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I just love bushwalking, don't you? I'm guessing you do and that's what's brought you to this page!
Keeping safe and getting the most enjoyment possible on my walk is important to me.
Over the years, having gone on many bushwalks, I've learnt a thing or two about what I could have done better in my bushwalking. I'd like to share these tips with you on this page.
About the walk itself
Before going on a walk find out the answers to these questions:
How long will the walk take?
What sort of terrain will I be covering?
How challenging will the walk be?
There may be information available in a brochure or at a visitor centre.
Why is it important to know in advance?
What if you're not at peak energy levels, or you have a toddler in tow and the path is much steeper than you expected? What if you suddenly come to a swamp? Getting information in advance will help you avoid unpleasant surprises.
What you're wearing
Finding out as much as possible about your chosen walk (above) in advance will help you know how you should dress appropriately.
What's the weather forecast? If it's going to rain heavily, you might want to postpone the walk to another day. Alternatively you might decide to go ahead with bushwalking but have some sort of rain protection (poncho, raincoat, even umbrella) on hand.
Longs vs shorts
What if it's going to be really hot? Should you wear shorts?
To be honest, no matter how hot it's going to be, I prefer to wear longs on my legs. Why? Because I'd rather protect my skin from sun-burn, insects, even plants. In some walks, I've found myself getting up really close to plants and sometimes getting scratched by thorns.
I always do carry shorts along though, just in case. I might decide to slap on the insect repellant, change into shorts and take my chances with the plants and insects. The important idea here is to be prepared
Wear good walking shoes.
OK, you may feel that flip-flops will do very well for your chosen walk. In that case, wear flip-flops if you must but at least carry good walking shoes with you.
Again, be prepared.
Food and water
You may be off on a great bush adventure but you will still need to eat and drink. Bring sandwiches, fruit, energy bars - food that's easy to prepare or obtain, but that will keep you going.
And whatever you do, bring water.
Sunblock and insect repellant
Apply sunblock at the start of the walk. Even if it's a cloudy day and you anticipate spending most of the time in the shade of a rainforest, those UV rays still come through.
As for insect repellant, that's up to you. Some people seem to be mosquito targets more than others. (Sweeter blood, some tell me). Consider slapping on some insect repellant for comfort sake.
Let people know your walking plans
At the start of some walks there are walker registration books. Make sure you add your details before you set off on your walk. You never know if you may need some assistance, in which case it will be helpful for others to know where you might be, and when you started on your walk.
You can also let someone know your plans and that you will be in contact to let them know that all is well after the walk. If you get into trouble and subsequently they do not hear from you, they can then raise the alarm.
I don't mean to be all doom and gloom. However I do mean to emphasise how important it is to be prepared for the unexpected.
Consider carrying a personal locator device
Your mobile phone may be out of range on your walk. If you believe that your walk is particularly hazardous, consider taking a personal locator device along.