What I’ve Learnt During My Four Years Of Hiking

the hiking society

What may come as a surprise to some is that I’ve only been in this hiking caper for about four years now.

And the beginnings of this ‘journey’ came about as I took a 12-month break from another love of mine – football.

While four years isn’t a particularly long time in the grand scheme of things, I’ve certainly learnt plenty since I took up hiking back in mid-to-late 2014 prior to starting The Hiking Society.

Safety in the Outdoors

As a MeetUp organiser for a hiking group in Melbourne that runs regular outdoor events, my organisers and I are regularly interacting with hikers of all levels and abilities.

Not only that, but we run events in some fairly popular places where there are generally plenty of people around.

In a position such as this, you get a really good insight into people’s understanding of safety in the outdoors and the gear they bring with them.

the hiking society

Despite there being literally thousands of articles and info on outdoor safety on the web, there still appears to be a lack of understanding of what outdoor safety really is.

Things such as bringing adequate water with you (500mL probably isn’t enough for a 3-hour hike in 25-degree heat), having the right clothing and footwear, and bringing enough food are a few examples of what I deem as being safe in the outdoors.

The more education we can have around this, the less chance we’ll have where people will find themselves stuck in the outdoors without the right gear or supplies.

People Want To Learn

The flipside of what I just wrote is that plenty of people are eager to learn about gear, safety measures, hiking tracks and camping spots, and everything in between.

They want to know where the best trails are, where the best camping spots are, the right gear to have, and on it goes.

I know when I first got into hiking, I dove headfirst into finding out everything and anything I could about gear and trails.

I wanted to know it all.

the hiking society

While I don’t hang out there as much as I used to, the Bushwalk Australia forum was a great resource for me in the early days.

There are plenty of threads on that forum from general hiking info to more specifics such as gear talk (both bought and DIY), trail talk, buy/swap/sell, food and a section for outdoor businesses to advertise.

Alternatively, the hiking and bushwalking group on Facebook, which boasts 10,000+ members, is another great place for info.

Then there are blogs such as mine, Bushwalking Blog, Lotsafreshair, Bushwalk the Gong, Greentrails and many others, that are full of great info.


Finally, and this is probably the biggest takeaway for mine, the Australian outdoor community is exactly that – a community.

And an incredibly strong one at that.

Regardless if they have a blog, business or simply love to get out on a weekly basis, I have been incredibly fortunate to meet so many wonderful people during my time running The Hiking Society blog.

Some I have met in person and have developed friendships with, while others I have only ever interacted with on social media or via this website.

Regardless, they have each added to my knowledge and understanding of the outdoor industry both from a business and general perspective.

the hiking society

While I’ve only been hiking for a short while, I feel as though I have learnt plenty during these past four years both before and during The Hiking Society.

Whether it be something as simple as learning how to use my cooker for the first time, or as demanding hiking tours in Victoria, it has been such a rewarding experience.

And the best part? I don’t even think I’ve even begun to scratch the surface yet.

2 Responses
  1. I have been the international consultant for developing the Great Ocean Walk at the 12 Apostles – together with Scott Crabtree of Parks Victoria. Since that time we developed the Green Flag certification system for trails. Have a look at http://www.greenflagtrails.org. I would like to get involved with this system in Australia too, as it is gaining international standing as time goes by. For convincing international visitors the Great Ocean Walk needs to be Green Flagged. Have you hiked it? Do you have contact with them?. I am from South Africa.

    1. John Feeney

      Hi there Leon,

      I have done certain sections of the hike but have yet to do the entire hike. Is there any other way I can assist you? Feel free to reach out on email: [email protected].


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