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Latest news from Bushwalking Victoria

A passionate adventurer, who hasn't let disability stop him from living life to the fullest, is helping Parks Victoria test new equipment that could be used in the future to help others undertake more challenging hikes in national parks.


Wheelchair hiking1


Campbell Message, who became a paraplegic after a car accident when he was two, volunteered his time recently to test special adaptive equipment at Wilsons Promontory National Park to see if it would help people to undertake the difficult hike.


Campbell tested an off-road handcycle with ultra-low gears for steep hill climbing. It also has two wheels at the front for extra stability and an extra steering system that can be activated by moving the chest on a panel attached to the steering. All camping gear needed to be carried and Campbell also had to tow his wheelchair on a trailer attached to the off-road handcycle.


Wheelchair hiking2


Campbell was accompanied by two wonderful friends on the hike from Telegraph Saddle to Oberon Bay; camped overnight then undertook the coastal route to Tidal River. It is a challenging hike and the team had to work together using various methods such as rope towing, hand cranking and even crawling to get through the steep and challenging terrain.


View the video of Campbell and the team in action at the Prom at


Source: Melanie McVey-Di Lazzaro, Regional Marketing & Communications- East Region, Parks Victoria
T +6138427 2417 | M 0459 818 451 | E This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We all have a secret, or not so secret, bucket list of those walks which fire our imagination and fill our dreams – the Camino, the Tour of Mont Blanc, the Cinque Terre. Here are some books you should be able to find in your local library to help you create your list, or refill when you suddenly find you've walked them all. Depressingly, most of these books seem to include 'before you die', so apologies for any morbid note.


Barry Stone's 1001 Walks You Must Experience Before You Die seems rather daunting when you're already in your sixties, but fortunately many of these walks are very short. The walks are arranged by theme: overland, urban, mountain, heritage and coastal and shoreline. Each walk is briefly described on one page with a photograph and stating distance, time and grade. There is an index of walks by country at the beginning, with Australia coming second after the USA for the largest number of walks per country. It's certainly worth a browse, and would be very useful if you're travelling and want to build in a few walks.


The BBC's Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die by Steve Watkins and Clare Jones is a glorious book because of the photographs. It's well spread geographically and includes our own Great Ocean Walk, which is its only Australian entry. Actual detail of the walks is a bit scanty, but is usually sufficient to get a sense of the walk's difficulty and any support available.


Classic Hikes of the World: 23 Breathtaking Treks, with detailed routes and maps for expeditions on six continents, by Peter Potterfield is an American publication and half of the walks presented are in North America. There are some very serious walks, like Shackleton Crossing in the Antarctic. Also with good pictures, the route guides and maps are detailed and each walk has a both a physical and a psychological challenge rating out of 5. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Baltoro Glacier to K2 Base Camp in Pakistan, and Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal all score 5 for both types of challenge.


Chris Santella's Fifty Place to Hike Before You Die: Outdoor Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations is a small format book with a good variety of walks but fewer pictures than others. Each walk is recommended, and possibly written, by a different 'expert', leading to an eclectic and interesting mixture. It's heavily biased towards North America, and there is insufficient information about distance and difficulty.


Claes Grundsten's Trek! the Best Trekking in the World is another beautiful coffee-table sized book with great photographs and global variety. At the back of the book, there are brief route guides for all the walks, including distance, accommodation, difficulty and best time, which provide a good overview. One of the best of these bucket books.


The surprising thing about all these books is that they each present different walks, so that you'd need several lifetimes to do them all. A few walks are in most of them, and so you have to assume they really are the ones you must do before you die. They are the Routeburn Track, the West Highland Way, the Grand Canyon, Everest Base Camp, The Inca Trail, The Lycian Way (Turkey), the Dolomites (Italy), the Rocky Mountains and Mount Kilimanjaro.


Irene McG, The Geelong Walker, July 2016

Fitting and Lacing Your Boots


Fit Finding

  • Always try on both boots in case one foot is bigger than the other.
  • Strong walking boots will not feel like slippers: they take some getting used to.
  • Try lots of different brands wearing one medium to thick wool and nylon mix sock.
  • Boots that are too big will feel good in the shop, so start too small, a full size less than you think you need, and work up to a comfortable, snug fit.
    Wriggle your foot forward until your toes are against the end. Now try to cram two fingers down between your heel and the inside of the boot. If they slip down easily, the boots are a bit long: if the fingers won't fit, the boots are too short. The right fit is usually when the fingers just squeeze between heel and boot.
  • Laced up, well-fitting boots should be comfortably snug across the forefoot and tight around the ankle. Go for a brisk walk around the shop. A tiny bit of heel slip will 'walk out' of the boot as the sole wears in. If there's definite up and down movement, find a boot with a narrower heel. Lateral movement or a loose feel around the forefoot means you need a narrower fit as well. If your foot feels 'squeezed' from the sides, go for a wider boot.
  • Ask the retailer if you can try the boots at home (inside) and return them if you are not sure about the fit: good boots shops will allow this. At home, wear them for an hour then walk downstairs, your toes must not touch the front. Stepping back up, your heels shouldn't move and your foot should be held snug and stable by the entire boot. No steps at home? Take them to work and try them there.
  • Boots will get a little wider across the forefoot with wear, they will also become more snug around the heel but they may get shorter as the sole curves upwards from walking.
  • Consider an orthotic or footbed. Available from sports stores, ski shops and podiatrists, they can make a huge difference.


Forgotten Arts - Tie Me Up

Criss-cross lacing is not the whole story.

  • Slipping heel
    To secure your heel into a slightly roomy shoe, lace it with a normal criss-cross until you reach the second-top eyelet. Don't cross them but take them directly up to the eyelet above. From the top eyelet cross the lace over the shoe and thread it through the loop formed by the other lace passing between the top two eyelets.

Bootlacing slipping step

  • Pain relief
    Got a lump or bruise on your instep that's causing pain? You can relieve some pressure by skipping one set of eyelets at the point of pain.

Bootlacing pain relief

  • Narrow feet
    On many running and light-weight walking shoes there are both wide and narrow-set eyelets. Using only the wider eyelets will tension the sides of the shoes without creating a ridge of bunched- up laces down the middle of the shoe.

Bootlacing narrow foot 

  • Flexibility
    Particularly with narrow feet where the sides of the shoes get drawn closely together and the laces become a near-solid mass, the thick laces of some outdoor shoes can make the shoe very inflexible. To help the shoe flex evenly, try the old system your parents used to do to your PE shoes. Thread the lace down into the bottom two eyelets and pass one end directly to the top, opposite eyelet. Now with the other lace pass it across and up through its opposite eyelet, then directly across and down. Repeat until it emerges at the top eyelet.

Bootlacing flexibility

  • High insteps
    Normal criss-cross lacing creates a row of pressure points along the top of the shoe. It you have high arches and want to relieve the bite, try this: thread the lace through the bottom two eyelets; take the right lace (in the illustration), skip an eyelet and pass it through the next from underneath. Pass it across the shoe, now take the left lace and raise it through the eyelet directly above, cross it over the tongue and pass it down through the opposite eyelet. Repeat.

Bootlacing high instep


Richard M, The Geelong Walker, July 2016


Outdoor safety products

Great Walks attended the recent Outdoor Retailer Australia trade show. Below are two safety products that may be of interest to bushwalkers.


Pocket sized SteriPEN Pure+ water purifier

This small steripen claims to destroy more than 99.99% of bacteria, viruses and protozoan cysts.


 Steripen Pure


It comes with a Neoprene storage pouch and USB charging cable. Note: There is no battery option.


  • Treatment size: ½lt
  • Treatment time: 48 seconds
  • Lamp life: 5,000 activations
  • Approx. treatments per charge: 40
  • Weight: 76.5g
  • Product dimensions: 13 x 3.5 x 2.2cm
  • Warranty: 3-year limited

RRP: $159.50


Source: Great Walks e-newsletter; Zen Imports


rescueME EDF1 - compact electronic distress flare

Primarily designed as an ocean signal, this multi-use flare with replaceable batteries and four light modes is also useful for attracting attention on land.

RescueMe distress flare



  • Battery type: Lithium Primary
  • Chemistry: LiMnO2
  • Operating life: >6 hours
  • Environmental operating temperature range: -20°C to +55°C
  • Storage temperature range: -30°C to +70°C
  • Waterproof: 10m at +20°C
  • Weight: 155g
  • Size: 187mm (length) x 42mm (diameter)

Price range: $120-200 depending on the supplier.


Source: Great Walks e-newsletter, All Sats Communication website

How statistically valid the data is depends on what 'interest' means and the survey techniques and parameters. The previous survey by Outdoors Victoria estimated that 200,000 Victorians listed bushwalking as their 'primary' outdoor activity. The current survey indicates substantial growth in bushwalking, but 'interest in' and 'primary' are quite different attributes. (Editor)


OV survey July 2016


Source: Outdoor Victoria News, July 2016

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