Day trips to amazing locations is easy for Sydneysiders– the Hunter Valley, the Central Coast, the South Coast and of course, the Blue Mountains. All of these locations have wonderful cafes, friendly people and awesome opportunities to explore the great outdoors.
As with all outdoor activities in Australia, there is definitely an element of danger that Aussies are used to, with our super hot summer temperatures and range of poisonous creepy crawlies, so below are a couple of tips to stay healthy during your summer hikes from a former guide.
Always let people know where you’re going, and what time you expect to be back
This seems like a no brainer, but it’s an easy one to pass over, especially if you’re only going on a short walk. But this is always important. All it has to be is a simple text “I’m going to do the Dante’s Glen walk, should be back in 2 hours, if you don’t hear back from me by 12pm, can you check in?” If something happens to you on your walk, you want people to know about it as soon as possible- which with dodgy bushland reception, isn’t always easy when you’re injured. Letting someone know is such an important thing to do before any hike, and takes about 2 seconds.
Always bring enough hydration for your hike. If you can, aim for ½ litre of water per 1 hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures. In the Australian sun, this could mean that you’re bringing double that to stay hydrated on a hot day. Dehydration happens quickly in the great outdoors. Quick signs that you’ve become dehydrated include but are not limited to: not sweating as much, dry mouth, dark coloured urine, headaches, fatigue and crankiness/irritability. If you’re feeling these, sit down, grab a muesli bar and a drink!
On that note, bring some snacks
It just has to be a couple of back up muesli bars for a short walk, or sandwiches and trail mix for a long one. Just like dehydration sneaks up on unsuspecting hikers, so does hunger! As soon as your energy depletes, your ability to regulate your body temperature decreases and your perceived fatigue increases. It’s harder to spot hunger while hiking, your stomach may not gurgle the way it does when you’re in the office, so make sure to top up with healthy food regularly! No one should hike hungry!
Dress for the occasion! (And check the weather before you go!)
Hiking requires specific footwear and clothes to keep you protected from the elements, the local flora and fauna and of course, from blisters! Check what the weather is going to be like before you go, so you can make the right clothing choices. Try and wear layers so that you can easily adjust to the changes in weather and temperatures. Make sure your shirts are loose and breathable, your trousers are long and floppy- especially below the knee- and your socks are hiking thick. Also wear the appropriate weather gear– sunnies, hats and sunscreen for hot January days and more layers and raincoats for your autumn stroll. Another handy tip is to make sure all of your shoes and clothes are broken in before you go for a long walk– there’s nothing worse than the blisters of new shows half way through a 3 hour hike!
For long hikes, have a first aid kit and emergency locator handy
You can buy first aid kits from most supermarkets and outdoors stores like this one here. If you don’t want to shell out a couple of hundred for a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) or EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Response Beacon), you can hire them from National Parks services. This is just in case you get into a true emergency.
THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
A mere 90 minute drive from Chatswood is one of the most iconic and beautiful places in the world: the Blue Mountains. Don’t take our word for it- it’s been recognised as a World Heritage area due to it’s incredibly unique flora and fauna.
If you’re planning a day trip of weekender this holidays, definitely put the Blue Mountains on your to do list, and check out some of these walks while you’re there!