{What to expect at a group walk}

So, considering coming along on a group walk but have no idea what to expect? Walks are a very informal affair where like-minded nature lovers or outdoorsy types can get together.

Dreamed on Instagram of going for a local bushwalk? Didn’t know where to start, what to expect or who to go with?…. JOIN A BUSHWALK THE GONG GROUP WALK. We have the places, the people and most importantly made the decisions and done the planning for you.

I’m not very fit and I don’t have any gear? You don’t need to be super fit, as long as you can handle uneven ground, basic ladders and staircases. You pick the pace, it isn’t a race and we can stop at any time.  If you are not after a boot camp fitness session… JOIN A BUSHWALK THE GONG GROUP WALK. We have all ages, all fitness levels and all you need is a water bottle and some sturdy shoes such as sneakers.

What do I wear? No fancy clothes are required. No posers here! Wear loose fitting flexible clothing as you are stepping up and across sections at times, you don’t want tight skinny jeans restricting you. Long pants are recommended on most tracks as blade grasses and stinging nettle is to be expected on a number of trails. Layers are the best option. It might be cold but you can still heat up quickly when you are exercising, additionally a warm sunny day on the coast can quickly drop in temperature in the rainforest. Layer for all conditions, warm and cold. Check out the blog post on rainy day hiking for more tips.

Will I get attacked by leeches, snakes or yowies? Probably not. Depending on the weather and location, there is a small chance of leeches. They don’t hurt and I’m happy to get them off you if you can’t stand the sight of them, you can read more here. Snakes, in summer maybe, with a big group walking in early morning – not so likely. Just walk behind someone if you are a little paranoid. Yowies, I hope so, and I hope to capture it on film!

I don’t like taking photos? That’s cool, just come along for the company and the walk, our focus is not photography but the walk. There’s plenty to see and new people to meet. You can always just share our gallery with your friends and family after the event.

What are the tracks like? In most cases we are on National Parks trails so they are well maintained, signposted and clear of debris or obstructions. Most are single tracks (one person at a time) with some of the fire trails opening up wide enough to fit a car through. Expect dirt trails with occasional man-made stairs and ladders on the steeper sections, some scrambling on some tracks, particularly around waterfalls. Weather dependent, expect some mud, so don’t wear your favourite sneakers – they will get muddy. Hiking shoes are not required, comfort is paramount as you are not walking on a flat surface, sneakers are the next best option.

Can I bring kids? Yes. Happy for babies or big kids to come along. Just be mindful, these are not necessarily easy tracks +8 years is probably ideal, younger than that you are dealing with ladders and potential cliff hazards, so probably not a good idea to try and chase after a toddler – and it’s not fair to put the other punters in an awkward position where they are trying to catch a kid before they walk off a cliff. I pass plenty of mums and dads with babies in slings/backpacks, so if you are up for a super workout with ‘weights’ by all means strap a baby to you!

What food do I need to take and how much water? It’s totally up to you. If you are not very fit and expecting to sweat a bit, I’d be bringing 2 bottles of water; in most cases 1 bottle is perfect for the average person. Most walks are under 3hrs, so food is not necessary for survival – or depending on your needs, maybe it is! Bring what you want and happy to stop for a nibble. Healthy snacks are ideal such as fruit, nuts and cut up veggies. Bring a sandwich and a thermos if you want, up to you!

What safety requirements do I need to take? Under your physicians guidance, bring whatever you need, i.e. asthma sprays, medication, strapping etc. If you travel with a backpack, never hurts to have some basics such as band aids, antiseptic cream etc. It’s super important you tell friends/family where you are. Even though we are walking in a group, it’s a good practice to get into letting people know your whereabouts and expected return times. Bushwalkthegong is not a club; it’s not a business, so you join at your own risk. It’s up to you to have your personal insurance needs met.

How do I join? Simple. Subscribe to our events on our Facebook page and simply select “Going” on the event page. Jump to our Risk Form Waiver on our website, takes less than 1min to read and e-sign. Happy hiking!

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