The best thing about spring is being able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air without having to don hat, coat, gloves and three jerseys over head-to-toe polypropylene. Walking to work now seems more like a happy possibility than an inevitable grind. Gardens are flowering, birds are singing and fellow walkers pass with a cheery wave and ‘Morning!’ rather than a furrowed brow and a dripping nose.

Christchurch has some wonderful walkways which are well worth exploring. Many of these have been repaired since the earthquakes and they’re a great way of getting out and about in the city. There are walking groups catering for every level of fitness. Take for example the Sunday Walking Group which meets weekly or the thirty minute Walk and Talk programme for people wanting to combine exercise with some social interaction.

If you’re already fighting fit and in need of a challenge, there are tramping groups that head to the hills for day hikes or longer. Walking sports such as race or Nordic walking are guaranteed to give even the hardiest outdoor pursuiter a great workout. These groups are a great way of getting to know like-minded souls.

It seems the whole of Christchurch is getting into walking mode. The Breeze Walking Festival starts next weekend with a programme that celebrates everything the Eastern suburbs have to offer. There are 22 walks taking in the wildlife, local history, forest and coastline around Pegasus Bay and three ultimate walking prize packs to be won.

In the meantime, why not take a mellow stroll around the Christchurch Botanical Gardens? The blossoms are out and the magnolias are looking splendid. The Gardens would be my favourite walking spot. What’s yours?