stay, so with rain jackets on and our packs watertight we set off anyway. We had decided that if we got to the stream crossing and the flow was too high or strong, then we would just turn around.



After an hour and forty minutes, we met the stream, it wasn’t too high and it wasn’t a raging torrent so crossing wasn’t too much of a big deal, most of the kids even managed to cross by themselves, they weren’t worried about wet shoes. Sometimes you have to weigh up the pros and cons here: let the kids cross on their own, carry them across, carry their shoes and packs for them and then let them take on the slippery rocks ????

I definitely wanted to try keep my boots dry, so me and a few of the other adults decided to takes our boots off and throw them across.

My cousin had taken hers off and we were having the discussion of who she would trust to get them across for her. After some joking around, I took on the job as I had already landed my own boots over safely, I was balanced on a log in the stream and I lobbed one of the two boots over ….. perfect! It was the perfect throw and a perfect catch on the other side. I was feeling pretty confident and coordinated, I said to the others “check me out I feel like I’m a pro croquet player”  …. That was my first mistake – I think i was meaning petanque.

Me holding the then dry boot

Anyway I got my pose ready to show off my mad boot throwing skills, my sister pipes up and says “remember when I did this and my boot went floating down the stream” ……. I threw the boot …….. straight up in the air …… OMG ….. how did that go so wrong? It felt like it was in slow mo and the boot seemed to stay up in the air for ages. I tried to get into the stream as quickly as I could to catch the boot (without injuring myself), but too late …… plop.

Everyone was laughing, well apart from me standing shocked and embarrassed holding a wet boot in the middle of the stream, oh and of course my Cousin looking not so impressed with now having one wet boot. The world sometimes knows when you have to be brought down a peg, what can you do but laugh right  ; )


We sat on the other side for a lunch break and had a good laugh at my opsies, An unfortunate way to make funny hiking memories. 100m along the track we had to cross over the same stream again, needless to say we all weren’t as precious second time round, and maybe next time I’ll only be taking responsibility for my own boots.

Check out our adventures page for more photos and info on the track.

Big Little bike tow and Craters of the moon🌜

I have reached an exciting point in my life = mountain biking with my whole family! A few months back I had an epic mountain bike ride in the Redwoods in Rotorua with my 8 year old, some friends and their kids, but after about 4 hours of amazing riding, my son hit the wall and literally had a cry on the side of the track (one too many hills)!😥 The poor wee fella had ran out of steam. I was wishing for something … anything, to help tow him back to the car park. Instead I gave him a lot of cuddles and had a bit of a pep talk about digging deep “imagine your Sir Edmond Hilary🤣🏔 I bet he wanted to give up too”,  and also possibly a few bribes … slowly we made it back. Upon my return home I set about searching the web for some sort of bike tow system and whaddya know I found one just down the road in Rotorua. It is made by a company called Dancing Moose NZ and I have to say, we all, especially the kids, are loving it!

The tow system works for kids who are already riding on their own but need a little help when they get tired, so it is perfect for my two children who are 6 and 8 years old. Plus it has the benefit of being super compact! The idea is that you attach the tow pouch to your saddle rails, then attach the other end to your child’s handle bars and in between is a stretchy strap. It is best to be used on flat or uphill sections of road or mountain bike trails. When you’ve finished towing you simply stash it back into the pouch and carry on. Biking with the tow has allowed us to take the kids further out there on the trails without the worry of the kids getting too tired to ride anymore and not enjoying themselves anymore, which is ace!!!!

We went to Taupo during the Easter school holidays and rode some of the trails at the ‘Craters of the moon’ mountain bike park, where we really put the tow through its paces! Check out the video below of Big G (dad) towing Little G (our 8 year old who you may note in the video is peddling💪) up Tank Stand and then riding down Coaster. We also tested it in the Redwoods in Rotorua towing my 6 year old (who did not pedal😂), pictured above, up the forestry roads and it worked brilliantly.


You can purchase the Big Little Tow online from dancingmoosenz

We’d love to know what adventures you are going on with your families👍 Comment below and tell me where you’ve been 🚵‍♀️🏕 or where you plan to go.



My Pinnacles Hut Adventure

The Pinnacles walk in the Coromandel is an awesome 2 day walk to take the kiddies on! It can be done in one day, but who doesn’t love a hut stay? I had been wanting to do this walk for so long, and finally in the Easter school holidays I made it happen with the added bonus of perfect weather – check out the video below:

The walk to the hut took our group roughly 4 hours, with one decent stop and a few “micro” stops as my daughter called them. The hut was fully booked for the night but surprisingly we didn’t meet many people on the way up, it was only once we got to the Hydro Camp where we started to meet a few day trippers on their way down – including a Mama and Grandma with a toddler and baby in a back pack 💪 🙌 tu meke – so inspiring! She did assure me she had chocolate on hand 😜

We’d love to know who/where/what inspires you? Let us know by commenting below and be sure to follow us to keep up to date with our rad Forest Family adventures.

Click here to view our nutshell trail information 👍

Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️



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