Updated: Jul 17, 2022
Guided hiking trips can be an amazing way to get outdoors when you don't feel totally confident going on a hike by yourself. They are also great for people who love to walk but don't like to plan grand adventures for months on end. For a long time there have been tons of small tour companies which have serviced this market all over the country but finding them and the walks they offer has not always been so straight forward. Now that all changes with the brand new website, Hiking Trips Australia which aims to have guided hiking trips from all over the country alongside offering a membership program to give discounts to these walks and retailers.
How did this start?
Well the team behind Hiking Trips Australia is a family affair started by husband and wife Amy and Chris Waters who built the site in the spare time after the kids had gone to bed. They are self-described lovers of the outdoors and created the site when they were looking for guided walks but couldn't find them all in one place and were suddenly sparked with a brilliant idea… let’s just put them in one place.
This was all made possible with Chris’s background as a freelance web designer which has allowed them to build this site together and create what now is Hiking Trips Australia.
What kind of walks do they have?
No matter if you are looking for day hikes along small and easy to traverse tracks or grand multi-day adventures over some of Australia’s most well-known trails there is certainly going to be a hike for you. This is because they have partnered with many different providers to offer tons of different hikes from all over Australia in practically every state and territory.
Right now some states have only a few but this can certainly be overlooked seeming they only launched their website less than one month ago and are welcoming new providers every day.
What features does Hiking Trips Australia include?
So when it comes to finding a hike that suits you they have many different search filters which allow you to really narrow down the options best for you. These search filter categories include searching by state, landscape, length, price, difficulty and type meaning it can be quite easy to trim down all the different options on the website to exactly what you want.
On top of these broad filters, the website also has a filter for additional activities that are included in your guided hike such as canoeing, rockclimbing, orienteering, yoga, kayaking and more which can allow you to change up what kind of things you do on a hike.
The website also offers full itineraries of each walk along with further details such as group size, pack type and even the language the guides speak so people of multicultural backgrounds can help find walks which are offered in their language.
All this makes the website very versatile to all different types of hikers and doesn't focus too hard on any one group of people which I think is certainly one big positive for users.
How do I go about booking a hike on the website?
When you have found a hike that you are ready to commit to then you can reach out to the guide via the contact panel on the hike’s info page. This allows you to message the guide directly but as the contact form notes, it can sometimes take some time for them to respond due to them often being out on hikes guiding other hikers.
These guides are independent tour operators separate from Hiking Trips Australia who come from all over the country so you probably will find something new to add to your hiking bucket list.
What is their hiking club?
Well I think what changes Hiking Trips Australia from being a simple directory is their hiking club memberships which offer a range of perks for a monthly subscription. They include two tiers of membership currently which are called basic and premium.
The main features of the basic plan is the 5% discount on all hikes on the website, the discounts to major hiking retailers, private member events and an invite to an annual hike gathering just for you and other members.
The premium plan includes all of the features that you get with the basic plan with the two major additions being access to the monthly giveaways. Each month members go into the draw to win one piece of hiking gear and one guided hike for them to redeem.
Some of the major brands which you get exclusive discounts for include favourites in the hiking community such as Ottie Merino and On Track Meals along with a range of others like OzTrail, Campfire, Bush Edge, Olight and Campanion with more coming soon.
One of the coolest parts of this hiking membership which if I'm honest is pretty well priced for what you get is the once a year gathering with other members. This takes it from more than just an online membership but rather into a community and this is certainly a big difference from similar online membership programs that you see from other brands.
What are the downsides of guided hikes?
Through Hiking Trips Australia has filled a gap present in the guided walks market here in Australia there are some downsides to the idea of guided hikes more generally which can discourage hikers from choosing to book one of these walks.
Hiking is ultimately a free activity which doesn't cost you except for the gear that you choose to buy. Hiking can be done by almost anyone for next to no cost which is partly why it appeals to so many people from so many different backgrounds because we all have something in common, we enjoy walking.
Guided walks can add costs to this ‘free’ activity but they can also add a lot more too. Guides often have a deep knowledge of the location you are walking in and can share skills you may not have previously have had. Though they can cost you money unlike setting off on your own adventure, I believe that they are really rewarding, allowing you to connect with others and learn together while visiting some amazing spaces.
What is my overall experience with Hiking Trips Australia?
Something you will instantly come across is the fact that this site is pretty easy to navigate, it’s laid out in a very logical manner which makes using the site to find hikes I'm interested in very easy.
The info pages for each hike are packed with all the essential info you need when making a decision to book a hike in an easy to understand format. The first thing you will see on this page is the three main symbols which show the level of the hike (easy, moderate, etc.), the terrain and area of a hike (mountains, coastal, urban, etc.) and finally the duration of the hike.
Having these three key things there as the first thing you see instantly helps me decide if this hike is for me as these are typically the things I would be looking at when booking a hike.
Ultimately I think Hiking Trips Australia offers a great service to hikers around Australia not wanting to waste their time looking through endless independent websites of hiking guides to find a guided trip for them. The idea is great and the execution is just as good making this not just something cool where you look at what people offer but rather a place where you find what you are after.
There is nothing like exploring and if a guided trip is what helps you get there then this website is the perfect fit for you to find exactly what you are looking for.
If you want to check out their site for yourself you can access it here.
Written by Josh Welch