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The popularity of getting outside is growing for various reasons. Getting in touch with nature is especially trending in travel and outdoor adventures. The Great Walks sector is creating a huge following. It’s a great way to stay fit and healthy and shake off those shackles. As a newbie to this, where do you start? Here’s a list of eight easy great walks for the beginner, new to hiking, as well as those who might be part-time hikers.
What is a Great Walk?
- Can be guided or self-guided ventures
- A multi-day walk
- Has a defined track
- Is an adventure
- Other names: trekking trips, hiking expeditions, trekking trails, and tramping
Reasons to do Great Walks
In case you’re wondering: Is walking good for you? or Is walking good exercise?
Walking is the easiest and healthiest way to explore the world. Here’s an outline of what to expect from great walks:
- Natural health benefits of walking include being outside and connecting with nature. Getting nourishment from the sunshine (Vitamin D), fresh air, and breathing in air containing phytoncides (wood essential oils).
- Walking for exercise. Walking provides a well-paced exercise. Walking is great for getting oxygen to the brain. Science tells us that walking produces retrograde wave-like pressure pulses from foot impacts that dynamically improve blood circulation¹ – a type of hydraulic effect that benefits our brain.
- Anti-aging. Benefits of walking include firming up glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, shins, and foot muscles. Improving fitness levels.
- Space to reflect, and allow intuitive and creative thought. Escape from internal worries. Find inner peace and well-being.
- New friends and new perspectives. Belonging to a group of enthusiasts with common interests. One example tribe – Wild Women on Top.
- Learn about new cultures and stimulating places, and explore spiritualism
- See things that are impossible to see from a vehicle
- Make a difference through charity great walks, e.g. Fred Hollows Foundation raising funds through Coastrek for restoring sight to millions of needlessly blind people
The movie ‘Wild
‘ is about one woman’s reason to embark upon a great walk. Her experiences, her struggles, and her self-realization through this very experience are captured by this movie. It’s worth viewing if you’re considering walking and camping along trails
There are heaps of magnificent places for hiking holidays and treks but many rate as tough because of high altitude or steep slopes.
For such long distance walks, you might want to start with something easy so you can last the duration. This would mean nothing too strenuous or too harsh, and mostly gentle grading. The following is a list of eight easy hiking places to start your adventures with great walks.
Preparing for a Trekking Holiday
In preparing for trekking trips, try to focus on improving your walking durability leading up to your adventure.
You can start by gradually getting into a routine of walking 3 miles a day and increasing that to walking 5 miles a day, and so on.
But, it’s a good idea to go walk, especially a brisk walk to build up endurance and to wear those walking boots in so that you don’t experience blisters on your long distance walks when trekking overseas or on walking holidays at home.
Recommended trekking items
HELINOX TL SERIES WALKING POLES
- Lightest folding poles (from 152 g)
- Advanced TH72M alloy for strength
- Available in 3 fixed length sizes or one variable size
In Australia? Get these direct from helinox.com.au
SCARPA TERRA WATERPROOF LEATHER HIKING BOOTS
- Complete waterproof protection
- Italian handmade
- oiled full grain leather
- breathable Gore-tex (performance comfort footwear) lining
- Sole is Vibram Vibram Energy
- Weigh 1210 g a pair
TRAILSHOT POCKET-SIZED WATER FILTER
- Smart solution to clean water on the go
- TrailShot Microfilter
- Designed for side pockets for quick access
- Lets you drink from natural sources along the trail
- 1 L in 60 secs
- Weighs just 142 g
Clean Water on the Go
AQUATIC WAY HYDRATION BLADDER
- Non-toxic BPA-FREE and FDA APPROVED
- 2 L to 3L
- Large opening for easy cleaning
- Shutoff valve
- Insulated tubing
- Soft mouthpiece
- An empty wine cask bladder is another option.
Bulk Water Carriage
OSPREY ANTI-GRAVITY BACKPACKS
- AntiGravity system
- best in load carrying comfort and stability
AIRCONTACT PRO HIGH PERFORMANCE LOAD TRANSFER BY DEUTER
- Easy to operate adjustments
- Durable hooks and clips
- Padded waist strap offers comfort
- Compartment for water bladder
LED LENSER SEO 7R HEAD TORCH
- Rechargeable head lamp with red LED – 220 lumens
- Batteries: 1 x Lithium ion pack
Note: Can be used with 3x AAA batteries
- Burning life: 5 hours | 20 hours
- Beam range: 130 m | 40 m
- Waterproof level: IPX4
JETBOIL ZIP COOKER (Amazon)
Weight: total 345 g
Volume: 0.8 Liter
Boil Time: 1/2 Liter = 2 mins to 2 mins 30
Water Boiled: 12 Liters per 100g Jetpower canister, or 60mins burn time
Dimensions: 104 mm x 165 mm
BIOLITE CAMP STOVE
- Battery: 2600 mAh
- Inputs/Outputs: Micro USB charge in; USB charge out
- Boil Time: 4.5 minutes for 1L
- Fuel: Renewable biomass (sticks, twigs or pellets)
- Weight: 2.06 lbs (935g)
- Dimensions: Packed: 5.0″ x 7.91″ (127mm x 201mm)
- FlexLight: 100 Lumens, tap on/off, Powered via USB
Tip: Consider weight when purchasing and packing. More weight will slow you down.
List of 8 Easy Great Walks
These range from England walking tours to tramping in New Zealand to hiking in Canada. There’s even a trek with wild animals in Africa and a coastal hike through fishing villages of Italy.
- Features: rainforest, crystal-clear lakes, colored sands, and vast sand dunes
- 6–8 days
- up to 90 km
- camping areas
- Features: villages, Roman temples, ‘Robin Hood Tree’, and more
- 5-day to 11-day hiking tours
- 44 – 137 km
- B&B’s and Inns
- features: walking safari style, the raw wilderness of Kruger National Park
- trails depend on check availability
- 3 – 4 days guided
- ~42 km
- camp/hut accommodation
- features: golden sand beaches, Cleopatra’s Pool, a beautiful inlet to Falls River, and a 47 m suspension bridge + fur seals/kekeno
- 3 – 5 days
- 60 km
- 4 huts and 19 campsites
- Features: diverse landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife, captivating stories of the original Māori and early pioneers
- 3 day guided
- 44 km
- lodge accommodation
- Features: historical, cultural, landscape and environmental of these islands in the Mediterranean Sea
- 2 – 35 miles of easy walking – self-guided
- 1 – 8 days
- hotels, guest houses
- features: Burgess Shale fossil beds – Trilobites, the stilt-walking Hallucigenia, lakes, falls, rock formations
- 1 – 2 days
- 55 km
- rooms at Tea House, private camping, guest houses, luxury lodges
- features: centuries-old seaside villages, vineyards, sanctuaries, sweeping sea vistas
- 1 to several days, with the stretch from Manarola to Corniglia (2 km) the easiest to hike
- path network is up to 120 km with varying degree of ease
- village accommodation
Want to Discover More Great Walks?
1001 walks you must do before you die
, by Julia Bradbury and Barry Stone
generously illustrates and features 1,001 scenic walks throughout the world in both natural and urban settings. This huge reference provides selections that allow you to go at your own pace, savor local sights. There are an increasing number of trails converted from former canal towpaths and railway lines, like New York’s High Line, into mixed-use walkways. It covers numerous routes from coastal to historic trails to those of natural charm, including California’s John Muir Trail, the Miami Beach Art Deco walk, Hadrian’s Wall and Offa’s Dyke paths in England, the Italian lakes. The range of walks varies from easy jaunts to more rugged hikes.Each entry provides essential details, including start and finish points, overall distance, difficulty rating, maps, and likely duration. Read the reviews
The Website Live Once Live Wild
provides Complete Guides on the National Parks of Northern America with a list of trails and natural sights to see. It offers information on “off the beaten path backpacking trips, to hidden waterfalls that no one knows about, part of the wonder of exploring our national parks is finding places and treasures that are uniquely your own.” See more here
What’s your favorite walk, be it big or small?
Let me know in the comments below.
- Experimental Biology 2017. “How walking benefits the brain: Researchers show that foot’s impact helps control, increase the amount of blood sent to the brain.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170424141340.htm
Dwyer T, Pezic A, Sun C, Cochrane J, Venn A, Srikanth V, et al. (2015) Objectively Measured Daily Steps and Subsequent Long Term All-Cause Mortality: The Tasped Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0141274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141274
Amy A. Hakim, et. al. “Effects of Walking on Mortality among Nonsmoking Retired Men.” New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 338:94-99, January 8, 1998, Number 2.
Tang R, Wang JY, Lo SK, Hsieh LL. “Physical activity, water intake and risk of colorectal cancer in Taiwan: a hospital-based case-control study. International Journal of Cancer. 1999 Aug 12;82(4):484-9.
Rozenn N. Lemaitre; David S. Siscovick; Trivellore E. Raghunathan; Sheila Weinmann; Patrick Arbogast; Dan-Yu Lin. “Leisure-Time Physical Activity and the Risk of Primary Cardiac Arrest.” Archives of Internal Medicine, 1999; 159:686-690