Posted on

Tips for Summer Bushwalking

Summer brings unique challenges; here are some tips for making bushwalks in summer enjoyable and safe.

Choose your walk carefully

  • Summer can be scorching, so choose a walk to suit the weather.
  • Avoid desert walks; look for routes that provide some shade.
  • Avoid any walk that involves steep climbs during the hottest part of the day.
  • Locations such as the Goldfields, Brisbane Ranges, Werribee Gorge, Long Forest and Lerderderg Gorge are not generally recommended for summer walks.
  • Consider the cooler Alpine areas or rainforest areas such as the Otways, the Central Highlands, East Gippsland, Strzelecki Ranges and Wilsons Promontory.

Be prepared

  • Check fire warnings before you set out. Cancel your walk if the weather forecast is Catastrophic/Code Red or Extreme. Victorian parks and forests in bushfire-prone areas are often closed to the public on Code Red days.
  • Plan to start your walk early in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Wear light colours, long sleeves and lightweight loose-fitting clothes to facilitate sweat evaporation.  Don’t forget your hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Carry plenty of water. Safe, naturally-occurring drinking water is generally non-existent in the bush in summer.
  • Learn to identify the symptoms of heat exhaustion and know how to treat it.
  • Don’t forget your first aid kit, including snake bite bandages just in case!

During the walk

  • Stay well-hydrated before, during and after your walk and consider carrying extra electrolytes to replace those lost when you sweat.
  • Allow time for a slower pace and to have more frequent drink and rest stops.
  • If you’re doing a long walk, either take a lengthy midday break or see if you can reduce the distance to be covered.

You can find more detailed information about trip planning, dealing with extreme weather, walking in challenging conditions and minimum water requirements in the Bushwalking Manual.