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Thread: The Outdoor Lifestyle?

  1. #1
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    Default The Outdoor Lifestyle?

    We're hoping to lead healthier, more outdoorsy lifestyles in NZ. Probably a lot of people moving from the UK hope for the same thing.

    Was that something you hoped for? Have things actually worked out well for you, or have your outdoorsy lifestyle plans been blown off course?

    What would you say the advantages and disadvantages of NZ for outdoor activities, and were you surprised by anything compared with what you expected?

    Any and all thoughts and comments welcome.

    Peter

  2. #2
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    Hello.

    If you make two more posts, you will have access to an extra forum where people have given blow by blow details of building their own homes. And there are other old threads to find - Search box at top right will help.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Berry View Post
    We're hoping to lead healthier, more outdoorsy lifestyles in NZ. Probably a lot of people moving from the UK hope for the same thing.

    Was that something you hoped for? Have things actually worked out well for you, or have your outdoorsy lifestyle plans been blown off course?
    We came to NZ for an increased and cheaper outdoor lifestyle. My husband is an ex-farmer Kiwi and really needs to be outside most of the day. I'm from California and led a very "beachy" lifestyle. Moving to NZ has just amped that up for us. Almost all of our weekend activities happen outside. We camp, tramp, fish, swim, bike, walk and more. We live in a small town by the sea where almost everyone we know does the same things. There are so many easy day walks (in addition to extensive tramping) in our area that we are spoilt for choice.

    The wonderful thing about NZ is that there are so many inexpensive options for camping. DOC has an extensive system of trails all over the nation. They often have long drops, water supply (treated and untreated), inexpensive and sometimes free huts and many natural wonders that are accessible and protected. In addition, regional councils often have their own reserves that have camping areas and permanent or seasonal caretakers living there. There are even privately owned camps that have very comfortable amenities. If you want an outdoor lifestyle here, you don't have to look far for it.

    What would you say the...disadvantages of NZ for outdoor activities, and were you surprised by anything compared with what you expected?
    I'm the kind of person who either has to live in a big, busy city or in a very small town; I really dislike "suburban sprawl". I find the cities and large towns of NZ have more of a "suburban" feel. This was a disadvantage to the outdoor lifestyle I was looking for when we first moved here. We lived in one of these towns and I felt very stifled. I found it to be similar on a much smaller scale to SoCal. The disappointment was that it wasn't different enough. Most people drove everywhere and there wasn't close access to a wide variety of outdoor activities. I'm trying not to overstate this because that doesn't mean we didn't have any outdoorsy things to do; I just mean that we had to drive to do most activities. Where we live now, even if we want to have a lazy weekend at home, we have access to a wide variety of things to do outside besides gardening. For example, we live 5 minutes from a reserve on the beach but we still go there often to camp overnight just for fun and something to do. We have young children and this is how we get them ready for camping.

    Another disadvantage is that I'm an avid bicycle rider but in the vein of Grant Petersen. Similarly to SoCal, I find that people who are into bicycle riding here are pretty full on into the racing culture of it. However, that could just be the people I know so far. In a small community it sometimes takes a while to find that niche you fit into because it could be the riders like me are in the next town over and I just haven't come across them yet.

    Overall, I'd say NZ has lived up to our outdoorsy expectations.

  4. #4
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    I want to add that it is disappointing how many rivers are polluted to the point that they are dangerous to swim in.

  5. #5
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    I think the main thing is to not expect the outdoorsy lifestyle to just happen to you: you still have to go and do it. If you are so inclined wherever you are now, you will most likely do outdoor stuff already (you know, the will and way and all that). If you are not interested where you are at the moment (because it is too far away, not exciting, you don't have the time, the kids don't want to join you, etc), I suspect it will be similar here. At least that has been my experience with people who live here and have moved here.

    And while the walk from were we live now leads to something green or beachy quicker than in London, to do some more serious tramping involves a drive (about an hour), and of course the amount of stuff to take for our family that resembles moving day... No one I know (including us) who moved here is actually doing as much outdoors as they thought they would: there's still everyday life to contend with, regardless of the country you're in.

    But the outdoors are definitely out there

    Daniela

  6. #6
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    We never came for the outdoors lifestyle but we spend more time outdoors now than we did in the UK. Having access to numerous beaches means we often spend a lot of time there with the kids, we go on walks with a backpack full of sausages/burgers, frying pan & a camp stove & stop half way for a bite to eat. We don't do tramps as yet just long leisurely walks. The outdoors also worries me a bit, I feel as if in the UK you could walk most places & it would be relatively safe but out here you could go for a walk & find yourself lost in the wilderness, I had a friend who went for a walk with another friend & took a wrong path & bang they ended up overnight & having to be rescued & they knew what they were doing.

  7. #7
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    My experience differs from the above; if I'm very honest I think there are just as many, and possibly more, barriers to an 'outdoorsy' lifestyle here than in the UK. In the UK we had the Quantocks on our doorstep and were up in them several times a week and took the kids out walking whatever the weather from very young. Rain and cold you can just dress up for and get out there regardless but we were very much looking forward to a warmer climate that would make camping and walking and being in the garden more enjoyable. The climate here is generally nicer imo but there is a real absence of places to just wander. You can do a 3 day wilderness tramp or do a 20min boardwalk loopwalk but footpaths and access to countryside is very limited. Also, outside of the national parks the countryside is not very inspiring to walk in as it's a lot of unchanging sheep paddocks (though perhaps this is different outside of the Waikato and Hawkes Bay, which are both quite rural) and there is not the biodiversity you find in a wander along a green lane and through the beech woods in England. On the other hand the beaches are wonderful and when you can access the bush, that's pleasant to walk in too.
    At home I have really enjoyed gardening because the climate is so ideal for growing stuff that required so much input in the UK; here you just throw seeds in, sit back and watch! On the other hand mosquitoes and high UV have kept me out of the garden almost as much as rain and cold did in the UK.
    Our kids are less outdoorsy than they were 6 yrs ago without a doubt. We are really looking forward to English countryside again! But we will miss eating dinner outside for 8 months of the year and growing capsicum and basil and watermelon.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kanga View Post
    The climate here is generally nicer imo but there is a real absence of places to just wander. You can do a 3 day wilderness tramp or do a 20min boardwalk loopwalk but footpaths and access to countryside is very limited. Also, outside of the national parks the countryside is not very inspiring to walk in as it's a lot of unchanging sheep paddocks (though perhaps this is different outside of the Waikato and Hawkes Bay, which are both quite rural) and there is not the biodiversity you find in a wander along a green lane and through the beech woods in England.
    That is definitely different from the South Island.

  9. #9
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    My experience is more similar to Kanga's (North Island) regarding access to the countryside: there are walkways and tracks in the parks, but in general, the land is private and you cannot walk across it. I found it, in parts, quite annoying along the Coromandel coast to look for public access to the beach, seemed hard to come by. Of course if you go to the Waitakeres, there are enough tracks to last you several seasons, but there is no roaming allowed, nor is there the odd 'Public Footpath' sign pointing across a field with clearly no proper 'path' here as there is in the UK.

    Personally, I am also quite scared of the countryside! Getting lost is a real worry of mine as we normally try to walk in forest/bush and of course that means I always totally overpack: stuff for warm weather if it is warm, cold (just in case), rain (always), swim suits for the waterhole, food, first aid, emergency blanket... (and all that times six) even a short-ish two hour walk that would normally require nothing more than a water bottle and a muesli bar to bribe chilren turns into quite the expedition for me.

    Daniela

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwieagle View Post
    That is definitely different from the South Island.
    We spent a couple of months on the SI over ten years ago and it wasn't much different. The scenery of NZ is unbeatable, incredible, a photo at every turn but to actually amble in with your family it is not as accessible as the UK. I note you arrived from California so perhaps you don't have the same comparison- we lived in rural Herefordshire and Somerset.

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