Tauranga City Council staff say approximately one million people walk up and around Mauao each year, making it the largest natural fitness and leisure centre in the Bay of Plenty (BOP Times, 2017).
Locals and tourists regularly make the trek up Mauao, making the most of our ‘natural fitness and leisure centre', and enjoying the experience of exercising outdoors and taking in the stunning 360-degree views.
However, there are a number of people who live in the Bay who have never made the walk to the summit or who may not have walked Mauao for many years.
As part of the Green Prescription programme, participants have the opportunity to take part in the Green Prescription Mauao Trail Challenge. This is a supportive eight-week walking series on the tracks of Mauao, culminating with a walk to the summit in the final week. It is designed for people of all ages with low to medium fitness levels.
The challenge starts with a walk around the base track to assess the group's current fitness level and then over the next eight weeks the distance and difficulty gradually increases.
Mauao stands 232m above sea level and its summit tracks are not a casual stroll. All summit tracks are included in the eight-week programme with the group using different tracks each week. This allows the participants to experience each track and to appreciate the views from every aspect of Mauao – the ocean beach, Pilot Bay, Matakana, Mayor and Motiti Islands.
The Mauao Trail Challenge is a supportive group programme where participants form social connections with others in the group. The group members all support and encourage each other to reach the summit. Everyone reaches the top – no man or woman left behind.
Participants who have attended the challenge over the years have formed firm friendships with other participants and many have gone on to walk regularly together after the completion of the programme.
To find out more about the Green Prescription programme, visit the Sport Bay of Plenty website www.sportbop.co.nz or contact the team on 07 578 0016.