Begin Bushwalking – Development v1
Tips Before You Walk
Join a club
The simplest and safest way to get started is to learn from the experience of others. Bushwalking clubs are an excellent source of experienced leaders and walking companions, as well as offering useful trip suggestions and advice. Clubs generally have walk programs publicised well in advance and welcome prospective members as visitors on walks. Some clubs also have equipment available for hire.
There are more than 70 bushwalking and outdoor clubs across Victoria so there is likely to be one near you.
Read about bushwalking
There are many good books available on equipment, skills and places to go. Try your local library or one of the specialist shops for copies.
Work up to your aspirations
Start with easy trips. Do a couple of half-day or day walks fairly close to home, then longer day walks and short overnight trips. Start with walks in easy country, on well-marked routes with up-to-date track notes and maps. Walk in fine weather if possible. Build up your experience gradually.
Bushwalking is good exercise and is within the physical capabilities of most people. However, you'll do better and enjoy it more if you are fit before you go. The exercise you need is the kind that builds up your heart and circulatory system; walking, climbing stairs, swimming, cycling, jogging and, of course, lots of bushwalking.
If you are not walking with an experienced leader, obtain a map of the area and plan your route before starting. Try to estimate how long it will take and where you want to have lunch or camp. Someone in the party must be able to navigate. It is dangerous to go into the bush if you do not understand how to read a map. Many clubs will help members become proficient at navigation. Know the elements of first aid and carry a basic first aid kit at all times.
You don't need much equipment when starting, but choose it carefully and wisely. For day walks you need a small pack, but if you wish to camp overnight you will personally need a good sleeping bag and backpack, whilst a tent and stove can be shared with others. These items can be borrowed or hired until you decide exactly what you need. Specialist shops and clubs can help with advice.
Where to Walk?
Check out Find a Walk for ideas on where to go bushwalking. This is Bushwalking Victoria's online database of bushwalks across Victoria. There is sure to be something suitable for all levels of skills and experience.
Let someone know before you go
Before you go, let someone know where you are going and when you are expected back. Leave a copy of your intended route with a friend (or at least with your vehicle). Remember to let them know of your safe return.