Top eight things to do these summer holidays to connect with nature

Most people will be looking forward to relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends these summer holidays. With this in mind, I pulled together my top eight things to do to connect with nature from taking a walk to find your inner nature, to reading a book about nature, hugging a tree, visiting local walking or cycle trails, or taking a trip further afield. 

There are plenty of opportunities here and some are for very little cost. 

  1. Find your inner nature

    Turanga Gardens are peaceful and easy walking with heaps of different tracks for the kids to explore.

    Read my story for Gizzy Local.
  1. Read a book

    I recommend ‘Nature and well-being in Aotearoa New Zealand’ by Catherine Knight who advocates for more natural spaces in cities, towns, and backyards. For a review and where you can buy a copy of the book read my blog
  1. For something a little different, maybe hug a tree

    It really makes you feel better! Read my blog.  There’s also a great World Wildlife Fund article about forest bathing that might give you ideas as well. 
  1. Take the family for a walk around the Cooks Cove Walkway at Tolaga Bay

    While you are enjoying the walk, learn about the Māori and European history at the cove through reading the stories on the signage in the waharoa/gateway and on the walkway. One of the highlight projects that I have worked on and a real asset to the East Coast. 
  1. Cycle the Motu or Rere Falls Cycle Trails 

    For the enthusiastic cyclist wanting to try something different or find out more about these remote areas of Tairāwhiti Gisborne.  Rere Rockslide and Rere Falls along with Eastwoodhill are along the Rere Cycle Trail so ensure you stop to check them out. Read the signage on the trails that tell of the history of these places. I was lucky enough to work on these and feel very proud of how they look.
  1. Tupapa Heritage Trail

    Explore the Tupapa heritage trail to discover the stunning natural environment and many unique stories of Turanganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne).  Download the app and take a digital tour of the fascinating history. 
  1. Visit Nelson Tasman 

    It is rich in heritage and nature. I loved it and wrote about my trip there in November 2020 in my blog.  The pancake rocks at Punakaiki were amazing and makes for some great photo opportunities. 
  1. Ulva Island off Stewart Island in the South Island 

    This is a bird sanctuary like no other.  While you visit Stewart Island make sure to catch a water taxi to Ulva Island. It’s got various walking options that take you to some idyllic beaches and along the way see native birds including the kereru, kaka, and weka.

    Make sure you know before you go, be prepared, check the weather, wear the right footwear and clothing and take food/water to keep you sustained while you are outdoors

I would love to hear about your experiences if you connect with nature during these holidays.  

“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer … one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near perfection as anything can come in this world.” – L.M. Montgomery

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