Pirongia-based First Step Outdoors planned to host the inaugural Women's Only Adventure Day next month at Pirongia Forest Park Lodge. Already, it is so popular a second day has been added.
The event is being held to give local women the opportunity to enjoy archery, abseiling, climbing and zip lining. The fun day out includes a lunch, goodie bag and spot prizes.
First Step Outdoors owner and operator Kate Parr says it will be great to have some activity again after so many cancellations due to Covid.
Kate has been Pirongia Park Lodge warden for 16 years, and started First Step Outdoors when compliance and health and safety considerations for the outdoor adventure industry became too onerous for Park Lodge trustees and volunteers.
While Kate says her focus is on adventure and education rather than adventure tourism, there is still a lot to get right.
She has worked hard to get on top of the regulations, and is registered with WorkSafe to provide a range of activities, including almost exclusive access to the stunning Karamu Caves.
First Step Outdoors now runs activity and team-building days, camps and training for groups including schools, special-interest associations, youth groups, corporates and families.
Many activities are run out of Pirongia Forest Park Lodge, but they also offer the local caving experiences, tramping, and bush skills, and are the sole deliverers of the High Ropes at Lake Karāpiro – Mighty River Domain.
Kate says her timing in taking over the ropes at Karāpiro was terrible.
"Covid lockdowns came straight after and we lost all the bookings that had been handed on from the previous operator," she says.
"It has been slow work bringing people back to the outdoors."
But the response to the Women's Only Adventure Day is giving her hope.
And the idea came from women themselves.
'We run a lot of camps and activity days for schools and youth groups," says Kate.
"The mums who volunteer on these days have often said they would love to have a go at the activities, so we decided to run our own event.
"We know from research and our own experience that women do not participate as much in sports and outdoor activities.
"For some women there are cultural considerations as well, so our all-female event, including all-female instructors, offers a fun, safe and supportive environment to give these activities a go.
"We know that being out in nature and physical activity are so important to our overall wellbeing/hauroa," says Kate.
"We plan to have lots of fun. It will be a great day out for a group of girlfriends, or just come along and hang out with like-minded women."
The sold-out day is on Saturday, June 18, and bookings are now also being taken for Sunday, June 19 - from 8.30am to 4.30pm at the stunning Pirongia Forest Park Lodge.
Tickets for the day are $100 a person. This includes four activities: archery, abseiling, climbing, zip line as well as lunch and goodie bag. A moderate level of fitness is required, and participants will be required to wear a range of personal protective equipment.
To book, go to the First Step Outdoors Facebook page, email email@example.com or visit www.firststepoutdoors.com