We are so lucky: Auckland is well-placed for getting out into nature fairly quickly.
I recently walked the Okura River track, which is absolutely stunning, and an easy 3.5 hour walk, easily accessible to anyone living on the North Shore. In addition to all the walks, ranging from half an hour to all day on the Shore, or in the Waitakere or Hunua ranges, there are also excellent day trips to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf which offer easy walking trails and stunning views. Just make sure you pack enough food and drink – most of these places are comparatively remote from any shops!
For the serious hiker, there are the overnight and multi-day hikes in Tongariro National Park or you can walk all (or just the more local sections) of the 3000km long Te Araroa trail which traverses New Zealand.
Regular exercise is key for building up your stamina. And it is important to both be realistic about your fitness level and to equip yourself with everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors. To be under-prepared or lacking the right gear can lead to a pretty miserable day! Preparation and safety are key. The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council’s “Outdoor Safety Code” suggests you: 1) plan your trip, 2) tell someone your plans, 3) be aware of the weather, 4) know your limits and 5) take sufficient supplies.
Irrespective of how long you are going to be outdoors, it is important to dress appropriately for the weather – which in New Zealand is notoriously changeable. Be prepared for any weather event with light warm layers, waterproof layers and comfortable footwear – including socks! Hikers should avoid cotton and instead wear materials designed to wick moisture. In addition to the footwear Merrell is renowned for, we also offer a range of technical apparel options from merino-rich base layers through to wicking fleeces, light waterproof shells and well-insulated puffer jackets.
Our extensive range of socks has been designed for athletic use, summer hiking or cold weather hiking. All our socks are uniquely engineered to be durable, sweat-wicking, fast-drying and friction-reducing, resulting in fewer hot-spots, less chafing and a hugely reduced chance of blistering.
If you are a newbie to the outdoors, essential items are a waterproof, breathable hard shell plus comfortable footwear which is is fit for purpose (i.e. waterproof for hikes across wet, muddy terrain, or offering stability and traction for trail running).
For the “expert” hikers, we have our Pack Hike range of boots which are waterproof and offer a sole that gives traction as well as cushioning, and an EVA contoured footbed for comfort. For women, we also have the waterproof Chameleon Arc 2 Rival which has a moulded nylon arch shank and an air cushion in the heel for comfort and stability.
Why don’t you prioritise outdoor activities this summer? If you leave it to chance, often life gets in the way. So, get yourself sorted with gear that allows you to be comfortable outdoors, whatever the weather, do your research about where you want to go, pack what you need for the day (not forgetting sunscreen and insect repellent to deal with our typical New Zealand conditions!) and then make a point of getting out there!