Exploring your backyard

Whether it’s walking, cycling, or joining in the craze of geocaching, some of the Bay of Plenty’s most popular outdoor activities can be found right on the doorstep of Pacific Coast and Pacific Lakes Villages.

Regular physical activity for over 65s helps to increase muscle strength, flexibility, balance and coordination, and helps to reduce the risk of falls. And when you live in one of the sunniest places in the country, why not do it outdoors?

Walking
There’s nothing like a stroll along Papamoa Beach, but if you’re looking for something a little more challenging the Papamoa Hills Regional Park covers 135ha, overlooking Papamoa and offering
breathtaking views of the coastline.  It’s a steep walk from the carpark to the trig station, but the views are worth the effort. There are several other trails where you can explore the archaeological treasures here, including seven pa sites where Papamoa’s original Ma−ori inhabitants lived.  Entry to the park is at the end of Poplar Lane off SH2 between Papamoa and Te Puke and it’s open daily from 6.30am-7pm in winter and until 9pm in summer.

Geocaching
If treasure hunting was something you liked to do as a child, then you’ll love geocaching! Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants download an app
and navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates to find the geocache, a waterproof container hidden at that location containing a log book and sometimes small items to exchange.
To play, go to www.geocaching.com/play and select a cache you'd like to find. The website will list a description, some map coordinates and possibly cryptic instructions for locating the container. When you find the cache, record your find in the log book, and later record it on the website. There are hundreds of geocaches around Tauranga, including several in the Papamoa Hills Regional Park.

Cycling
The flat roads in Papamoa means road cycling from the village is a breeze, but if you want to get off the beaten track there is some great off-road cycling to be had locally too. Bay of Plenty Community Trails www.boptrail.org has mapped out several rides and Tauranga City Council also has a great cycle network www.tauranga.govt.nz/exploring/transportation-androads/cycling.

If your cycling skills are a bit rusty, the council’s road safety arm, Travel Safe, runs a programme called BikeReady which helps adults gain confidence. Phone the council, 07 577 7000, for more information.  And if you’d prefer to ride in a group, check out the cycling groups on the Sport Bay of Plenty website, some of which specifically cater for over 60s. www.getinvolvedsportbop.co.nz.

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