Home is where the heart is... Heather Chapman walked 120km to get home early this month.

The walking enthusiast walked from Clevedon, Auckland to her old stomping ground Waihi in a five-day, fundraising walkathon.

Heather, nee Saunders, is in her 70s. She has a long history with Waihi. Her grandparents came to Waihi to work in the gold mine, her parents were born here and this is where she lived until her 20s. Her brother John lives in the family home.

''That connection with Waihi is a strong one so for me. It felt like I was walking home.''
Heather took on the distance walk to raise money for New Zealand Red Cross. She raised $3650.


Friends and family joined her for each leg of her trip. She walked 25km a day and drove home to Clevedon at night.

Her journey started Clevedon to Paparimu across the Hunua ranges. The next day was from Paparimu to the Red Fox Tavern, third day was from the tavern to Ngātea, fourth day Ngātea to Paeroa and the last leg was along the Rail Trail from Paeroa to Waihi.

A big group of friends and family joined her on the last leg, including John.

They celebrated that night in the family home.

Two years ago with husband Mark (also from Waihi), she walked 800km on the Camino De Santiago (a pilgrim walk from France through Spain ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia).

This year they walked 350km from Portugal to Santiago.

Being a seasoned walker Heather wanted the walk for Red Cross to be a ''decent distance''.

''We have done a bit of walking. The Red Cross put out a challenge for people to make a commitment to walk 10,000 steps a day for 20 days and get sponsors... I felt that wasn't a big challenge so decided I'd make my own challenge and get sponsors.''