Four of the best walking festivals

Far from being a walk on the wild side, the sylvan trail between Matakana and Leigh is pleasantly cool at this time of year. Photo / APN
Far from being a walk on the wild side, the sylvan trail between Matakana and Leigh is pleasantly cool at this time of year. Photo / APN

1. Leigh By the Sea Walks, Anzac weekend

A series of guided walks, some on private land, with marine biologists, botanists and locals who know the area well. Fundraising for the Leigh Volunteer Fire Brigade, the walks include a children's exploration of Matheson Bay and Whangateau Harbour with the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre, a spectacular hike up Mt Tamahunga and more.

2. Warkworth Walks, November 7-9

One of the original weekends, this popular event around Warkworth, Mahurangi, Matakana, Leigh, Puhoi and Kaipara sold out. Planned for all fitness levels, the walks with experienced local guides cover private land and special places, as well as spectacular regional parks. Itineraries are still being finalised, so sign up for updates at warkworthwalks.co.nz.

3. Echo Walks, today and tomorrow

Sadly, this festival around Coromandel, Matamata Piako, Hauraki and South Waikato districts is nearly over. Join the Waikato River trail hike between Arapuni and Karapiro, which leaves Jones Landing Reserve today at 10am, or take in the gentler family-style loop trail, stopping at the famed Rhubarb Cafe. Sign up here for next year.

4. Oxfam Trailwalker, Taupo, this weekend

This crazy team-building walk aims to raise $1 million by June (it's about two-thirds of the way there).

It's billed as a life-changing, team-building, foot-slogging, friendship-forming, group-hugging experience as sponsored teams of four are challenged to walk 100km together in less than 36 hours to help save and improve lives. Donate to a team or follow their progress.

Also worth checking out are self-guided walks around the Coromandel region. See coromandeltown.co.nz and thecoromandel.com.

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