It took me a little while to get a handle on the New Zealand term 'trekking' as many of our New Zealand young writers spoke of trekking and it seemed something of a national pastime.
Trekking it seems to this Aussie now having read of it over the past three years by our Kiwi young writers, is something akin to Australian bushwalking and camping out with a tightly packed two person tent firmly stashed away in the haversack.
Our Press Service International New Zealand young writers and New Zealand Panellists speaking of trekking as if it is something every young Kiwi has done at some time, part of the national ritual when growing up.
Into the haversack goes all things trekking from cooking utensils, food for several days, warm socks, toilet paper, and the rest of it. Hardy types these Kiwi's as when they go trekking there is nothing but paths, well trod mind you.
Every generation treks them, every generation endures the pioneer spirit syndrome, every generation walks, and walks, and walks, and walks, unpacks, set up the tents, get the fire going, make the meal, takes huge breaths of that fresh trekking air, for several days or two weeks (or whatever) and then tell the biggest whoppers when they get back as to how wonderful it all was!
Those who listen to this tripe, get the urge, and the exercise is repeated for a fresh group of hazard seekers led by the ultra convinced who can't get enough of it. Well, you know what I mean.
In my case, when growing up. It wasn't the trekking bit, but the mandatory camping bit that did nothing for my self esteem. My parents were avid campers whether we lived in Mackay Queensland or in Canberra, a camping we would go.
One favourite spot was on the Hulm Reservoir near Yass (fishing on the lake). Another was on the south coast at Burrill Lakes on the beach over the summer holidays (near Ulludulla). Another was on the southern highlands near Mittagong and Bundanoon (bushwalking to the waterfalls).
There was no choice offered. The family went camping, I went camping. The family went bush walking, I went bush walking. The family went waterfall viewing, I went waterfall viewing. The sleeping situation in the tent was not my favourite thing (way too frightened as a kid of all those creepy crawlers). The endless walking wasn't to my delight either – get me on a hockey field and spring around the paddock for 90 minutes, that I could, I had a specific goal, score goals.
Somehow I couldn't get my mind around the idea of goals when bush walking to view a waterfall particularly having to walk up long steep pathways and then back down again. There was a no scoreboard to be viewed. Perhaps, if it was today, I could send a Twitter: "Arrived at waterfall. Seen it. Great. Now lets get back."
My story is a simple one. I promised myself that when I grew up, bush walking and camping would be OUT! 5 Star Motels would be IN. We can all dream about such things! Although I never went camping with my kids, they each got the camping bug at some time and went with friends. Once!
Top camp spots
In a recent article in the New Zealand Herald, The NZ Department of Conservation has revealed its 10 most-popular campsites.
the Central Plateau,
Golden Bay and
Aoraki-Mt Cook -
These offer a mix of golden sand beaches, pristine swimming holes and glimpses of some of our most beloved native flora and fauna.
These sites attract an eager 50,000 visitors, whereas another list attracts about 100 - DoC also has a list of hidden gems - the 10 least-used campsites that attract fewer than 100 hardy visitors a year. Just one on that list is in the North Island; the Piripiri campsite in Manawatu's Pohangina Valley. Six of the other sites are in the Marlborough Sounds - Kauauroa Bay, Waiona Bay, Ngaruru Bay, Moawhitu, Mill Arm and Wharehunga – for a better understanding of NZ camping, please refer to the article.
Australian top spots are divided into each State and their lists are also likewise 'almost endless'.
These are just some: The Kimberley's, the Kalgoolie gold fields (WA), the Kakadu (NT) Olgas and Uluru, , Adelaide Hills (SA), Cairns, Eungella, Bundaberg, Gympie, Toowoomba (Qld), Mt Warning, Kempsy, Port Macquarie, Bathurst, Moruya's Duea Valley, Pambula (NSW), pretty well much of Victoria and most of Tasmania.
Getting back to basics
One of the cries associated with trekking and camping is 'getting back to basics'. I recall when retired cricketer Bob Simpson was appointed coach of the Australian cricket team in 1984 his call was one of 'back to basics'.
The modern Pentecostal movement is now viewed by many theologians from across the breadth of the church as a cry for a 'back to basics' for Christian living and church life. Many now have identified the great Christian awakening movements in particular eras as a desperate call for a 'bask to basics' religion.
Many ordinary people understand this all too well, leading their lives with a faith that can grapple with the intricacies of what life brings our way – good and bad, joy and sorrow. High and low, the mundane and the dramatic.
We too are caught up in this, each and every day of our lives.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html