Schedule leaves no time for New Zealand coastal city’s fine recreational paths
I’m in New Zealand to attend the Society of American Travel Writers annual convention that will take place in Wellington on the south end of the North Island. My husband and I are part of a small group exploring wineries and restaurants of the Hawke’s Bay/Napier region for a few days before the convention. Particularly in light of the abundant food and drink, I miss my daily Nordic Walk. My tummy and taste buds are happy, but otherwide, I feel like a slug, eating, drinking and being driven around. The realization is painful, but without time to walk and stretch, it has become awkward to hop on and off the motorcoach.
The schedule is too tight to get for more than a very, very short stroll even now and again. If I had any time beyond a few minutes , I would try to connect with a group of local walkers who could tell me about their lives in their lovely little city. New Zealand in general and central New Zealand in particular have many such groups. Or, if I had time here, my poles and I might explore the miles of paved recreation paths around Napier. Funded by the Rotary Club and the city, the prettiest part follows the seafront for miles. I saw a group of fitness walkers striding down the path sans poles but with matching T-shirts, and Nordic Walking New Zealand offers courses in the Napier/Hawke’s Bat area.
The Rotary Pathway Trust was formed in 2002 to create combined walk and cycleways in much of the city and outskirts with links accessing much of the Hawke’s Bay area, where possible utilizing paths that were in place before the project was begun, hard beach frontages, rural roads and riverbanks.
Paths are generally 2.5 meters wide, are suitable for all weather conditions and are well defined using concrete, lime sand and asphal pavement. The routes are landscaped amd provide seating, drinking fountains, signage maps and information, exercise areas and shelter, and they are well lit around Marine Parade and other high-use areas.
There is currently a flat coastal route of about 25 miles to and through the picturesque coastal communities of Haumoana, Te Awanga and Clifton, including well-known Cape Kidnappers. Much, most or all of it seems suitable for walking. The inland Tukituki River Valley loop is described as “a flat off-road trail that overlooks vineyards on one side and the river on the other. It boasts changing scenery and views of the impressive Te Mata Peak, expansive Pacific Ocean views, world class wineries and beautiful countryside.”
I’ve seen much of this countryside through the bus window, and if I had time to explore on foot as well, I’d have shot at working off some of the wonderful food and wine. As it is, one of my “walks” was down the street from the hotel (actually, small apartments operated by Quest) to a clothing shop to buy new pants with an elastic waist.