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Do something special, Walk1200km

Image of the October 2021 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
October 2021 Issue

Are you ready for a big, yet achievable challenge? Let's all Walk1200km over the next 12 months.

To celebrate Wilderness’s 30th anniversary, we wanted to do something special. Not just for you to read, but for you to do.

Walk1200km is a unique challenge that we hope as many Kiwis as possible will take up. Put simply, for the next 12 months, and beyond, the goal is for you to walk as far as you can – whether that be 500km, 1200km or even more. 

But why? Actually, the real question is why not? Regular walking, especially in nature, is a proven brain booster. It’s also good for your physical and mental health. 

The beauty of this challenge is that it’s something you can do on your own, in your own time but because Wilderness and thousands of our readers, and even your own family members, will be doing it too, you’ll never truly be alone. 

Wilderness will support your effort to meet your weekly and monthly targets. Each month we’ll be publishing your stories, sharing your photos (see Last Weekend) and offering you the chance to win outdoor prizes from our partners to ensure you stay on track.

Use the Progress Tracker in this issue to keepa a record of your daily distances. Register and join the Walk1200km Facebook group so we can support  and inspire each other through the challenge. 

Things to remember 

  • You can start the challenge whenever you like.
  • You don’t have to go bush – start walking out your front door. It’s not a competition – it’s your challenge.
  • Walk the greatest cumulative distance you can – 1200km is the goal, but any decent effort is worth celebrating.
  • If you can help motivate others, do it: share the challenge with your friends and family.
  • Walk every day, even if it’s just a few hundred metres. This means you won’t have any motivation-sapping gaps in your Progress Tracker and you can make up the distance later.
  • Share your success – if people see you doing it, they will be more motivated themselves. Send us your photos, tell us your stories, join the Facebook group.

Next steps

  1. Stick the Progress Tracker somewhere you won’t forget it.
  2. Register for Walk1200km to receive regular motivation and prize opportunities.
  3. Join the Walk1200km Facebook group.
  4. Start walking!

How far is 1200km?

Walking 1200km sounds like an insurmountable challenge, so let’s break it down:

Over a year, 1200km is 3.30km a day,which is about 40 minutes of walking at an average speed of 5km/h. In Auckland, that’s the equivalent of walking from the Viaduct to the Auckland War Memorial Museum in the Domain. In Wellington, that’s walking from Parliament to Te Papa and back, or walking from the Wellington railway station to the Mt Victoria lookout. 

In Christchurch, it’s the equivalent of walking along the Avon River from Victoria Square to Hagley Park and back. And in Dunedin, it’s the distance from the Esplanade to the end of St Clair Beach 

at Lawyers Head. It’s also roughly the length of the Mt Maunganui Summit Walk.

But you don’t have to tick off your weekly total in small daily increments. Over a week, the total walking target is 23km, meaning one long day walk on the weekend could also wipe off a big chunk of your weekly total. The Roys Peak Track is 16km, which would make up 70 per cent of your weekly walking in one trip. The Rangitoto Summit walk via the Rangitoto Coastal Track is a 14.1km loop, knocking off 61 per cent of your weekly total, while the 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing would take up 84 per cent.

For some people, 23km a week may sound like a dawdle. So why not opt for a greater challenge? Try for 1500km or 2000km instead. Or you could try to walk all 1200km in the backcountry on multi-day tramping trips – it’s the equivalent of   walking every Great Walk twice. Or you could walk the 84km Dusky Track 14 times. 

For those who like road walking, SH1 from Auckland to Wellington return is 1284km.

Or you could do it all in one hike. The South Island leg of the Te Araroa is 1400km, getting you over the line with 200km to spare.