Skills Training [267] | Bushwalking

Skills Training will help you WALKSAFE


A basic first aid course, sometimes known as Provide First Aid, will help stabilise an injured person until medical help arrives in an urban situation. However, in the bush you may be a long way from medical help. An injury or accident in a remote area could mean using a Personal Locator Beacon to summon a rescue helicopter. Alternatively, you may wait many hours while ambulance staff trek through rough bush terrain to reach you, so that they can stretcher the injured person to the ambulance. A remote Area First Aid course will equip you to handle most bushwalking emergencies where medical assistance is delayed.

It is necessary to do a recertification course every 3 years to remain qualified and up to date with the latest life saving techniques.

First Aid training providers

  • St John Ambulance Victoria run weekly Provide First Aid, Recertification and Remote Area First Aid courses throughout Victoria. St John also sells first aid books and first aid kits. Enrol online or phone 1300 360 455
  • Life Saving Victoria run regular Provide First Aid and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) courses at the Life Saving Victoria State Centre in Port Melbourne.
  • Commercial Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that run first aid courses can be found by searching the web.

Knowing how to use a topographic map and compass is an essential skill to avoid becoming lost in the bush. Your local bushwalking club or evening college may offer a map and compass course. Visit the Find a Club page to locate a bushwalking club in your area.

Outdoor gear suppliers, bookstores and libraries often carry books on navigation and bush skills.

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and Victorian TAFE colleges (including Wodonga, Holmesglen and Chisholm) offer a Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation. This usually a one year full-time course and is a nationally recognised qualification for those wishing to join the outdoor recreation industry.


Bush orienteering involves using a map and compass to navigate to a series of checkpoints ("controls") in the bush. Participation in these graded events will help you to develop your navigation skills. Orienteering Victoria run bush orienteering events in central and northeast Victoria and in areas within one hour to the north and west of Melbourne.


Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation in which teams of two to five members visit as many checkpoints as possible in the specified time. In Victoria, rogaines are typically run over periods of 6, 12 or 24 hours.  Participation in rogaing events can provide another opportunity to develop your navigation skills.  Visit the Victorian Rogaining Association for more information.

Victorian Police call in the services of Bush Search and Rescue Victoria (BSAR) to assist finding person lost in the bush. You need to be an experienced bushwalker to join BSRV and participate in training. Membership requirements can be found on the BSAR website.

Bush Search and Rescue Victoria holds regular training events for members. A General Training event is held annually, usually held over a weekend, alternating each year between on and off snow. This is open to all members, including Prospective Members. Steep Snow and Ice training is usually held each year, for members with alpine skills and experience.

Learning how to find shelter, build a fire and collect food and water may assist you to survive if you are lost in the bush.

Bush Survival Skills training providers

Abseiling involves descending rock faces on ropes and is a vital skill for canyoners and rock climbers.

Climbing equipment suppliers are a good source of information about companies in their area offering abseiling courses.

Search the web to locate commercial training providers which operate in Victorian Alpine regions such as Mt Arapiles, the Grampians and Mt Buffalo. It is important to choose an operator which employs qualified and experienced instructors.

You can also learn abseiling techniques at indoor rock climbing towers in urban areas such as Geelong and Melbourne.

Many bushwalking clubs include canoeing or kayaking in their activity program. Confident, skilled handling of watercraft is essential for safety whether on a river or in the ocean. Contact your local kayak or canoe club for information on beginner's courses.

When choosing a training provider, ensure the trainers are suitably qualified and experienced. Australian Canoeing administers the Australian Canoeing Award Scheme (ACAS). Holders of the Flatwater Instructor Award are qualified to instruct participants in the skills required for inland kayaking and canoeing. Further qualifications include Sea Instructor and Whitewater Instructor.

Canoeing and Kayaking training providers

  • Canoeing Victoria offer Come and Try days, which are normally a 1-2 hour session which include gearing up, a safety briefing and time paddling on the water. Basic Skills and Introduction to Whitewater are formal courses that involve assessment by an Australian Canoeing Instructor to attain an award.
  • Sea Kayak Australia is a commercial provider offering courses in Melbourne. 

The internet can be a great place to find information, tips, instructions, reviews etc to improve your outdoor skills.  While some information applies universally across the world, this is not always the case.  Below are two Australian based sites providing local content.  There will be many others.  Please note that Bushwalking Victoria is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of content on external sites.




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