Top 5 must do kid friendly bush walks in Taranaki 🗻

“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:

  1. Waingongoro Hut, Mount Taranaki, If you haven’t read it already – click here to check out the blog from my trip with the kids to this hut 🏡
  2. Kaupokonui Beach – South Taranaki. If you are driving along the surf highway SH45, this little gem is well worth the stop, with surfing, camping and swimming in both river and sea all on offer, though if quiet is not for you, further north along SH45 is the small surf town of Opunake. Here you will find a few shops and at the beach, there is a choice little shallow pool for the little ones.
  3. Pukekura Park – New Plymouth. This park is at the heart of the city, and has everything, lakes, playground, bush walks and beautiful gardens – it reminds me of a park you would find in a city in Europe (La Rochelle, France to name one)
  4. Wilkies Pools – Mount Taranaki. These pools are scoured from 20,000 year old lava, if you are made of tough stuff, bring togs and a towel to take a dip in the “refreshing” 🗻 water.
  5. Three sisters – North Taranaki Coast, Near Tongaporutu. Walk out along the river at low tide to view the 25 metre rock formations jutting out from the sand, there is plenty of exposed cliffs and caves to explore also.

 

Other must do’s in the Taranaki region are:

Nga mihi, Anita  🥜

Top 5 adventures with kids- in☀ Gisborne.

Gissy

  1. Mahia Beach- Ok so not technically in Gisborne (it’s actually in the Hawkes Bay region) but just humor me. It’s located between Wairoa and Gisborne, the beach is stunning and is known to be a fantastic beach for swimming, surfing, kayaking, surf casting and diving. It was also made famous when Moko the dolphin (who is now sadly dead) chose to hang out there and play with the people in the waves. I experienced this and it was incredible! Walk up Mokotahi hill with the kids for some exercise. There is also a wonderful hot pool-bush walk at Morere Hot Springs.
  2. Eastwoodhill Arboretum – a magical place to take the kids. There are walks to suit all abilities and a new amazing playground I have yet to check out!
  3. Grey’s Bush Scenic Reserve– if your feeling a like you need some time in the trees head here with the kids. The short loop ~15 minutes is buggy and wheelchair friendly. If your feeling like something a little longer the long loop takes between 40-60 minutes walking at an easy pace.
  4. Rere Falls- Picnic spot! If you have older kids or are feeling brave yourself, check out Rere Falls rock slide.
  5. Wainui Beach- to be honest, a stroll along any of the beaches here, in my opinion, is world class. If you are a surfer you’ll know this!

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.

Top 5 kid friendly bush walks near Tauranga ☀️

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”:

  • “haven’t heard that bird before 🐦”
  • “oop’s should have brought more spare clothes 👕”
  • “those shoes weren’t suitable 🥾”
  • “Success everyone happy 😄, hmm … what did I do differently”

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:

  • Aongatete short loop (~1 hour). The Aongatete tracks start at the car park at the end of Wright Road off SH2 between Tauranga and Katikati, towards the Aongatete Outdoor Education Centre. There are various other great walks here too, check out the Department of Conservation for more information.

 

  • Papamoa Hills, Papamoa – You can’t go wrong here with well-preserved Historic Pa (fortification) sites and panoramic views over the east coast and Kaimai ranges. There is also a small stream which offers a great spot for a break. For more information click here

 

  • Puketoki Reserve, Whakamarama – Long or short loop. The stream next to the car park is a great place for the kids to mess around in plus there is a picnic table making this an excellent place to hang out after a stroll in the bush.

 

  • Te Puna Quarry Park, Te Puna – An old quarry transformed into an arty garden paradise! The kids will love this place, its full of wonderful sculptures & art, things to climb on and things to bang!

 

  • Mount Maunganui Base Loop or Summit Track, Mount Maunganui – This popular Mountain provides endless adventure opportunities. Take the base track and enjoy a picnic on one of the many shelly beaches or take one of the many tracks to the top and enjoy spectacular views.

 

Nga mihi, Anita 🥜

Forest Family’s Top 5 Xmas 🎅adventures with the kids in ☀ Abel Tasman and Golden Bay✌🏕

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!🌎

pupu

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.

awaroa2

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.

Muss-fire-014-a

Happy exploring, Tammy.

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Special Guest: Nutritional health coach Roz McIntosh + bonus recipe🍓🥝🥑🍒

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.

rozAdventures 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)

Ingredients

 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (you could also use olive oil or butter)
 4 eggs
 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
 pinch salt
 1 cup desiccated coconut
 1 banana (cut in rounds)

Method
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
combine well.
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.

Happy Hiking!

Roz McIntosh

Health + Nutrition

0220972470

FB @rozmcintoshnutrition

IG @rozmcintosh_nutrition

A Christmas Giveaway!

Us antipodean folk get to start December (& therefore Christmas) around 12 hours before the rest of the world😉 so to celebrate that and the jolly season we are having our first ever facebook giveaway! To be magically whisked 🐱‍🏍🦄 off to our Facebook page click here 😊

Forest family nz

My ☀️ summer school holidays adventure wishlist 🏕🗒

In the spirit of 🎅 – “making a list and checking it twice”, I’ve decided this year, to make a wish list of some of the adventures I will to try and explore with the kids over the coming summer holidays. This is my way of having direction but with the spontaneity of not planning out dates – Carpe Diem (as someone mentioned to me yesterday).

Now, I feel that it is important to mention that I am not going to put any pressure on myself or the kids to tick them all off or even complete the whole walk, because the last thing we all need is more pressure in our lives. This is just a top 5 wish list to have visible to inspire me to get out when I can – cause lets face it, sometimes it feels like all the 🌌 stars have to align for a well laid plan to come to fruition, especially with the kiddies.

Adventure wish list

Here is a PDF version of the Adventure wish list with links to more track information.

I’m also heading to the Wairarapa and Taranaki Regions this summer – so if you’re from there or know of any great adventures around these ways, please scroll down and let me know 🙌, I’d love to check them out and share my stories 🤗.

✌️ Nutty 🥜

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Taking the kids to a hut overnight solo … things get a little spooky👻, Part 2.

So there was an almighty CRASH! Needless to say I almost had a heart attack! I lay there listening, my heart hammering, but there were no torch lights and no one was talking. Spooky!!!!👻👻👻

Heart hammering I got up and went to investigate and also – because I had to! So scared… I shined my torch around on the lawn and front porch and I noticed that my son’s rugby ball was now lying on the grass. I had definitely put it on the seat on the porch before bed time. So that must’ve been what made the crashing noise! The ball thud, thud, thudding as it rolled down the porch steps. But why had it rolled down the steps??!! There was no wind.

And that’s when I heard it…the frightful call of a possum! Listen here because if you hear this noise in the bush and you don’t know what it is, no kidding you might justifiably think there is some psycho out there! Close your eyes and prepared to be spooked! 🤡Anyway I thankfully knew that sound and so to be honest was massively relieved! P.s If any hunters are reading this I see you shaking your heads and laughing! Anyway the mystery was solved!🤗 Phew, back to sleep for what was surprisingly not as long a night as I had anticipated.

We were awake by 5:45 am which is fairly normal for us, and was no doubt partly due to our early bedtime of 6 pm! So we got up had breakfast and left early. In that moment at least I was grateful for the empty hut. Also the kids had a great match of sleeping bag wrestling (as you do!) Everyone was happy again now that daylight was creeping back into the hut and with the knowledge of that we were going home.

You can do this walk as a loop and return a different way, which I usually love to do but due to the knowledge of late morning rain and the fact that the returning the same way was 30 minutes quicker, I chose that! We managed to shave 20 minutes off going down the hill, but it still took us 40 minutes to walk out along the farmland. I promised the kids they could stop by river to look for rocks when I knew we were pretty close to the car park. That’s when my youngest son fell half into the river! Home time!!!!😂

So would I do it again on my own? Hmmm… I’m thinking not for a few more years and then maybe to a more popular hut. Hopefully I haven’t scarred the children for life!

#yolo #crazymama #spookyhut #feelthefearanddoitanyway #whatdoesn’tkillyoumakesyoustronger  #itwasapossum!

Click here to read out nutshell about the track information.

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Taking the kids to a hut overnight… solo😲! I know #yolo right? Part-1

Yes, I am that mad! Let me explain…it was the 2nd week of the school holiday’s and at this point I may have been going just a little stir crazy, so after weighing things up with my rational and irrational thoughts I bravely decided I would take the kids off to a hut… in the bush… by m-y-s-e-l-f! No iPad or Netflix to fight over out there! HAHA!

This is a tale of how sometimes SH#T HAPPENS!

So I should probably start by mentioning that it was mid-winter and I totally underestimated how muddy the track would be, it was pretty much Woodstock in the rain! *Mental note: make sure your children are wearing shoes that fit them properly. This is probably obvious!  However, unbeknownst to me, my youngest son grabbed his favorite hand me downs that were actually 2 sizes too large. Let’s just say we spent an inordinate amount of time fishing his shoes out of the mud because they kept getting sucked off  …. “Yay, who’s having fun”?

 

Ever the optimist, I was hoping to see smoke rising from the chimney when we were getting close to the hut, but there was no one there …. There was also NO fireplace!😲 Which probably also explains the why the car park and therefore the hut were empty!!! I don’t know how I missed that little fact!

We had about an hour before dark so the kids enjoyed mucking around, carving their walking sticks into sharp points and trying but failing to set alight the outdoor fire 🔥. Meanwhile I cooked our very basic fare of rice risotto, which we ate outside as the sky darkened. It was about this time that my 7-year-old fell to bits and wanted to go home (it was all too scary and unfamiliar). Too lighten the mood I pranked the boys by asking them to turn the lights on! That joke never gets old 😂. So with the kids feeling upset and to avoid getting cold I decided we should all go to go bed and snuggle up. That’s when the kids realized I hadn’t brought a book! More tears… I had to carry everything except the kids sleeping bags so I was being thrifty with my packing.

In all honesty being in the hut on our own in the middle of the bush was definitely out of our comfort zones. So… to try to distract the kids (and myself) we took turns making up the end to the book we were reading at home “Grandpas Great escape” by David Walliams. That was really fun and the kids eventually drifted off to sleep. I was almost asleep too when there was an almighty CRASH!..😲😳🙈🙉🙊

Stay tuned for Part 2-tomorrow, when things get a little spooky👻

Click here to read out nutshell about the track information.

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Exploring a new track 🏞 – let go of your expectations 🧘

So I had a great idea to check out a track close by home (<30minute drive) that I hadn’t been on yet. I don’t know about you but sometimes this can make me nervous especially with the kiddies 👧 👦 along – all those “what if’s” that I “like” to fret about. Also I sometimes get put off by track information e.g. 5 hour advanced walk, (advanced usually means there is a stream crossing).

Anyway on this day I chose to adventure along the Waitengaue track, which I selected from a print out I have of the Kaimai to Coast brochure off the DOC website. It stated that it was a 4 hour walk one way and after following a fence line it would meet a suspension bridge over the Wairoa stream, then further along there would be other stream crossings.

I thought 🤔 “the kids will love the suspension bridge and we’ll just walk as much or as little as suits”, who would have thought that you could take on a walk and it was ok not to do the whole thing 💡????  Though after 10-15 minutes of walking along the track, fence line on one side and the pretty Wairoa stream on the other, we got to the “suspension bridge” ……

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No bridge – all that remained were the old support structures, hmmmm that wasn’t what I was expecting. The stream wasn’t too large but after some deliberation, the kids weren’t keen to cross or keep going so we headed back. Along the way back many pine cones were collected and used as “pooh sticks” in the stream back at the car park.

So the lesson here is that its ok to try something new and it not turn out how you thought it would. Letting go of my expectations and the limitations I sometimes put in place, enabled me to just relax, go with the flow and enjoy a cool, even if short, adventure. But it’s still me – organised and prepared with a map etc “just in case” 🤣.

I like to prime myself by saying “it’s just a walk” – Nutty 

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