Gear AdviceHere is some advice from Auswalk on the types of clothing and equipment we recommend for our Australian walking holidays. And remember – there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing! What to wear and bring will be somewhat specific to the location of the walk. Weather and other conditions impact on what is most suitable. We have more information specific to each walk that we are happy to share if you ask, however the information is more than enough to decipher what you will need to bring.
What do I need to carry on the track?
You will need to carry a small day pack with you on the track. We suggest that the following items are essentials to have with you
- walk notes, map and map case
- picnic lunch packed in insulated container (when supplied)
- quality waterproof jacket with a hood
- warm jumper or jacket
- sunscreen (at least 15+)
- 1 to 2 litres of water
- first aid kit
- toilet paper
- some money
- mobile phone (note that reception is not available in all walk areas)
- personal insect repellent & bandaids & small container of salt mixed with rice grains
Whether or not to carry some of these items may depend on the prevailing conditions.
- waterproof overtrousers
- warm hat
- notebook and pen
- small torch
- walking stick
- thermos (for hot drinks)
A waterproof jacket serves two functions – to keep you dry and to keep the wind out. Cheaper plastic or nylon raincoats are good for keeping the rain out, but unfortunately they do not breathe meaning that you’ll still get wet from condensation and not really suitable for any walk.
By far the best jackets are made from waterproof AND breathable fabrics such as Gore-Tex. These wick your body moisture through the Gore-Tex material to the outside of the jacket through one-way pores. Goretex and other similar jackets aren’t cheap but most of the quality outdoor equipment stores have sales where prices can often be reduced by substantial amounts. And they last a lifetime!
Your waterproof jacket is a practical item, designed to keep you warm, dry and comfortable in the bush and warm in areas where there is arisk of being cold.
We’re often asked about waterproof clothing in the tropics. If the tropical area is warm to hot then just get wet – you’ll dry out soon enough. However, Auswalk’s Tropical Hiker trip also includes some walking on the Atherton Tablelands. Temperatures can drop quite low here so you will need a waterproof jacket.
Clothing for cold weather
The best thing is to wear light summer style clothes with additional layers. Layers work well as they can be adjusted throughout the day as the conditions change.
You will also need:
A warm jumper. The best material these days is polar fleece or equivalents as they are lightweight and dry very quickly if they get wet. Wool, on the other hand, is heavy and takes a long time to dry. Cotton is not appropriate.
A warm hat is an important weapon for winter use. Did you know that you lose 40% of your body heat through your head? So if you’re feeling cold, don a hat and feel the difference.
If you suffer from cold hands, we suggest you invest in a lightweight pair of polypropylene gloves.
In very cold conditions, thermal clothing is useful. Thermal clothing should be worn next to the skin to be most effective.
Clothing for warm weather
We recommend thin synthetic materials for summer walking – cotton can get damp from perspiration.
Shirts should have collars and sleeves to help prevent sunburn. Long sleeves that can be either rolled up or rolled down are a good idea. Light colours will keep you cooler. Specialist shirts have vents to allow for airflow.
Shorts are great for hot weather, but use plenty of sunscreen. Long trousers are great for sun protection and also for cooler weather. Trousers that have “zip off” legs are a good compromise.
A sun hat is obviously essential. Choose a hat with a brim all the way round as this keeps off more heat and sun than either baseball caps or a soft floppy cotton hats. Good hats also come with some mesh ventilation in the middle and a chinstrap to keep it on when the wind blows. Choose a hat that packs easily into your case and daypack.
Sunglasses are also essential for all walking in Australia.
The best piece of advice we can give is to make sure it’s big enough! As a minimum you need to fit in your lunch, water bottle/s, wet weather gear, warm jumper, camera and other personal bits and pieces. A larger pack weighs marginally more and costs very little extra and you’re unlikely to regret it.
Well-padded shoulder straps are a must as your pack is inevitably going to feel heavier as the day goes on. Padded waist/hip belts are also very useful as they help take some of the load off your shoulders. A chest strap is available on most good packs these days and it will stop the pack from sliding around on your back whilst you bend over or walk on uneven terrain.
Several pockets or sections can also be handy, allowing you quick access to things like sunscreen, your water bottle or snacks.
Most packs are not waterproof so it’s always a good idea to line the pack with a heavy-duty plastic bag. You can also buy a pack cover, which does an excellent job of keeping most of the rain out.
Some daypacks have a curved back and this allows more air to circulate, a fabulous idea for comfort. Whilst other hikers have wet backs, with one of these daypacks your back will remain dry.
Unfortunately, what’s great for one person is not necessarily the best for another. We strongly recommend wearing proper hiking boots or shoes as they provide added ankle support. One thing is for sure if you buy a new pair of walking boots/shoes make sure you break them in before you come on holiday.
Here are some things to consider:
- Boots versus walking shoes – that’s largely an issue of personal preference. Walking shoes don’t provide anywhere near as much ankle support as boots though.
- The weight of the footwear is important. You only need something suitable for day hikes on tracks – not to climb Mt Everest in! There’s an old saying that 100 grams on your feet is equivalent to 500 on your back.
- The shoes should wrap round the foot with an even, snug hold over all parts of your foot. You should look for comfort across the balls of the feet. Your toes should not press together or touch the end of the boot – this is especially important for downhill walking. Your heel should not move inside the boot when you walk. And a laced up boot should not put pressure on the top of your foot or hurt your ankle.
- Leather has been the long time favourite with many walkers but these days is generally only used in heavier boots, which are mostly not necessary for day walks. Most light – medium weight boots are of good quality and have synthetic uppers. These are durable, but do not keep the water out. If you can pay some more, have a look at boots with a waterproof membrane such as Gore-Tex. The membrane is a very clever product built into the boot material so, though it can’t be seen, it lasts for the life of the boot. Dry feet will be more comfortable, smell less, and be less likely to blister if conditions get tough.
- The soles of the boots are extremely important. Look for soles that are thick enough to protect your feet against sharp rocks that might press into the sole, and with a chunky pattern that will provide better grip on slippery tracks. A Vibram sole is good quality – look for the yellow brand on the sole of the boots.
- Finally, we often see people who are wearing cheap, ill-fitting, loose, sloppy socks, which is an absolute recipe for disaster! Wear socks that fit firmly. Spend that bit extra and buy socks with shaped heels and good cushioning – your feet with thank you at the end of the day! Some people like to wear one pair of socks, others prefer two pair…..it is up to you. Once again, avoid loose socks that are too big.
At the end of the day, there are lots of different boots in the stores. Take your time, keep looking till you find a boot that fits like a glove.
These are not necessary for most Auswalks but are easy to justify if you do lots of walking. They are designed to keep rain, grass seeds, sand, mud, leeches and other unwanted items out of the top of your boots. They come in a full range of sizes from huge mountaineering styles through to short, lightweight ones. Most of them wrap over the boot laces, around the tops of boots and upwards over the lower part of your legs. Sensible, practical gaiters should have some stiffness, so they will sit upright around the lower part of your legs, and not slip down. Also, they should go on and off without needing to remove your boots. Gaiters also provide useful leg & sock protection whenever there are scratchy plants over the track or grasses full of seeds.
Satellite and Mobile phones
If you want to be sure that you’ll get reception everywhere, then you will need a satellite phone. We recommend satellite phones for self guided walking holidays. These can be hired from many outlets, including the following:
Rent a Sat Phone
This site provides a lot of information about renting phones.
Based in Melbourne where you can pick up a phone or they can mail it to you.
Satcom Hire & Sales
They will mail the phone to you.
We would appreciate any feedback about the service provided by any of these companies.
If you haven’t got a satellite phone then it is essential that you at least carry a mobile phone if you are doing a self-guided Auswalk holiday. Note that there will not be reception in all of the walking areas though.
With some phones, reception can be improved by purchasing a small external aerial that can clip onto our mobile phone. Our experience is that these aerials can increase signal strength by 1 to 2 bars, and often allows us to use the mobile in places where there would otherwise be no signal.
The emergency phone number from mobiles is 000 – this allows you to use any available network (even if it is not the one you subscribe to). Another useful tip is that text messaging requires less signal strength than voice communications. You may not be able to make a call, but you can still often send or receive a text message.
More and more walkers are discovering the benefits of using one or two walking poles. Poles can provide valuable support when walking on uneven ground and can significantly reduce jarring on knees and ankles when walking downhill.
There are several different styles of handles, so you can find a comfortable grip. Look for a stick with a spring mechanism built into it, which will reduce jarring on wrists and elbows.
Your new poles will no doubt travel in your suitcase so make sure it collapses small enough to fit.
Everyone can benefit from the use of walking poles, for walking further, exercising / strengthening upper body, for reducing knee jarring going downhill.
For a full day walk, you really need about 1.5 litres of water in cool weather, up to about 2.5 or even 3 litres during the heat of summer. It’s a good idea to drink lots (but not coffee) before you start walking, to give you a flying start! Personally we don’t see any need to purchase brand name water bottles – it’s perfectly OK to use discarded soft drink bottles which are lightweight, plentiful, durable, don’t leak and they are free!
Many people like camel baks – a “built in” water sack that sits snugly in your day pack and has a tube from which you can drink. If using one of these hydration systems, it is good practice to have a spare bottle of water in your pack, just in case you suck the camel bak dry!
Please consider using handkerchiefs instead of tissues – they last a lot longer and are much better for the environment.
Toilet paper – carry some for emergencies but please, please bury everything. Anything else is unsightly and thoughtless and tissues/toilet paper seem to take ages to degrade.
First Aid – if you are doing a self-guided trip you will need to carry your own complete first aid kit. If you are doing a guided trip then you should still carry personal medications and a blister kit.
Some people like to carry a fly net during the hot summer months.
Do you have an incentive program?
Walking with Auswalk gives you exclusive access to our incentive program. We love our Auswalkers and want to make it easy for you to return for another holiday. Here’s what we offer:
a) Frequent Walker Points: Just by going on a holiday with us, you will earn 100 Frequent Walker Points which you can redeem for a $100 discount (per person) off your next Auswalk trip. These points are valid for 2 years. This means that you will have 100 Frequent Walker Points to redeem as a $100 discount (per person) off your new booking. Please note: You can only use a maximum of 1 set of points ($100) per new booking and points can’t be used in conjunction with any other offer.
b) Auswalk’s group travel program rewards walkers who encourage other walkers to sign up for a scheduled walking trip. Travellers who join a group for a scheduled walking trip earn discounts according to the size of their group. The group discounts are as follows:
Groups of 5-9: 5% credit
Groups of 10-14: 7.5% credit
Groups of 15+: 10% credit
The group discount is taken off each walkers’ final bill (not applied to single supplements) according to how many group members actually register before final payment. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.
*We may alter or discontinue these offers at any time.
Do you offer discounts for private groups?
If you have a group and you wish to undertake one of our many walking holidays we can apply a discount for the following group sizes:
Groups of 12-14: 5% credit
Groups of 15+: 7.5% credit
In both instances the group organiser receives a discount twice that of the rest of the group.
The group discount is taken off each walkers’ final bill according to how many group members actually register before final payment. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.
Self guided discounts: Save if your group is 5 or more with a 5% discount for all walkers. Full payment will invoiced when booking. At the time of final payment the discount will be applied when the numbers are confirmed. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.
Can you customise a walk for me or my group?
Yes we most certainly can. Customised trips is something that we very much specialise in. Whether it’s just for yourself, or a group of 30 walkers, we are here to help you with the logistics to ensure a stress free experience.
How fit do I have to be and how many kilometers do I have to walk in a day?
The distances we walk each day are as varied as our destinations. Some walks are only be a couple of kilometres whilst some (very few) are just shy of 30 kilometres (most walks range between 10 to 20kms). Fear not, our guides are mindful of the day’s challenges. You will only walk distances you are comfortable with as our program is designed to accommodate first time walkers and the more experienced. We manage this by having 2 guides on all of our walks so that we can offer an easy and a more challenging walk option each day. However a good walking fitness level will ensure that you make the most out of your holiday. We have given each trip an overall difficulty rating as well as rating the individual walk.
What will the weather be like?
Our group guided walks are always scheduled during a time in the year when weather is the most favourable in that region for walking. This doesn’t guarantee that the weather will be as anticipated so we do ask that walkers be prepared for all conditions. For self guided trips we will provide you with seasons during which you can book in. Anything outside of these seasons isn’t preferable. On each walk page you will find a link that takes you to the Bureau of Meteorology’s website for information on past weather averages.
Will I have to carry a heavy pack?
All our holidays are pack free experiences with all the logistics being organised for you. All your luggage will be moved ahead for you so you won’t need to carry a heavy pack. All you will need to carry with you is a small day pack containing your lunch, water and camera. You can bring up to 25kgs of luggage anything over that amount please speak to the office.
Where am I getting picked up from?
Details about where your holiday will commence from can be found on the relevant walks page. We will also include this information in your walks notes.
What time does my trip start and finish?
Details about what time your trip will start and finish can be found on the relevant walkspage. We will also include this information for you in your walk notes.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
Please ensure that you make us aware of any dietary requirements that you may have at the time of booking. We aim to cater for all requirements big or small.
Can you match me up to twin share with another traveller on group guided trips?
We make every effort to match solo walkers of the same gender up to twin share on group guided departures. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible. If you are a solo walker who is willing to twin share then we will require you to book with the single supplement included on your booking. We will endeavour to match you up with another solo walker, if successful the single supplement will be removed from your final balance owing.
Do I have to pay a single supplement if I’m a solo walker?
Unfortunately, Australian hotel accommodations (like the ones we use) charge the same, or just about the same price, regardless of whether there is one or two people in the room. This means that to cover the cost of the accommodation for your trip we do need to pass on a single supplement surcharge. This isn’t a cost that we make any margin on and it is simply to cover the fact that the total room cost isn’t being apportioned over two walkers. This guarantees you the solo use of your own room and private bathroom and on occasion the added advantage of the use of a lounge which may or may not be shared with one other room. Please get in contact with us if you are unsure.
Do I need to bring my own snacks?
You won’t need to bring your own snacks to your holiday. We provide all the snacks that you should need on the track. Most people tell us that there was too much food on their trip! If you are a particularly big eater, or have a favourite snack that you take on hikes then by all means feel free to bring something along.
Will I have my own ensuite bathroom?
We always set out to select accommodations where walkers have their own private ensuite bathrooms at night. Exceptions are made when we stay at unique locations that add to your experience such as the historic Cape Otway Lighthouse. This will only ever before for one or two nights of your overall experience.
What does self guided mean?
Self guided walking holidays allow you the freedom of walking independently with your own group, when you want and where you want. We’ve carefully planned every aspect of your journey, from the best walking itineraries to seamless luggage transfers that whisk your bags from accommodation to accommodation while you’re out walking, allowing you to walk pack free. We include all breakfasts and lunches and almost all dinners along the way. You can enjoy worry free navigation with our comprehensive walk notes to guide you along the track. We provide everything you need to enjoy an insider’s perspective on the best walking tracks and the liberty to explore it all at your own pace. At all times you will have the security of knowing that you will have safety and support from Auswalk and our team on the ground around the clock.
Can I do a self guided trip alone? No, because of a duty of care
No, because we have a duty of care to our walkers this means that we can not offer any of our walks on a solo basis.
How do I get on and off the track?
Some days you will walk directly out of your accommodation and or into your evenings accommodation. On the days where this isn’t possible we will provide the appropriate transfers for you on and off the track. Our transfer providers are locals and know the area you’re walking in intimately. In many cases they offer a wealth of knowledge on your destination having lived there for many years (sometimes all their life).
How do I get to the start of my walk?
Directions for getting to the start of your holiday are different for every trip. You will find information on this specific to your walk on the relevant walks page.
When do I receive my pack?
We will send out your package that includes all your trip information and much more once the final payment has been received. This is due two months prior to your departure. Your package should arrive to your nominated address anywhere between 4 and 5 weeks before your departure.
Is there wifi access?
Wifi access will be available at most accommodations along the track (with the exception of Lord Howe Island, where it is only sometimes available at reception). Additional fees may be charged by the accommodations to use the service, this amount will differ between properties.
How will someone contact me in case of an emergency?
Most of our walks will have mobile phone reception for the majority of the trip. In the few instances where this isn’t the case our guides are always contactable via a satellite phone that they carry at all times. If you are joining a trip where reception is sparse, and expect that you may need to be reached, we can arrange for you to be reached via the satellite phone number.
At Auswalk we strongly believe in the value of travel insurance. Don’t take a chance! We recommend that you have adequate insurance against potential losses, damage or injury, including cancellation costs and loss of luggage. We also require that you purchase travel insurance if you are travelling out of your own country.
Note that Auswalk charges a cancellation fee.
For more information about our booking conditions, please visit our Terms & Conditions page.