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Thousands of people are expected to take part in the annual Waiheke Walking Festival – which runs from 18-26 November this year. With 50 walks on offer over the nine-day festival, this free event continues to attract people to Waiheke Island with the shared love of walking, nature, storytelling, food and wine… and this year has also attracted the support of Ray White Waiheke.

Ray White Waiheke have come on board as a presenting partner of the Festival in a three-year partnership.

“It is fantastic to have the support of a local business that shares our love of walking, and have strong connections with the community,” say Waiheke Walking Festival organisers. (Fitting too for the man who walked 1,500kms on a personal journey across New Zealand in 2014. (Read more about this, Matthew Smith’s personal challenge, in another Ray White Online article here.)

The Festival aims to promote the region as a walking destination, encouraging locals and visitors to get active and enjoy the many tracks and trails that weave across the island, while providing opportunities for both locals and visitors to enjoy areas of privately owned land that are not readily accessible to the public outside of the event.

“We’re delighted to be the presenting partner for this much-loved community event. The Festival very much aligns with our values, and resonates with me personally as a keen walker.” says Matthew Smith, principal of Ray White Waiheke.

Now in its fifth year, some 2,500 participants are expected to attend this year’s event over the nine days. There is a range of walks on offer suitable for all ages, interests and fitness levels – including walks focused on Māori history, photography, wine tasting, wild food, architecture, native birds and eels, and mindfulness are among the varied offerings. Some seldom seen parts of Waiheke will also be open to the public thanks to private landowners opening their properties for the walking trails.

Matthew Smith, principal of Ray White Waiheke, will lead the ‘Ray White Waiheke Marathon Walk‘ on Thursday 23 November, a 50 kilometer walk from Oneroa to Man O’ War Bay Tasting Room for lunch and back. The walk begins with coffee at 6.30am in the Ray White Waiheke office before walkers embark on on a 27 kilometer trek following the roads to Man O’War Bay – taking in stunning views along the way. Walkers can then opt to continue on a 23 kilometer walk after lunch to complete the loop, returning the Ray White Waiheke (at approximately 6.30pm) for well-deserved refreshments, return on the courtesy shuttle, or stay on at the Man O’ War Vineyard.

Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline. The name Man O’ War was bestowed upon the area after Captain James Cook noted that the ancient Kauri trees would make ideal masts for the Man O’ War battleships in 1769. The 4,500 acres is now a family owned vineyard producing internationally award-winning wines – all named in honour of family history, naval legacy, and of this special place itself.

“We’re proud to support events which highlight the nature and beauty of our area. It’s about locals and visitors out together, sharing stories, exercising and taking in the natural beauty of Waiheke Island. Waiheke is so much more than just vineyards, food and beaches.” said Matthew Smith

If you’re keen to take part in the Waiheke Walking Festival, walks are free, but you will need to book early to secure a place. More details on the individual walks and bookings process can be found on the Waiheke Walking Festival website and Facebook Page.

Written by Ray White New Zealand

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