Walking Mature Couples Deep Creek
Walking Mature Couples Deep Creek

Step into bushwalking this autumn

26 Mar. 2024 4 min read

Fancy a bushwalk this autumn? Here’s everything you need to know before taking that first step.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to be physically active and you can do it virtually anywhere with very little equipment. It’s a great activity for keeping your body healthy. In fact, just 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of illness such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

It’s also great for our minds, is an ideal way to conserve and enjoy our environment and is accessible for most people.

But, if you’re new to bushwalking there are a few things to think of before you set off to help you remain safe.

Choose your group

It is always best to bushwalk with other people. If there will be more than four people in your group it is a good idea to nominate a responsible person who will take the lead to ensure preparation is done and all walkers are looked after. The speed and fitness of the slowest person will decide how far you can walk and how quickly. South Australia has many fantastic walking clubs, so consider joining one near you.

Prepare and plan

Find out as much as you can about your chosen walk so that you know what to expect in the way of terrain and points of interest. Be sure to have a map to take with you, either on paper or downloaded to your phone. Tell an emergency contact where you are going, what time you expect to return and what to do if you do not come back in time. Checkthe predicted walking and weather conditions to help you choose the right clothes..

Pack your bag

Make sure you are well equipped, have appropriate clothing and carry enough food and water. Carry your gear in a small, sturdy, comfortable back pack. Taking a lunch box will ensure you can take your rubbish home. Be sure to carry 2 litres of water, or more if it’s warm. Other essentials include a first aid kit, map, whistle, tissue or toilet paper and something waterproof to sit on.

What to wear

Choose comfortable, enclosed walking or sports shoes and clothes that are comfortable, light and loose. Consider sun and rain protection and carry a hat, sunscreen and light weight rain jacket. In the cooler weather, wear layers that can be removed as you warm up and consider water-proof shoes and some spare socks!

Emergencies

If someone is injured or cannot walk, call 000 and ask for the police. Stay together in a group. Be prepared to change your plans to suit your conditions.

Enjoy your walk

Keep track of everyone in your group, check your map regularly and drink plenty of water. Stick to the paths and avoid damaging native vegetation. Remember there are no bins in parks so take all of your rubbish home and respect other walkers by keeping down the volume of music or talking.

Leave no trace

This is the best way for you to help us protect our national parks. Remember to stick to the designated trails, leave wildlife alone, being responsible with pets and clean your boots to keep phytophthora at bay.

Accessible walks

Walking in South Australia can be enjoyed by all, no matter your age, fitness or mobility. Walking SA has over 50 fantastic accessible walking routes to explore that are wheelchair, pram and mobility friendly. The walks can also be great for children to ride their bikes along with their parents walking beside them.

Walking SA also has a list of great bushwalks accessible by public transport if you don’t have access to a car.

Want to learn more or give bushwalking a go? The Hiking Expo is taking place in Belair National Park on Sunday 14 April. Part of Walkfest, the Expo offers a range of walks to cater to all abilities and meet people passionate about walking in our beautiful State. WalkFest hiking showcase, 14 April 2024, Belair National Park (walkingsa.org.au)

Planning on staying longer after your hike? Check out our great guide to camping in national parks.

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