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The New Zealand app connecting Kiwis to nature

Exploring waterfalls, walking through beautiful gardens, and along hidden coastal treks: New Zealand activity-finding app Romer has teamed up with the Mental Health Foundation to highlight free outdoor adventures for Kiwis this nature-themed Mental Health Awareness Week.

From today until Sunday, Romer will feature five different free activities in each region for its app users as part of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme, Let Nature In (mā te taiao kia whakapakari tōu oranga).

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The activities all involve the outdoors, include a range of easy to higher intensity option, and have all been uploaded by app users across New Zealand. Romer app is free to download and use.

Mental Health Foundation strategist Ciaran Fox says the selected activities showcase hidden gems in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

“We really want to encourage people to get out and explore their own backyard during Mental Health Awareness Week. Discovering new things and getting out in nature are both proven to give your mental health a boost.”

Fox says that research shows being outside, particularly in green spaces, is a proven pick me up.

“Being in nature helps reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and the production of stress hormones. One university study of people suffering depression found that going for a walk through a park made 90 per cent of the participants feel better.”

He says the Romer app makes connecting with nature fun and easy.

“Romer has removed the sometimes difficult task of actually finding something to do. Now, all they need to do is log on, swipe away and find their next adventure at their fingertips - and on their doorstep.”

Romer was launched last year by 23-year-old Christchurch entrepreneur Emily Heazlewood as a way to crowdsource local activities for people to discover. It has since been selected into the Vodafone xone accelerator programme.

Anyone using the Romer app can share ideas - called Romes - for other users to try, and can also swipe through available options, saving those which appeal for future reference. Instead of suggesting a restaurant, bar, or general activity, Romes are specific and do not necessarily have a price tag.

“This week we are putting special emphasis on those activities which encourage users to get outside and connect with nature, because doing so ticks the Mental Health Foundation’s criteria for improving mood,” says Heazlewood.

With more than 40,000 downloads, the app is bursting with outdoor adventures to connect users with nature this Mental Health Awareness Week.

Romer can be downloaded via Google Play or the App Store, and is available throughout New Zealand, as well as in Australia and Singapore.

The five free activities being profiled in each city as part of Mental Health Awareness Week are:

Christchurch activities:

1. Anne’s waterfall walk in the Port Hills

2. Explore Riccarton Bush

3. Walk from Magazine Bay to Corsair Bay

4. Check out the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor

5. Wander the hidden treasures of Woodham Park

Auckland activities:

1. Walk Camp Sladdin

2. Wander the Domain Winter gardens

3. Hunua Falls + Walking Tracks

4. Walk along the waterfront boardwalk with volcano views

5. Watch the sunrise one morning from North Head

Wellington activities:

1. Take your bike and ride to Pencarrow

2. Pack a picnic and take the ferry to Matiu/Somes Island

3. Walk around the Massey Memorial

4. Watch the sunset and the ships sail out of Wellington Harbour at Shelly Bay Road

5. Wainuiomata Gum Loop Track

Hamilton activities:

1. Cycle or walk some of the The Great NZ River Ride

2. Watch the sunset from Karioi Summit Track Carpark, Raglan

3. Take the summit track for a day at Hakarimata Rail Trail & Walkway

4. Relax in the sun overlooking the river

5. Explore the Raglan Pancake Rocks

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