Illustrations: Stephanie Howden
Hiking has been described as an art form. It’s not just a way of getting outside and appreciating the natural world, and it’s not just a form of exercise. Somewhere along the way, the fusion of the two elevates this activity to something very special.
Hiking offers you the chance to explore and experience parts of the world that aren’t accessible by any other means. Living in Australia gives you access to a wonderful selection of hikes, and serious enthusiasts will also find that hiking holidays are a great way to get a new perspective on another country.
Simple hiking safety
As you start out, it’s important to build your confidence, fitness and experience by choosing beginner-appropriate day hikes. Don’t be tempted to challenge yourself with a hike that’s above your experience level. No matter how fit you are, it takes time to gain an understanding of safety and respect in a natural environment. It’s not unusual to hear about hikers being rescued in a dramatic fashion and this is often due to inexperience or being ill-equipped for the route.
It’s best to get started by hiking with more experienced people. You may wish to consider engaging a guide for the first few tracks you try, joining a group, or asking a kind friend to take you. When you’re a bit more experienced and are hiking without a larger group, it’s important to always make sure there is someone who knows where you are and what time you’re due back and will raise the alarm if this doesn’t happen.
Scary stories aside, with the proper preparation, gear and understanding, hiking can become a rewarding hobby that you can share with friends and family. As your skills grow, you’ll gain access to different walks, and discover new vistas, perhaps trying a multi-day trek and camping along the route.