By Gabrielle Young
Walking by Nature has recently rebranded to Terra & Tide, launching sea-based experiences alongside our premium land-based offerings. With a focus on ‘slow tourism,’ Terra & Tide is aimed at Kiwis who want a chance to relax, rejuvenate and mindfully experience the natural wonders of their own backyard.
Five years ago, I quit my high-pressure corporate job. I went walking alone for a month from the top to the bottom of the South Island. I felt an immense increase in my wellbeing during those lone hours walking. While I was appreciating the nature around me, I decided I had to offer others a similar experience.
My new business was christened Walking by Nature, with the aim of helping visitors to Waiheke Island explore the natural surroundings on foot with an expert guide.
After a few years, and reflecting on the values and mission of the business, it became clear that I needed to rebrand to mirror the dual focus on the land and sea.
Terra & Tide continues to host internationally applauded guided and self-guided, single-day and multi-day walking tours and forest therapy tours, but now we also offer private charter day trips to the outer Hauraki Gulf. These are hosted by my husband Bruce and me, aboard our 41-foot sailing catamaran Pacific Star, based at Waiheke Island.
Bruce and I want to connect people with nature, while sharing our appreciation for conservation and the environment. We offer boat cruises that are not fishing tours, because we want to protect the Hauraki Gulf.
Over the summer months, up to 12 guests can discover the outer Hauraki Gulf aboard Pacific Star on a day excursion, exploring Waiheke Island and the Outer Gulf. The trip can include a guided walk on Waiheke or a nearby pest-free island, swimming, snorkelling and paddleboarding. Guests will learn about sailing, with the opportunity to take the helm or trim the sails, all while spotting seabirds, dolphins, and even the occasional whale.
A day out on the water is not complete without a locally produced and catered lunch. These tours also give sailors a chance to discover some of Waiheke’s hidden gems, like Garden Cove, which is only accessible by boat.
If you prefer staying on dry land, Terra & Tide hosts a number of Waiheke-based walking tours that span from a few hours to a few days.
I’m proud of Terra & Tide’s slow tourism model and the way it works to protect the community we share with our guests. We try to use our tours to educate walkers and sailors on different environmental and conservation initiatives happening on the island and in the Hauraki Gulf.
I want every person who takes a tour with us, whether by land or sea, to leave with a deeper understanding of Waiheke. It’s very important to us that in tourism, we give back more than we take away. For example, we’re thrilled to share our own conservation efforts to protect DoC land in the Hekerua Reserve, a project we started in 2018 with our team and other locals.
Terra & Tide also offers guided Forest Therapy walks, and I have been an internationally accredited nature and forest therapy guide since 2016. Forest Therapy offers a sensory, mindful experience where walkers are encouraged to connect with nature and themselves. The benefits of Forest Therapy are becoming more widely recognised for enhancing health and wellbeing.
Physical and mental wellbeing can be hugely improved by immersing yourself in nature, be that on the water or on land. Nature has almost magical restorative powers where you find yourself with no choice but to instinctively relax, breathe and give yourself space to find perspective and peace.
Terra & Tide is incredibly excited to share these unique and unseen experiences with New Zealanders. Whether it’s to reconnect with nature or gain a better understanding of the environment, we welcome the chance to share our island and its waters with you.
Along with our sailing trips and Forest Therapy, Tide & Terra continues to offer a range of guided walks for every fitness level, age group and interest – including themed walks featuring vineyards, artists, beach and bush.