Whether it’s fishing, shooting, mountain biking, hiking, or paddling the waves at a surf beach, there’s an adventure out there for everyone ready to fill their happy tank.
That’s according to Senka Radonich, creator of She Adventures NZ, an organisation all about inspiring women to get outdoors and “do rad stuff… plain and simple.”
“It all started when I went mountain biking with a friend at Woodhill in Auckland. I had never done it before. I mean I probably pushed my bike for two of the three hours that we were out there,” Senka says.
“But afterwards, I couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear. It was epic. How did I not know about this? That you can go out and experience this stuff, and instead of going out and partying all night, wasting your money, and wasting the next day, you can spend your time doing this and get the biggest rush from it.”
Within two months of that first ride, Senka bought her first mountain bike.
“I was going out riding regularly because I absolutely fell in love with it. It doesn’t have to be mountain biking – everyone has their thing, whether it be fishing, hiking, trail running, whatever…it gets you hooked.”
Senka calls it filling up your happy tank.
“It fills you up in a way that nothing else does, and for me, that was mountain biking. You really have to be present. You can’t be anywhere else except on your mountain bike, focusing on the trail. You’re not thinking about your grocery list or your job or whatever it is that might be on your mind.”
Join the sisterhood
The idea for She Adventures, originally called Adventure Girls, came about when Senka thought of how fun it would be to do these activities with other women as a group.
“That’s really how it all got started. We went surfing, mountain biking, dirt biking, gun shooting, four-wheel driving, all sorts. We had groups go out and do all this cool stuff around New Zealand. And as that grew over time, we developed a really great client base, and we’ve met so many amazing women along the way.”
Senka says she has seen a real shift in the outdoor adventure space, with more women getting out there and trying sports typically targeted at men.
“I’d say the last five years is where I’ve noticed really significant shifts and actively seeing more women out there, seeing more outdoor activities tailored to women’s groups,” she says.
“I think part of it is that women haven’t been represented probably quite as much in that outdoor space. And sometimes it’s just about not having the network to be able to do certain types of activities, to dip into something new. A lot of the women we had come through were just coming out of relationships or hitting a new age milestone; they were just searching for that adventure. And for a long time, you didn’t really see a lot of women in mainstream marketing doing these adventure activities, but it’s far more accessible now. There’s a Facebook page for everything, and there’s a community out there for everyone. Whatever you’re looking to be a part of, there’ll be a group for it.”
After running Adventure Girls for some time, Senka felt it was time for a change.
“I think as we get closer to that age of 40, we sort of go, if not now, when? When will I have this opportunity to do this again? I felt lucky that I’d been able to get around and see a lot of New Zealand through Adventure Girls, but I just wanted to see it from a tourist kind of perspective, really get into those places that I hadn’t been able to get to.
“So with that, I sold about two-thirds of my stuff and packed up my life, filled up the back of my four-wheel drive, and travelled New Zealand for five months with a very loose plan of what I wanted to do.”
After five months on the road, Senka headed back to Auckland, decided she no longer wanted to live there, and moved to Christchurch and set up the She Adventures NZ podcast.
“With all the women that I met along the way through Adventure Girls, and through all of my own adventures, there were so many amazing stories from everyday women out there doing their thing in the outdoors that I found super inspiring,” Senka says.
“Some of them had gone through lots of adversity; for some, the outdoors helped with mental health, and others were just super passionate about it. And I thought to myself, these are the conversations that I want to share with other women, so they can hear them and realise that if these women can do it, then they can too. These stories needed to be shared because there are so many women out there who just need to hear that one story or see that one person who’s like them and go, okay, I can do this. I can get out and try those things that I’ve always wanted to try.”
The podcast talks with adventurous women from a range of fields and is dedicated to inspiring other women who are looking to get out there and adventure across New Zealand.
“We talk about their triumphs, their highlights, their challenges, what they’ve learned along the way, and what knowledge they can pass on to other women.”
The guests on the show are either New Zealand-based or have done something amazing in New Zealand, Senka says.
“I love New Zealand; I’m hooked on it,” she says. “I’ve travelled overseas and seen some amazing places, but I can’t help but get drawn back to New Zealand and keep thinking, there is somewhere new I haven’t discovered yet. Never in my lifetime will I be able to get to all the places that I really want to here.”