On the right-hand edge of the North Island of New Zealand, where the Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa meet the sea, there are two remote, rugged and rolling farms. Their owners welcome groups of walkers with comfortable accommodation, excellent food and generous spirits. I’ve just returned from three days on the Akitio Glenora walk across private farmland ranging through grassy paddocks, native bush and down to the coast. We were blessed with continuous sunshine, stunning vistas at every turn and spotted a morepork in a tree. Our group of seven gorgeous girls walked between 11 and 15 kms each day and we could make good progress as the tracks are well defined and even without reference to the maps provided, the route is well sign posted. We stayed in a different lodge each night, the most basic of which required sleeping bags, but still provided a flush toilet, hot shower and full cooked evening meal. For me it was the perfect combination of freedom and care – breakfast, lunch and dinner provided, bags carried but no urgency to start the day’s walk early as the distance was easily achievable and could accommodate an afternoon swim or nap under a tree as the urge took us. At this time of year most of our group opted for running shoes or light walking shoes. I was happy to stick with tramping boots even though they were hot and the creeks we crossed were all dry. The walk will take groups of between four and eight walkers, usually for four days.
It was a wonderful experience and gave us the opportunity to connect with each other and our environment in a way that we rarely do. The walk’s remoteness (60kms from Dannevirke) adds to its appeal, but does make it a fairly long drive from Wellington. You can always stop in Greytown for an excellent cup of tea or a spot of shoe shopping to break the journey. However one of the great The Myths of Happiness is that buying things will make us happy. Spending our money on experiences, particularly those shared with those we love, is guaranteed to enhance our lives. I’ve also enjoyed the Tararua Walk, the Tora Coastal Walk, the Banks Peninsula Track and the Outer Queen Charlotte Track along similar lines and these are all among some of the best New Zealand walks.