Cool Aunt Playbook: Family Camping in the NZ Backcountry
When people ask me where I live, I always respond with “the road worldwide.”
My career as an adventure photographer has me constantly on the move, and this transient nature—whilst it brings me extraordinary beautiful moments—also has major drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that I am away from family a lot, and all too often I miss those subtle, sweet, simple moments in life such as the family BBQ on a Sunday afternoon.
I’ve been learning to re-prioritize my time. As my nephew, Bowyn, was turning the big 1, and we hadn’t even met in person yet, I knew I needed to change that immediately.
I couldn’t fathom the challenge that Candice and David face of being parents these days and trying to navigate the right balance between educating with technology and the good old-fashioned way of getting dirty in the mud and eating bugs.
As a new auntie, I wanted to make the right first impression. After some brainstorming with my sister, Candice, and her partner, David, we decided to camp at the Omarukokere Bivvy in Kaweka Forest Park, within the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand, for a few days of fly fishing. It wasn’t great timing to arrive during Easter break, but it wasn’t too hard to escape the crowds with the aid of a helicopter.
I love the ability to be forced offline and properly disconnect from the daily hustle of a freelance career. It was also wonderful to watch Bowyn develop a natural curiosity with the natural surroundings. My sister and I noted how Bowyn was more at ease and engaged with nature compared to being surrounded by technology, where it became easier for him to be upset and cranky.
Being 31, I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up in a time where technology wasn’t so ingrained in our daily lives. I can’t fathom the challenge that Candice and David face of being parents these days and trying to navigate the right balance between educating with technology and the good old-fashioned way of getting dirty in the mud and eating bugs.
Our few days in the Kawekas were incredibly special and an important reminder for me to keep prioritizing time to be with family. We’ve already begun planning spring adventures in New Zealand and, hopefully, I can continue the trend of introducing my nephew to new adventures outside.
For his adventure into the backcountry, Bowyn wore Toddlers’ Newport H2 glow-in-the-dark sandals from creekside to campsite. These supportive sandals are easy to put on and adjust, and quick to dry, plus they light up at night. Toddler adventures start with happy feet—and you’ll find lots of options for new walkers eager to get out there and explore at KEEN.