Sharing the wonders of travel & everyday adventures
Escaping into wilderness is a deeply satisfying thing. It’s the place you’d rather be; where bird song and eucalyptus fill the air; where traffic and deadlines cease to bother your busy mind.
But before you set off, make sure you’re prepared. There are a few essentials for safety and comfort that I whole-heartedly recommend for your outdoor adventures in the sunny state.
Here are five tips to help you decide what to take hiking in the Aussie bush.
1. Take a good pack! A lightweight backpack with sturdy support, strategic padding, logical pouches and a bit of gruff durability is simply a must.
I adore my Osprey Talon 22 litre pack, which has followed me across continents as an all-purpose pack, and along the Spanish Camino de Santiago as the barely-big-enough-but-reliable sole pack. I’ve recently been won over by its bigger sister too, the Osprey Kyte 36 litre pack. This top-loading pack is made to suit a lady’s shape, (curving and supporting in all the right places) and is quite ideal for overnight hikes, camping trips or longer walks. Both packs have the signature Osprey stretchy pocket at the front and zip compartments on the hip belt – meaning you can tuck in that scarf or phone or cash and get to it easily while on the move.
2. Well-worn-in shoes will make all the difference. Before many big walks, I’ve agonised over boots or runners, fortified sandals or beaten-up sneakers, but in the end it always comes down to how recently you’ve worn the shoes and how well your feet have moulded to them. It’s also important to make sure they are not too hot (sweaty feet in the subtropical places make for blisters) – breathable shoes work well. To mitigate the blister risk, change to dry socks throughout long walks, keep paw paw ointment or similar antiseptic balms handy, and wiggle your toes in the fresh air during breaks.
3. Don’t skimp on the safety stuff. Quite seriously, being prepared can be a life-saving move; a lesson that has been drilled into me since early childhood walks in the Aussie bush. Even for a small walk, be sure to pack a standard first aid kit (including a bandage for snake bites), water and snacks. Other safety goodies include sunscreen and something warm to wear, as well as matches and a good head lamp. (Just quietly, I’ve been using my new Black Diamond 130 headtorch lately with red night vision and a range of white light settings – very cool).
4. Pack your brain. This involves checking weather alerts before walking, finding out if tracks are closed or hazardous (landslip, bushfire, falling rocks) and planning / sharing your route so that someone back in the land of phones/clocks /news updates knows if you’re not back when you should be. Find more safety tips and track updates on the Queensland Government website.
5. Pack a little picnic. High-energy and lightweight snacks like dried fruits and nuts, salami and bread, bananas and biscuits make a delightful mid-hike picnic. Besides the need to refuel the body, picnics are a great way to enjoy that amazing vista or tranquil gully you’ve walked so far to see. Some electrolyte tabs in water can help you stay hydrated too. And when you’re all done, bag up your rubbish and be sure to walk it out with you.
A big thanks to the lovely folk at Cotswold Outdoor for sending me the very happy parcel containing the Osprey Kyte 36 litre pack, Black Diamond headtorch and Cotswold Explorer UL telescopic walking stick to try out. I’m quite impressed.