Walking the walk | Duke of Edinburgh award team

22nd December 2021|3min

Working through the medals of the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award is a rewarding challenge. At each medal level, participants are required to complete overnight tramps - they do everything from the planning, organising and of course, doing the tramp. The award’s media advisor, Jenny Mitchell, used the Plan My Walk app to help plan her first tramp towards her Bronze medal. Read about her journey.  

I’ve always loved nature and prioritise getting outdoors to keep my body and brain happy. But, I had never quite got around to planning a tramp until Labour Weekend 2021! At the beginning of the long weekend, myself and 11 others (including several Bronze and Silver Award Alumni) headed to Napier for an overnight tramp to Mangatainoko Hot Springs - just past Te Puia Hut.  

The experienced trampers of the group provided great tips for packing to the few of us who were very much out of our comfort zones, with a clear focus on the importance of snacks. Along with their advice, I loved using Plan My Walk to get an idea of how challenging the tramp itself would be and the gear list was invaluable to a first timer like myself! It was also super handy to have an accurate, reliable weather forecast in the palm of my hand while packing and planning.

Jenny Mitchell all geared up for her first overnight tramp. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Jenny Mitchell all geared up for her first overnight tramp. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

While preparing for our walk, I quickly realised how expensive a first tramping experience can be but I discovered there is some top-notch outdoors gear on TradeMe and Facebook marketplace. Plan My Walk’s Gear function allowed me to tick off each important item and ensure I’d have the right clothing to keep me warm and dry. Whatever the weather!  

The track itself was challenging but walking together as a team was a real buzz. Something I hadn’t experienced before and now can’t wait to feel again! Having access to alerts and updates on Plan My Walk gave me peace of mind as we embarked on our journey into the wilderness. I’d highly recommend that trampers of all experience levels check out this app feature.  

The opportunity to switch off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, immerse myself in nature, and the dreamy Mangatainoko Hot Springs, honestly made for one of the best weekends of my life. If you think you’d like to give tramping a go, Te Puia Hut is a great place to start.  

Jenny's tramping group on track. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Jenny's tramping group on track. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Jenny's top tips for your first tramp:  
  • Make sure your pack is as light as possible 
  • Make the most of the Gear list on Plan My Walk (the lists are specific to each walk) 
  • The one piece of gear I didn’t take but wish I did was an inflatable mattress. We opted to camp behind the Hot Springs and my bed roll didn’t quite provide the comfort I was after. I recommend you investigate this if you’re a person who needs a good night sleep! 
  • Prioritise good communication with your group so you know you’re not doubling up, or missing, any important items 
  • Good socks can drastically improve your happiness. 

Learn more about The Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award and encourage those between the ages of 14-24years old to get involved.