"Going walkabout A walk could cure almost all my blues Bare feet or in my two shoes One, two I think I'll go on a walkabout Find out what it's all about, can't hurt to try Use your legs to rock it wide Take a ride to the other side"

– Walkabout, Red Hot Chilli Peppers

A walkabout is a journey of discovery and of self.

In earlier times, it was known as a rite of passage where male Aborigine adolescents would embark on a journey into the wilderness, sometimes for as long as six months. Studies indicate our ancestors walked around 12-15km per day.

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As a working mother of three sons, one with significant challenges, I also go walkabout.
I need it to cope with the pressure and stress of a life which at times feels overwhelming.

Psychologists and researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons we should go walkabout and spend time in nature.

It has a de-stressing effect, helps eliminate fatigue, fights depression and anxiety, lowers your blood pressure and improves your ability to focus. Outdoor time is associated with a lower risk of early death.

Contact with nature is critical for our physical, mental, social and spiritual health.

Parks and reserves protect green space for current and future generations, enabling people from all walks of life to go walkabout and connect with nature. They are also critically important for the conservation of our native plants and wildlife. Protected natural areas are fundamental to vibrant and healthy communities.

Taranaki is blessed with an abundance of places to go walkabout.

They range from easy walks lasting less than an hour to multi-day tramps.
Good places to start for information are the Department of Conservation and District Council websites and community conservation groups such as Experience Purangi and Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust.

Our region also has two active tramping clubs, New Plymouth Tramping Club and Stratford Tramping Club and Venture Taranaki publishes a great Walkers Guide which is available online.

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I look forward to seeing you on a walkabout. I will be the one trailing a small group of energetic boys with a pack full of supplies.