Exploring tracks can be a great way to experience solitude and the beauty of this wonderful country. While the tracks I have explored can be used as a guide to plan your own adventures, please take note that these were compiled from memory (which may not always be accurate!) and relate to the time I visited. Do your own research, take detailed maps and take care - your safety is your own responsibility. No duty of care is given or implied.
Below are some useful tips that may help you in your adventures:
Planning your trek
- Check that the track is suitable for your experience, skill and level of fitness.
The Australian walking track grading system (AWTGS) classifies hiking tracks by type and difficulty.
- Check alerts for information on current conditions and track closures before you go and be prepared to turn around if required. I once travelled 400 km around a track closure!
Alerts for NSW National Parks
Live Traffic NSW
- Check for weather conditions, forecasts and warnings. Weather can change quickly, especially in alpine regions.
Bureau of Meteorology
- Plan and prepare thoroughly for long and challenging treks in remote areas. Treks of this nature require specialist experience, skills and equipment, including recovery gear, tools and spare part for the 4WD treks.
- Some of the tracks I have explored are in remote locations or may not have mobile phone coverage. Consider hiring or buying a personal locator beacon (PLB) which should only ever be activated in cases of emergencies. Fines apply for misuse. I own a GME MT410G PLB which I always keep handy, but thankfully, have never had to activate!
- Take a map and compass with you on your trek. Don't rely solely on your GPS.
- Give your trek plan to a reliable person in case you are injured or get lost. Ask them to contact emergency services if you don’t return as planned. Remember to let them know of your return as soon as you finish your trek.
Check the NSW police website for additional information on preparing for tracks
- Take a first aid course. It may even help to save a life!
- Comfortable, protective footwear on the hikes is a must. I also wear water shoes / diving boots when kayaking, as you never know what may be underfoot.
- Dress for the track conditions and weather. Wearing layers is always a good idea, since you can take off easily and replace when you stop and cool down. Light weight, long sleeved shirts and trousers minimise scratches, stings, bites and sunburn. On the water, a long sleeved rash shirt and pants are the way to go. A dry change of clothes is also be a good idea!
- A hat and sunscreen in Australia is a must to avoid sunburn.
- A raincoat and warm jumper is advisable, in case the weather changes suddenly. I have found that wool is better for retaining the heat, even when wet.
- Always carry plenty of drinking water. Never rely on water being available on your trek. When travelling in remote locations, at least 10 litres per person per day is what I carry. Take some food, including emergency rations, just in case the trek takes longer than planned.
- Carry a well stocked first-aid kit and know how to use it. I own a Survival First Aid Kit, which I really like for it's well laid out design and comprehensive list of items. Even on the shortest of treks, I carry at least a basic kit - just in case.
- As mentioned in Planning your trek, maps, compass, GPS, PLB, satellite and/or mobile phone should all be considered when packing your vehicle, backpack or dry sack.
- The Bushwalking Leadership South Australia website has some useful information, especially their resource, A guide to better bushwalking.
Australian walking track grading system (AWTGS)
The hiking track grades that I have included use the Australian Walking Track Grading System (AWTGS). This system has been adopted by National Parks in Australia and classifies tracks into 5 grades of varying degrees of difficulty. The grades have been provided by the relevant National Park or are my best estimate. Where the track has multiple grades, I have used the highest grade.
Note that the times I have included was how long it took me to complete the track, and your actual time may vary based on the your level of fitness, the current track condition etc.