Posted on

Bushwalking with Children

Tips for Bushwalking with Children

One does not have to invite a child twice to go on an outdoor adventure! Some of your best childhood memories are most likely of exploring the bush and camping. As adults, we know that being active in nature is good for your body, mind and spirit. If you need more convincing, click here

Bushwalking is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family and everyone can join, from babies (especially with those modern carriers available) to grandparents. Some parks even have trailriders available for those with mobility limitations. 

Here are some quick tips to get you some green time instead of screen time with your family:

  • Plan your trip. The better you plan ahead, the more you will enjoy your walk on the day. 
  • If you have babies and grandparents on your walk, go for a short, easy walk first and build on that.
  • Take enough water and food.
  • Wear weather-appropriate clothes, hats and sturdy, sport or hiking shoes.
  • Take at least one fully charged mobile phone with you. You can keep it switched off during your walk to not be disturbed, but have it on you in case you need it.  
  • Talk about how you go to the bathroom in the bush before your walk.
  • Relax and enjoy your time of discovery together. 

Useful Links 

Five child-friendly bushwalking spots close to Melbourne

15 Kid Friendly Bushwalks in Victoria

Kids in Nature Network

Kids Go Bush

Nature Play Week

Bushwalking with Kids – Kids in Nature Australia

Eco Explorers – Melbourne Nature Based Bush Playgroups (ages 1 to 5)

1000 Hours Outside for ideas. 

Games and Hiking Activities

Posted on

Practical Snacks for a Short Bushwalk – Gourmet Style!

Now that you have consulted our list of 5 short bushwalks in Victoria with spectacular views, it is time to think about food and drinks. Here are a few foodie ideas to toss into your backpack. They are effortless, nutritious and delicious. Sometimes those special little touches just add to that spectacular view! Do remember zero waste and safety when you plan what to pack. 

Blueberry and Chia Seeds Fruit Roll-ups
With only four ingredients and four simple steps, you can delight your bushwalking companions with your culinary skills! 

No-bake Energy Bites
With chocolate, peanut butter, honey and coconut mixed with oats, flax seeds and chia seeds, what can possibly go wrong?!

Salted Caramel Bliss Balls
These delicious morsels are vegan, paleo and gluten-free. 

Meals in a Jar
How easy, delicious and transportable is this! Whether you are planning for breakfast, lunch or snacks, these ideas will have you covered!

Now what about something celebratory to drink, I hear you say … Water is a must of course, but if you want to add some sparkle, below are some options:

Mocktails

Now here you have the opportunity to show off some skill! Mix up some of these, add ice, pour into flask and pack. Once you reach your beautiful view, you can show off your knowledge of the local flora and garnish your drinks with wild herbs … but only if you know what you are doing! 

Have fun and let us know what your go-to recipes for a bushwalk with a gourmet touch.  

Image: dirtygourmet.com

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancake recipe here.  

Posted on

Finding Maps for Bushwalking in Victoria

Where to start when looking for maps?

Bushwalkers need accurate, up-to-date maps. Whether planning or leading a walk, or just walking with a few friends in the bush, good maps enable walkers to safely navigate their intended route. They also open new possibilities both during the walk planning and on the track. So, where are these good maps found? We asked map expert, Andrew Robinson from the Koonung Bushwalking Club, to put together a guide for us. 

Paper or digital maps?
Using both is best. The paper map provides the ‘big picture’, can be annotated during planning and is ‘weatherproof’. A mapping GPS or Smartphone will, at the very least, provide an accurate position. Put both together and you have a well-equipped walker who is unlikely to be ‘mislaid’. Both paper and digital maps are discussed below.

A word about scales
Large scale maps are a must; a good scale is 1:25,000, i.e. 4cm on the map = 1km on the ground. 1:50,000 (2cm = 1km ) is borderline, sometimes lacking sufficient detail for walkers, while 1:100,000 (1cm = 1km) is really only a detailed road map.

Some Smartphone apps
There are a large number of mapping apps, many linked to websites. For bushwalking, maps should be saved offline into the Smartphone itself, rather than continually accessing the internet via a mobile signal. I will mention just a few free apps.

Avenza Maps is linked to a map store containing about a million maps worldwide. It can also display custom maps from other sources and is used by many mapping organisations. You can use your phone’s built-in GPS to track your location on any map, plot tracks, add photos and much more.

Maps.me is your worldwide street directory with lots of additional information.

Terra Map is a good, easy app for plotting your track on a walk.

Map sources

Vicmap

Vicmap is the Victorian Government mapping agency. It is part of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. It produces over 10,000 separate map sheets using 3 scales covering the entire state. These are:

  • Vicmap Topographic 1:25,000, A0 sheet
  • Vicmap Topographic 1:30,000, A4 sheet
  • Vicmap Topographic 1:30,000, A3 sheet
    (1:30,000 maps contain the same detail as 1:25,000, but are designed for easy printing on A4 or A3)
  • Vicmap Topographic 1:50,000, A0 sheet
  • Vicmap Topographic 1:100,000, A0 sheet

These maps are updated every 18 months to two years.

The maps are available either online or via the Vicmap Viewer Smartphone app. This app allows you to purchase, download, store and copy Vicmaps to the Avenza map app. Remember, only 3 custom maps (including Vicmaps) can be loaded into the Avenza free version at any time. So the Vicmap Viewer app is handy storage for the maps.

Vicmap mainly prints 1:50,000 paper maps and only a few 1:25,000. As all the map files are PDF’s, you can print any map you want; the 1:30,000 maps are especially handy here.

If a large number of Vicmaps are required, they can be purchased through a value-added reseller. Memory-map is one such reseller that has all Vicmaps. There are limitations. You must use memory-map software for viewing and printing the maps, but the cost savings can be considerable. Memory-map works on both your desktop and through a Smartphone app. Maps are downloaded as you need them or can be fully downloaded from the memory-map digital map store.

Third-party maps which utilize Vicmap data

Vicmap spatial data is freely available to map producers to make their own maps. nswtopo and Getlost Maps make 1:25,000 maps covering Victoria which are published in the Avenza app Map Store. nswtopo maps use similar symbology to Vicmap and make a small charge. Getlost maps use a slightly different symbology, are free, and contain additional data from other sources, e.g. OpenStreetMap. These maps can also be downloaded from the Getlost Maps website in a printable form if a paper copy is desired.

Spatial Vision
A number of areas of interest to walkers are covered by Spatial Vision’s Outdoor recreation guides. Most of these maps are at a scale of 1:50,000 and are packed with detail. Wilsons Promontory, The Grampians and Bogong Alpine area are just a few. The maps can be purchased as paper or are also available in a georeferenced form through the Avenza app map shop. Spatial Vision also produces the Vicmap books, covering Victoria at a scale of 1:50,000. These are used by the CFA and emergency services.

 Meridian
Popular walking places, such as the Brisbane Ranges, Lerderderg and Werribee Georges, Hattah-Kulkyne and others are covered by Meridian’s Walking and Park Maps. The maps can be purchased as paper or are also available in a georeferenced form through the Avenza app map shop.

OpenStreetMap
OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the world maintained by over two million volunteers. These maps form the basis of the maps used in many Smartphone mapping apps. Many areas are mapped in great detail including the accurate plotting of walking tracks. Occasionally, one may come across a remote area where the mapping is incomplete. Printing of these maps can be done through a number of websites. Inkatlas is one such site which is free, easy to use and you can add your own track plots too. It can print in black/white and A4 multipage so expensive printing is not required.

Google and Apple maps
These online maps are primarily road maps but can show some tracks in some areas. Both are available as apps for a Smartphone and Google maps are readily opened on a desktop.

Melway
This much-loved street directory does show minor roads and some walking tracks. In some areas, the tracks are incomplete or inaccurately marked. There is also an online version.

Parks Victoria
Parks Vic visitor guides (Parknotes), often contain good information on visitor facilities, walks and a good sketch map of the park. Unfortunately, only a few of these are currently available through the Parks Vic website. However, many of the maps are available in a georeferenced form through the Avenza app map
shop for free.

Rooftop and Hayman maps
These maps can be only obtained through map resellers. See list below. The Forest Activities Map series are the ones for walkers at a scale of 1:50,000 with more detailed insert maps of some areas. They cover some popular walking areas.

Google Earth
Don’t forget this superb resource. Once you have decided on your walk route, you can visualise it on Google Earth. Check out every twist and turn you intend to walk. If you don’t have the program on your desktop or smartphone, you can use the web version.

 Local Organisations

Don’t forget local organisations. Councils, alpine resort managements etc. often produce excellent maps and track notes of walks in their areas.

 Map Resellers

ABC Maps – shop and online

Maps, Books and Travel Guides – shop and online

MapWorks – shop and online

Melbourne Map Centre – online only

The above list is not exhaustive but can start you on the way to finding quality, up-to-date maps for your next walk.

Links and sources accurate as on 7 Agusut 2020. Link validity and link content are subject to change. 

Posted on

Walking the Australian Alps Walking Track in Winter

Walking the Australian Alps Walking Track in Winter

Well done Mark and Andy Oates!

Brothers, Mark and Andy Oates are both members of our Bush Search and Rescue (BSAR) Team and their story of how they set out in the middle of the 2018 winter to complete the 660km, south to north, winter traverse of the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) can be found here – it filled with beautiful images and a fantastic account of their adventure. 

Posted on

Bushwalking for Fun, Fitness, Friendship and Nature!

Retiring soon? Consider bushwalking as a way to stay fit, get outdoors and socialise!

At last, you have the time to make your dreams of leisure a reality …

You have retired! 

Or at least have reduced your working hours. 

You most likely have this on your wishlist:

To get fitter or maintain your fitness,

To get outdoors more – commune with nature, as they say in the classics,

To socialise more, meet new people and make lasting friendships,

To spend quality time with your spouse or showing your grandchildren the bush,

You cannot, no you must not be stuck at home, looking for a new weed to pull from the garden!

YOU NEED TO GO BUSHWALKING!

Most of us look forward to retirement with so much anticipation, but once the dust has settled:

  • You have been on that trip, and there will be more travels, but not next week.
  • You have, at last, put the regimen of working life behind you, swept away the former routines, and finally grasped the concept that work, paid or voluntary, is now optional, not compulsory.
  • You have caught up on all those jobs around the house that have been deferred for as long as you can remember.

YOU NEED TO GO BUSHWALKING!

Retirement can bring on many challenges such as:

  • Adjusting to a change in the pace of life;
  • Settling into your new lifestyle, new routines;
  • Coming to terms with your changed financial position, and for many,
  • Downsizing from the family home and moving to a new neighbourhood;
  • Moving to be near family, more childminding.

Some retirees find it hard to imagine how they had time to go to work while others find time weighing heavily. Many retirees speak of feeling lost and disconnected or socially isolated.  Few retirees will spend their golden years cruising the seven seas, living the life of the eternal grey nomad or find the meaning of life managing their personal superannuation fund.

Everybody needs and wants to find their correct balance between satisfying, meaningful activity and leisure. 

YOU NEED TO GO BUSHWALKING!

Eventually, the years move on and the physical realities of aging cannot be swept under the carpet any more. To keep the aches and pains to a minimum, to help medication do its job and reduce the risk of all the ‘modern’ epidemics, all advice leads to staying socially connected and physically active.

BUSHWALKING TICKS ALL THE BOXES – Fun, fitness, friendship, well-being and nature!

So let’s look at the amazing opportunities of having time on your hands and the world at your feet:  

  • Bushwalking is a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, make new friends and to keep in touch with old friends. For families, it is a great multigenerational activity to enjoy together, to share in the wonders of nature and to learn or pass on knowledge of the natural world.
  • Here in Victoria, we are blessed with ample opportunities and a variety of terrains in which to explore.
    • Close to Melbourne, near to regional cities or towns, one hour from home near public transport or two hours drive out in the countryside, and if you are so inclined, at more remote destinations.
    • There are Council Parks, State Parks and Forests, National Parks and popular recreational areas.
    • A choice of short, medium or long walks;
    • Every grading of walk from easy through to challenging, catering to every level of fitness and ability;
  • Bushwalking does not require expensive membership fees or elaborate equipment.  It is something that can be enjoyed as a member of a club or group or in a casual get together with friends. Best practice is not to go onto less travelled tracks on your own.

VISIT A BUSHWALKING CLUB

Most bushwalking clubs will allow you to join them as a guest (usually for up to three walks), that way you can get a feel for the club and its members and what recreation it can provide for you, before you commit. You can explore our affiliated bushwalking clubs here. Many clubs arrange interstate and international walks, so there are many options for you to spread your wings. 

Click on this link to see how Bushwalking could be your gateway to safe outdoor recreation!

All Images courtesy of Melton Bushwalkers, one of our affiliated bushwalking clubs.

Posted on

Celebrating Women Bushwalkers

International Women’s Day focus on women-only bushwalking clubs

We have three member clubs who are women-only bushwalking clubs and many women are members of our other 59 member clubs as well and we are celebrating each one of you today!

The main photo is of Suzie Hale, president of The Victorian Mountain Tramping Club (VMTC) who did a solo trip of the 4,280km Pacific Crest Trail which she completed in 153 days last year. Other major accomplishments on her impressive walking CV include leading a VMTC group who completed the Australian Alpine Walking Track in 42 days.

Escaping your Comfort Zone

The first women-only bushwalking club we would like to introduce you to is Escaping Your Comfort Zone. Not only are they trailblazers in many ways, they have just won a Victorian Sports Award for the Outdoor/Active Recreation Initiative of the year!

Loey Matthews, Volunteer Walk Leader for Escaping Your Comfort Zone, shared this about their club:

If you’ve never been on one of our hikes before, you might wonder what makes Escaping Your Comfort Zone (EYCZ) different from other bushwalking clubs, and what “body positive” hiking is all about anyway? Let’s break down what drives us, and what you can expect at a body positive hike that’s different from other hiking groups.

What is body positivity?

Body positivity is a tricky concept to define, but there are some things that we can all agree on.

We live in a society where there is immense pressure to conform to a certain size, shape, and have other physical characteristics that are considered “good looking”. When people don’t fit that size or shape, it is expected that we should diet and exercise, and use makeup, hair product and even surgery until we do fit that expectation.

Body positivity comes out of the fat acceptance movement, and aims to help people overcome dissatisfaction with their bodies, so they can lead happier and more productive lives. At Escaping Your Comfort Zone, we are all about accepting that our bodies are unique and realistic, and furthermore, they are amazing and powerful just the way they are.

We want to throw out the guilt of “good” and “bad” food, throw diet talk in the bin, and take away any obligation that you might feel from “having” to get active.

We want our members, and everyone else, to know that we are not broken, our bodies are enough. They are whole, and powerful and capable of amazing things. We are not a project to be fixed. We accept you all as you are.

The outdoors doesn’t care what you look like, and neither do we!

So what is different about body positive hiking?

We aim to be an open group for every woman and gender diverse person who wants to get outdoors but doesn’t know where to start. Many groups are fantastic places for people who are already hiking or having outdoor adventures regularly to meet each other, but we aim to be a starting point.

The majority of our hikes are beginner friendly, and usually take between 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours to complete. We don’t focus on how many kilometres you’ve done, because more often than not, our hikers are capable of much more than they think!

We always go at the pace of the slowest hiker, and there is never any rush to the finish on one of our hikes. We expect and plan for lots of stops along the way, to take selfies and point out the mushrooms and animals we meet along the trail. I’ve heard from some of our members that when they’ve been on  hikes with other groups, the hike was promoted with the expectation that they would support the slowest hiker, but found themselves rushed along.  At EYCZ we take the need to support everyone at their own pace really seriously – you’ll find a leader at the rear of each of our hikes, chatting to the person who is taking their time.

We enjoy the experience of being outdoors, caring for our physical and mental health through reconnecting with the natural world. It means we build friendships with people we would never have met otherwise – one of the things I cherish most is the diversity of age in our group, and the ability to connect with people way outside my normal social ‘bubble’.

Escaping Your Comfort Zone hikes want you to feel that no matter your size, skin colour, where you were born, your religion, your favourite song to dance to, who you’re attracted to, your disability or anything else, your body will never be seen by us as a problem to solve, but rather as an individual person who is on your own journey and wants to have adventures along the way.

They hike multiple times a week all over Melbourne, Geelong and beyond, and also have groups in Gippsland, Canberra and Sydney.   You can get all the details at www.escapingyourcomfortzone.com.  Or find them on Facebook @escapingyourcomfortzone or Instagram @escapingyorucomfortzone

Melbourne Womens Walking Club

The Melbourne Women’s Walking Club was founded in 1922 and still going strong! You can listen to the story of how they started here

The Melbourne Women’s Walking Club is an active club for women walkers of all ages and includes both metropolitan and country members. Their program covers a wide range of activities, however the club’s primary focus is bushwalking with walks of various types, gradings and distances frequently scheduled.

These activities include daywalks, backpacking, base camping and accommodation trips. Members can also participate in urban walks, cycling, canoeing and conservation work. They have regular social gatherings throughout the year and a training program in bushwalking skills.

You are welcome to join the club as a guest on one of their walks if you would like to give bushwalking a go!  Contact Jane Matthews here

Bushranger’s Women’s Walking Club

The idea for the women only club was mooted at a large Girl Guide Camp. Many of the leaders were bemoaning the fact that they had no like-minded women to walk with. Consequently the club was formed, a walk planned and a cake made! Many of their foundation members are active in the Girl Guides but membership extends to all women who love walking, talking, laughing and dare we say it, eating!

Members come from all over Victoria, communicate and plan by email only and meet for the Annual General Meeting each June. At this meeting, walks are decided, leaders volunteer their services and decisions are generally decided by consensus.

Their annual itinerary of walks includes monthly walks, which often are walks from a weekend base. Twilight walks, pack carries, interstate and overseas walking trips are also included throughout the year. Each year a ballot is conducted for the best walk of the year and ‘Ned’, a replica of their mascot is awarded to the leader of this walk. Ned hitches a ride on each walk.

Overseas trips have included trekking in Sapa, Vietnam, and hiking from the source of the Thames to the sea along the Thames Path. This was not as everyone suggested a lengthy pub crawl, but an historical and educational ramble! The Bushrangers Womens’ Walking Club Inc goes from strength to strength each year with a growing membership of women who love the bush. The can be contacted here

Posted on

Walking the Kokoda Trail

The preparation and experience of a new bushwalker

Liz Thompson, a member of the Melton Bushwalkers, walked the Kokoda Trek in July 2019. She shares her experience below.

My Kokoda experience started six months before I left. The ticket was booked by my sister who lives interstate and wanted to do the trek for her 50th birthday. I had six months to start training and I had no real bushwalking/hiking experience apart from a few weekend walks at the You Yangs.  I had never really walked further than 5 km at a time. So the thought of 110 km in 9 days was a bit daunting but it motivated me to get cracking on the training. I had recently moved to Bacchus Marsh so I had the Lerderderg Forrest and Werribee Gorge at my doorstep. I looked up bushwalking groups on Facebook and that’s where came across the Melton Bushwalkers. I went on a few walks with them and met lots of wonderful people, I talked about my mission and a few members decided they would help me train in more challenging elevation outside of the regular group walks.   So every Sunday, we went out for hours on end in the winter chill, climbing steep hills, getting a great workout all the while having great conversations.

Fast forward 6 months later, I land in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It is hot and unbelievably humid for a Melbourne girl. The 25 walkers on our trek meet at the airport. Our trek leader, Major Scott Babington, herded us into an old bus headed for our accommodation before the trek starts the next morning. One thing to mention is the poverty that can be seen in Port Moresby. As soon as you leave the airport you can see the harsh conditions the locals live in. It was an eye-opening experience. Below is a short diary of each of the 9 days. 

Day 1:  We take the short 10 km drive to our starting point and meet our porters. These are men from the local villages who help carry some of our belongings.   The weight is restricted to 12kgs, allowing for them to also carry their own stuff and not exceed the 18kgs limit imposed by our trekking company. Excitedly we all start the steep descent into the jungle. The temperature was around 28, it was humid but bearable. It was a short walk today, including a big river crossing then into camp and as soon as we arrived it started to rain. Everyone was in good spirits and happy to get to know each other. We get acquainted with our tents for the first time.

Day 2:  The hills started. This is what I had been training for. The jungle was so beautiful, the twisted roots made natural staircases up the hills. The tree canopy kept the temperature down and whilst there was a little mud, it was OK. Even though the uphill was hard, sometimes the steep descents were more challenging. We reached camp after an 11-hour day, still high on the adrenaline of being here. Our fabulous trek leader gave in-depth talks at various stages on the history and significance of the areas we were walking on.  That night, before dinner, however, I didn’t feel well. I was physically sick. I tried to eat something and then went to bed only to wake up and be sick again. Oh no….

Day 3:   Described as one of the hardest days on the trek due to some of the sheer elevation of one mountain which was aptly named The Wall, I woke up, still unwell, dizzy, racing heart and nausea and wondering how exactly was I going to get through this. I missed breakfast and got straight into the 5.30 am start but 100 metres in I knew I was in trouble. While the other trekkers were ascending the first hill, I spoke to the trek leader and told him I was done. I felt so horrible, I couldn’t even fathom walking up a hill. Reluctantly he made the phone call for a medical evacuation. Turns out, at that time of the morning, no one answers their phone. I took an anti-nausea pill and after some tears, I actually felt a bit better and Scott said he would carry my backpack while I recovered, and reassess my condition up further … so I kept going. We reached the group that was waiting at the top of the first hill and three army reserve guys who were on our trek immediately stepped up and said they will take it in turns to help carry my backpack …. so I continued. I made it up “The Wall” and “Wall 2.0” and all the way to the next camp 12 hours later. It poured rain all day, everyone was wet through, muddy and exhausted. It was one of the hardest days in my life and a day I will always remember. Not because of the bad, because of the way everyone in the group helped me out, kept my morale up and got me through.

Day 4:  Feeling slightly better, I had assistance with my bag again today. Another gruelling climb and hard day but getting it done. One of the highlights of the Kokoda trail is going through the villages on the way. The kids all come out and wave and smile and say hello. At some villages, they sell treats like cans of soft drink, small packets of Twistee’s and local fruit like bananas, pawpaw or coconuts. It rained on and off all day but we had bouts of the sun to dry us off.

Day 5: There are many places of interest along the trail but some that have more significance than others. Today was a highlight as we made it to Brigade Hill, an impressive mountain ridge that is roughly halfway through the trek. The spot saw a great battle in September 1942 as the Australians tried to hold the advancing Japanese. We had a short ceremony here and paid respect to the soldiers who lost their lives on this battleground. Another thing that became a staple on the trek were river crossings – sometimes we had a fallen tree to cross on, and some we had to walk through waist-deep.

Day 6 – 7: By now everyone has settled into a routine. It was hard at first trying to pack up your gear every morning in a tent but by day 6 I have finally worked out some tricks. One interesting thing, you rarely see any animals in the jungle. You might be lucky to see the odd bird and a few mozzies but I was surprised that there were no animals around. There is also very little colour, just the brown ground and green trees. There were a few fungi around but not many flowers. Occasionally the trail would lead to an open space on the side of a mountain but for the most part, we are in under the canopy of the trees. When there was a view, sometimes you couldn’t see it because of the cloud cover.

Day 8 – By far my favourite day as we had an amazing dawn service at the Isurava Memorial. A beautiful memorial,  literally in the middle of the jungle.  I later discovered the memorial materials were brought in by helicopter. Four huge granite stones, each inscribed with a single word – Courage, Endurance, Mateship, Sacrifice. The significance of getting here and hearing the letters written by soldiers and poems after we had walked in their footsteps was amazing. We understood what those 4 inscribed words really meant as we were nearly at the end of our journey. From here we started a descent into Kokoda for our final night.

Day 9 – It was a different atmosphere waking up today. We were no longer in the jungle and we had a short walk to the airfield. On the way, we were treated to a baked breakfast and cultural show before heading to the airfield. The airport consisted of a concrete slab with a tin roof and a lady with a clipboard who weighed our bags and us and wrote it all down in her book. After less than an hour’s flight in a small plane, we were back in Port Moresby. On the way back to the lodge we visited the Bomana cemetery where over 4500 Australians lie buried. It is hard to look at all the headstones, mainly young and ill-prepared boys 18 to 20 years old. It was a very emotional experience having walked through the jungle, and to know what they had to endure and the conditions that they would have had no time to prepare for.

Upon reflection of my time at Kokoda, it’s hard to put into words the profound effect that experience has on you. It’s not just a journey you take for a physical challenge even though it is physically very challenging. It was also a very mentally challenging experience of having to push through when you think you can’t walk up to another hill, and the emotional journey, the empathy you have for those soldiers who did the same trek but in much worse and harsher conditions. It certainly piqued my interest in finding out more about Australia’s role in WW2. The amazing people you meet and bond with over a very unique experience I would highly recommend.

Posted on

Gift Ideas for Bushwalkers

Busy with your Santa list?

SantaHat_Backpacker

Apart from the usual wishlist for new boots, backpacks, clothes and tents, here are some other gift ideas and stocking fillers for bushwalkers:

Wishing you a blessed festive season and plenty of amazing bushwalks! 

Posted on

Injured or Ill in a Remote Area?

PARAMEDICS GO BUSH WITH AMBULANCE VICTORIA'S NEW REMOTE AREA RESPONSE

Demo_at_BWV_Leadership_Forum

The last few years have seen Ambulance Victoria up-skilling specialist paramedics across the state for responding into remote and wilderness environments. Wilderness Response Paramedics are trained to assist in medical emergencies in Victoria’s bush and alpine areas and can provide patient care over protracted periods in challenging locations. We had the privilege of being introduced to this service by Andy Oates (paramedic with Ambulance Victoria) and volunteer with our Bush Search and Rescue (BSAR) team (photo above) at the recent Bushwalking Victoria Leadership Forum. 

They respond as part of a multi-agency team which typically sees members from Victoria Police (VicPol), Victoria State Emergency Service (SES), County Fire Authority (CFA), or the Department of Land, Environment, Water, and Planning (DELWP) co-respond.

The team is able to access areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Wilderness Response Paramedics then assess and manage a patient until extrication can be arranged either by ground or air.

This month (June 2019) saw the rollout of this service extended to a group of paramedics working in the metropolitan region. There are now more than 90 trained responders throughout the Victoria. A number of the paramedics involved in the program have a BSAR background. Note that VicPol is the ‘Lead Agency’ in any Search and Rescue incident in Victoria and that the new Ambulance Victoria program is aimed at giving its paramedics the capacity to safely provide a high level of medical support for an injured or ill patient once located. Here is a training video. 

More information about Ambulance Victoria Services here

Bushwalkers are most grateful for this service in the unlikely event of an incident whilst on a remote bushwalk - thank you Ambulance Victoria!

Posted on

Are You a Gliker?

Woman athlete fit girl wearing warm sporty clothes outdoor in cold weather drinking hot tea from vacuum flask thermos warming up. Sports activities hiking in winter or autumn time

Fancy the idea of a bushwalk, but not the oh so practical attire? Chances are that you are a Gliker (glamorous + hiker). Here are three ways to be practical and a little bit glamorous when bushwalking:

Colourful accessories

Who said earthy colours are a must, it's not like we are trying to camouflage ourselves from predators! Wear a bright hat, scarf, gloves, belt, socks or sweatband to match your mood and style. Ladies can match this with a good SPF lipstick to protect against the sun and dryness. 

Hiking boots

Previously frowned upon in fashion circles, it has now become a fashion statement as you can see here. You do need good and comfortable shoes to navigate terrain and protect your feet, but hiking boots have come along way! They come in many materials, colours and styles, so do consult a good buying guide and go shopping.

Backpacks

You no longer have to look or feel like a pack donkey, there are so many sizes and styles of backpacks to choose from as you can see here.  They take load, posture, body size and many other factors into consideration, so you may end up taking your hiking backpack to work and start a new trend!

Want to do some gliking and glamping? Have a look at this guide for the best gliking destinations around the world as well as glamping spots in Victoria - you can even do an urban hike if you do not have the time to go bush.