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The race is on for walking festival

Enthusiastic walkers gathered on Saturday for the 2023 Walking Festival’s programme launch, packing the Carterton Events Centre to standing room only.

Those attending heard talks about Maori explorers, early European walkers and the launch of the many walks scheduled for the festival this November.

This is the third such festival, with over 40 walks facilitated last year.

Walking advocate and MC at the launch, Celia Wade-Brown said she was thrilled with Saturday’s turnout.

“We didn’t have enough chairs, it was great. People are beginning to know about it and know that they have to get in early for the popular walks.”

Hopeful that the festival would bring an increase in out-of-towners, Wade-Brown said there was a large range of walks available.

“There are some serious tramping tracks and then some that are more on the coffee
side,” Wade-Brown said.

“We’ve got iwi lead walks, early settlers, Pacific and rainbow walks. They’re not just for those groups of people, they’re for people who are interested and allies too.”

Wade-Brown said numbers on some walks were limited, but others were more relaxed about registration.

“For example, on the Fensham Botany and Birds walk, you want to actually be able to hear the birds,” Wade-Brown said.

“Others, like the inaugural walk around Henley Lake, it’s the more the merrier.”

Times of some walks have even been adjusted to fit in with public transport schedules and work in with free buses, something Wade-Brown said was to make them as accessible as possible.

“Greater Wellington has sponsored some free buses and Transit have been incredibly helpful,” Wade-Brown said.

“It means to get to Castlepoint, or the Pūtangirua Pinnacles, people don’t have to drive and they can catch a bus. Travel costs are high for people.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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