Mega Outdoor Adventures

22 February 2022

Mega Outdoor Adventures

With Omicron putting a dampener on our traditional start of the year holiday plans, we made the decision to get outdoors and walk. Who knew that everything we’d need – and so much more – would all be in one place? Albany Mega Centre is surely the home of outdoor leisure and adventure.

My husband and I made the decision early on not to have kids and we’re fine with that. Some would say we’re too selfish but we always knew we wouldn’t make good parents. Being childfree has given us the freedom to travel the world. It’s something we are passionate about and have enjoyed extensively. There are few places in the world we haven’t been to. The last couple of pandemic-filled years have been hard for us and it’s fair to say that staying home has made us a little stir-crazy.

February is traditionally when we go on holiday somewhere nearby, like Australia, the Pacific Islands, or Queenstown. Our plans this year have been all over the place as Omicron came, seemed to do nothing, and then took off like crazy. Bruce and I have been nervous to go anywhere where there’s lots of people. But we’re just as scared of staying home.

Bruce suggested we go camping and I couldn’t think of anything worse. I’m too old for sleeping on the ground, living in a tent, or going toilet in the bush. But Bruce was keen, and ingenious, finding ways to overcome my objections. The result is that we’ve booked a remote homestead about 30 mins out from Pahia, up north. From there we’ll do three full-day walks – the Bay of Island Coastal, Cape Brett and Urupukapuka – with a rest day in-between.

So here we are at Albany Mega Centre looking for absolutely everything we're going to need. We couldn’t be any more spoilt for choice if we tried with four outdoor adventure stores within walking distance of each other. With so many Omicron cases, it feels good to know we can do everything locally and in one place. We decide to buy something from each of the four stores, supporting each of them to get through the pandemic.

We start at Kathmandu with shoes. Having good footwear is going to be crucial and these guys know their stuff. I find a pair of hard-wearing hiking boots that meet my criteria of being both comfortable and stylish. Bruce is more analytical and talks through the specification of each shoe with the salesperson before deciding on a top-of-the-line leather walking boot. It looks like something that would get him to the top of Everest, let alone around Northland.

Next stop is Mountain Warehouse. This place is newer and we haven’t been here before but we’re quickly impressed by the range of clothes. We both find t-shirts, sweatshirts, a shower-proof windbreaker and hardwearing pants good for walking in. Again Bruce, goes top of the line with zip-off pants, where even the pockets have pockets!

Backpacks are next on the list and there’s nowhere better than MacPac. I want a light and bright day-pack to keep my essentials in. There’s plenty to choose from and I go for the one that feels most comfortable on my back. Bruce is again making the salespeople compare and contrast load-handling capacities before picking one. You’d think he’s planning on catching a wild animal and bringing it back home in his backpack. I hope he isn’t!

The last stop is Bivouac Outdoor. Here we’re looking for a selection of items to get us through the day: drink bottles, a utility knife, energy bars, a first aid kit, walking poles, and more. I give Bruce a hard time but it’s times like these I love his attention to detail. It gives me confidence that he’s thought of everything.

I get home exhausted, feeling like it was the first day of our hiking adventures. We walked for two hours to get everything but barely moved 100 metres away from the car. If you are going camping, tramping, hiking, or bush-walking, Albany Mega Centre is definitely the best place to kick off your outdoor adventures.

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