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Top authentic indigenous experiences in Australia

From bush tucker samplings to cultural conversations, a smoking ceremony to exploring hidden rock galleries, these active travel experiences provide a cultural platform for a beautiful exchange as you learn about Indigenous Australian history.

As you delve into their stories and heritage on our immersive adventures, our wilderness guides and Indigenous guests offer a deeper understanding of the need to conserve their culture and respect their place and lifestyle.

These top 11 experiences provide a genuine insight into the Aboriginal peoples' continuing connection to the lands and communities across Australia.

Follow a 'Dreaming Pathway' or songline on the Jatbula Trail

A culturally significant area, the Jatbula Trail follows a songline that has many dreaming story crossroads. The trail is named after Peter Jatbula, a traditional owner who fought hard for the area to be returned to the Aboriginal people in the 1970s and 80s.

Tracing ancient passages, the hike through the exceptional Arnhem Land escarpment and Stone Country in the Northern Territory is elevated as you visit ancient rock art sites, which bring to life the Dreamtime stories handed down through the generations.

Exploring the magnificent Jatbula Trail |  <i>Larissa Duncombe</i> Gain a deeper understanding of the local Indigenous culture with visits to ancient rock art sites |  <i>Linda Murden</i> Remote trekking along the Jatbula Trail |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i>
 

Interesting sites include the Jawoyn Aboriginal rock art hidden in the many stony outcrops and overhangs en route to Crystal Falls. You also explore the Amphitheatre, which is a rainforest gorge, with its rock shelters exhibiting the art of the Jawoyn Traditional Owners.

Admire a secret Aboriginal cave along the mighty Franklin River

The Kutikina Cave is a Tasmanian hidden gem found in the Lower Gordon River. The rock shelter is considered one of the most important archaeological finds in Tasmania – and in Australia – relating to human occupation in the Pleistocene era.

Only discovered in 1977, the limestone cave was one of the richest artefact deposits. It contained Aboriginal artefacts and deposits that marked the most southerly migration of humans during the last ice age, with evidence of wallaby hunting at the time. Its discovery was also one of the reasons that led to the historic demise of the plan to dam the Franklin River.

The Pristine Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. |  <i>Glenn Walker</i>

On our rafting expedition, travellers pass this cave with our guide explaining the significance of the site.

In respect to the community's wishes, we do not step foot inside the cave as there are mixed opinions as to whether non-indigenous people should be entering it.

Taste authentic bush tucker in the Red Centre

Ever tried bush muesli? Well, there are plenty of unique bush foods on the menu on our Central Australian trips.

On our Classic Larapinta Trek in Comfort, local Indigenous specialist, Rayleen Brown leads a cultural talk and presentation along with a bush food platter that showcases a range of dukkhas, native herbs and spices, bush tomato and more.

Food glorious food; our menu includes many native bush foods |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

The meals served on our Northern Territory tours are sometimes based around the bush foods that she supplies, such as Lemon Myrtle Chicken.

Marvel at hidden rock art galleries in the Top End

In addition to the rock art found on the Jatbula Trail, Kakadu National Park offers an array of hidden rock art, which recount ancient stories, lore and songs significant to Indigenous Australian culture.

Coupled with the vast landscapes and rich wildlife, a visit to these rock galleries adds a unique element to your hike. Over 40,000 years of Aboriginal heritage of both the present and past is on display in the Top End.

 

Joining a guided walking or cycling tour allows you to easily find these harder-to-get-to galleries and gain a deeper understanding of the local culture, with our insightful tour leaders strongly focused on highlighting its importance.

Pay respects to those lost during the Wybalenna ‘Aboriginal Settlement’ on Flinders Island

A visit to the fascinating Flinders Island Museum and the historic Wybalenna is a must when on this Tasmanian island, which is a short 35-minute scenic flight from Launceston.

The infamous site of Wybalenna reverberates a sad history about the disastrous indigenous resettlement scheme back in 1834. Wybalenna is where Tasmanian Aborigines were transported after the 'friendly mission'; that is, the mission to round up and remove Aboriginal people from mainland Tasmania.

The graveyard near Wybalenna Chapel contains unmarked Aboriginal graves. Around 300 Aboriginals were ‘delivered’ there during its time as a mission. |  <i>Dietmar Kahles</i>

While the remaining graveyard, housing and chapel are a heavy and melancholic sight to take in, it is an important and historically significant place to learn about.

Our guides take care to make sure information presented here is accurate and sensitive and visitors are then taken to the local museum nearby where they are given the chance to learn more about what happened there.

Experience the magic of the Standley Chasm still run by Traditional Owners

A sight to be seen, the beautiful Standley Chasm is just outside the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park and is a private reserve proudly owned and operated by its Traditional Owners as part of the lwupataka Land Trust.

Hiking in Standley Chasm, Larapinta Trail |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

A cultural conversation is led by one of their local guides on our Larapinta walking holidays, where you learn about the site’s significance, being one of the areas where Aboriginal land has been passed back to them.

Exploring Standley Chasm on the Larapinta Trail |  <i>Graham Michael Freeman</i>

Also known as Angkerle Atwatye to the local Indigenous people, the site's rocky slopes rise an astonishing 80 metres above the chasm, which has been carved out over millions of years by a tributary of the Finke River system – purported to be the oldest river in the world.

There are even opportunities to immerse with the land by camping overnight on our trips, such as the Best of the Larapinta Trail and the Larapinta End to End, for a truly magical experience to connect with the ancient land.

Visit original ochre sources used in ceremonial rituals

As you explore the fabulous beaches of Maria Island, visit the ochre pit at Bloodstone Point – one of the original ochre sources for the Tasmanian Aborigines.

The natural earth pigment used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years is a fundamental part of their life and culture, and a visit to the ochre deposits gives a fascinating insight into the history of how the land was used by Indigenous Australian tribes.

An Indigenous guide shows coloured ochres during a cultural tour |  <i>Tourism NT/Matt Cherubino</i>

It was customary for men to dig the ochre, which became a significant commodity for trade with neighbouring nations and clans.

Along with the source of thousands of years of cultural connection and expression, ochre is believed to have a spiritual power that is released through ceremonial ritual.

You can also view one of the largest ochre deposits in Tasmania in the Cradle Mountain National Park or visit the vivid colours of the mineral ochre pits on the Larapinta Trail in the West MacDonnell Ranges.

Exploring the Ochre Pits |  <i>Graham Michael Freeman</i>

Connect with the land with a traditional Welcome to Country

A long tradition among Aboriginal Australian groups, a Welcome to Country serves not only as a greeting for visitors but as a symbol that signifies the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' presence in Australia.

Limilngan-Wulna Aboriginal people welcome us to their country |  <i>Rhys Clarke, WE Guide</i>

When exploring the ancient land of Kakadu National Park, our active itineraries include a meeting with Wulna Aboriginal elders for a traditional Welcome to Country.

It provides a significant introduction to the Aboriginal connection between both an ancient environment and a surviving and celebrated ancient culture that makes this region truly worthy of dual World Heritage listing.

An Indigenous guide shares his knowledge of Aboriginal music during a cultural tour |  <i>Tourism NT/Nick Pincott</i>

Better understand Indigenous Australian heritage on a cultural talk at Kings Canyon

Part of the climactic scenes that make up the ancient wonders of the Northern Territory is learning about the significance of each site visited.

Gain insights on Indigenous Australian culture and learn about Aboriginal art |  <i>Tourism NT/Archie Sartracom</i>

Working with the local Indigenous community of Wan­mar­ra, we partnered with a small family-run business at Kings Canyon that aims to pre­serve and main­tain Lurit­ja and Per­tame (South­ern Aran­da) lan­guage, cul­tur­al knowl­edge and her­itage to empow­er the younger generations.

The Indigenous guests offer one of the most informative, professional and interactive cultural tours in the Red Centre.

A tour guide uses a dot painting to talk about Aboriginal culture |  <i>Tourism NT/Matt Glastonbury</i> Gain insight into Aboriginal bush tucker during a cultural tour |  <i>Tourism NT/Archie Sartracom</i> Guides showcasing bush foods during an Indigenous cultural experience |  <i>Tourism NT/Chris Tangey</i>
 

The experience allows visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the need to conserve the Aboriginal cultures and respect their place and lifestyle in Australia, which time and time again proved to be a massive highlight for our travellers.

Visits to rock art at Uluru is also tied in with the tour, which is one of the few rock art sites open to the public in Central Australia.

Visit a tribal boundary in the Alum Cliffs State Reserve

Located in the north of Tasmania is the Alum Cliffs, a tribal boundary between three Aboriginal groups and a sacred celebration place.

The Aboriginal name for the area is Tulampanga and was a common meeting ground and trading location for clans. The place especially holds social and spiritual significance to Aborigines due to the ochre found nearby in the Gog Range area.

Along the enchanting short walk are wooden art features found to commemorate the area, including sculptures and outdoor furniture pieces – some created by local Aboriginal artists.

Engage in a smoking ceremony before exploring the ancient Takayna region

Another way of welcoming guests to Country is through a smoking ceremony where visitors gather around a smoky fire so that they are cleansed and protected from any dangerous or bad spirits in the land they will explore.

You can experience this on our Tarkine Explorer trip in the northwest of Tasmania, which is led by a Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder.

The ceremony also acts as a way of connecting with Country and culture by speaking to and acknowledging the ancestors, as well as aims to promote the good health and wellbeing of travellers.

Gardiner Point, the 'Edge of the World', near the Tarkine |  <i>Sean Scott</i>

A cultural discussion ensues before the walk down to Sundown Point and onto the rugged and gnarly Tarkine coastline. Here is where you can find ancient petroglyphs and spectacular views of the Arthur Heads. There is also the opportunity to stop at a few places for bush tucker and further interpretations about the coastal living sites and protection of the area.


With our knowledgeable wilderness guides leading you through scenic and iconic trails across Australia, each of these indigenous experiences will add an extra layer of meaning and cultural awareness to your active outdoor adventure.

World Expeditions respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of all of the areas that it operates in and thank them for sharing this beautiful land with us.

Return to Nepal in 2022: What you need to know

722 days. That's how long it's been since our last Nepal trek operated back in 2020 and from March this year, we're beyond excited to announce that we can finally assist you with your travel aspirations to the incredible Himalaya. 

Our local team are eager to welcome you back, with our first confirmed expedition on March 6 to Pachermo Peak – a mountaineering course led by one of our most experienced high-altitude guides, Soren Kruse Ledet.

So dust off your crampons, dig out those trekking poles and start planning your next dream alpine expedition or challenging trek to Nepal, Pakistan's remote Karakoram range or on selected expeditions in the Andes Mountains.

What you need to know to enter Nepal & Pakistan

It's hard to believe that it's been almost two years since we've not been able to enjoy the world's greatest mountain range, but now it's finally in reach and we want to help you get there smoothly.

As of 19 January 2022, the key requirements for overseas travellers to Nepal include:

  • A COVID-19 vaccination certificate to show that you are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival.
  • A negative COVID-19 PCR test result, taken at most 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point.
  • Completing an 'International Traveler Online Arrival Form'.

While for Pakistan:

  • A COVID-19 vaccination certificate to show that you are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival.
  • A negative COVID-19 PCR test result, taken at most 48 hours before departure from the first embarkation point.
  • A number of travellers from each flight will be randomly selected to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test on arrival.
  • Completing PassTrack mobile app or on the website, a maximum of 48 hours before arrival in Pakistan. 


Our adventure consultants can assist with the required paperwork.

If you're ready to head back to the hills, check out our top climbs and challenging treks for 2022 in destinations that are now welcoming vaccinated travellers.

Helpful resources


Published 19 January 2022.


Climbing Mont Blanc: A Trekker's Guide

Clearly visible above the beautiful mountain town of Chamonix, Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in western Europe (4810m/15,780ft), was first climbed in 1786, and the ascent gave birth to modern day mountaineering.

Now a mecca for budding mountaineers, the peak and surrounding areas offer world class alpine trekking and climbing opportunities, right in the heart of Europe.

While summitting Mont Blanc is a serious endeavour, this guide will make it well within reach for the fit and experienced trekker.

Routes for climbing Mont Blanc

There are two main routes for climbing Mont Blanc: the Gouter ‘normal route’ and the ‘Trois Monts’, both of which are rated Alpine grade PD – that is peu difficile, meaning a bit difficult.  We recommend the Gouter route as it generally has the highest success rate for reaching the summit and is considered the safer route.

Spectacular views in the Mont Blanc region. Photo: Erin Williams

Who is it suitable for?

Whilst the range has attracted the attention of world-class alpinists from around the globe for its challenging routes for centuries, there are also many options available to the novice climber under the guidance of experienced guides.

Mont Blanc is often underestimated; a high level of fitness and experience walking or scrambling over uneven and steep terrain is essential as you will need to do so at a good speed. A good speed is the ability to walk or ascend 400 metres in an hour at altitudes in excess of 3000 metres.

To participate in the Mont Blanc Ascent, prior mountaineering experience is an advantage but not essential. Most important is an excellent fitness level, with a good level of experience walking in the mountains on snow and ice.

What to expect on the ascent

When climbing Mont Blanc the walk is often on uneven rock and ice, with exposed sections of trail for a vast majority of the climb; balance and tenacity are very important.

Expect to hike for 6 to 12 hour days with up to 800 to 1600 metre vertical gains in elevation. The snow slopes will be up to 35‑40 degrees in parts and there is also rock climbing involved in some sections.

Combined with exposure and the possibility of adverse weather conditions, it can be difficult for those who have not experienced this type of climbing before. Additionally, you will be wearing stiff mountaineering boots and crampons which take some getting used to.

Climbing Mont Blanc Preparing for the climb. Photo: H. Qualizza

How to prepare for the climb

The best preparation for this ascent is extended periods of hard-paced walking with a pack in mountainous terrain; legs and lungs should be the focus. As mentioned above, the ability to ascend quickly at a rate of 400 metres in one hour is a minimum requirement. If you are not fit and strong, your chances of summitting are vastly reduced. Remember, it is up to your guide to decide whether or not you are fit to attempt the summit.

You should aim to start your preparation six months or more in advance of taking the trip.

Practice on uneven ground, so that you are accustomed to uneven footings, basic rock climbing, and at the least, scrambling should also be a part of your training regime. Incorporate running and cycling in hilly regions into your exercise programme to further prepare you well for this trip. You can learn the technical skills to get you to the top in your final days of training; however, your fitness and preparation are your responsibility and key to a successful climb.

 Climbing Mont Blanc Alpine Training. Photo: H. Qualizza

Conquer western Europe's highest mountain

Our eight-day itinerary is designed to allow fit and experienced walkers, who have little or no experience in alpine skills, to appreciate the exhilaration of summiting an alpine peak.

Climbers enjoy superb weather conditions on an ascent of Mont Blanc |  <i>© Pierre Schmidt</i>

Acclimatisation and basic technical training are part of our programme for the first three days as we venture into the spectacular mountains of Aiguille du Tour and Petite Fourche, crossing beautiful glaciers under a stunning backdrop of snowy peaks and jagged mountains.

During these days our guides will train you in the use of an ice axe, crampons and basic rope techniques, arming you with the right alpine skills for the summit bid. Fully prepared, we focus on climbing Mont Blanc.

We schedule three days for climbing Mont Blanc, to allow two chances to reach the summit, giving our groups a significant advantage and better chance of success. Travelling in teams of two clients to one qualified high altitude mountain guide during the ascent, and often roped up, you will learn to work as a team and move together efficiently in a challenging mountain environment.

Summit day is a long and tiring day, however, the views from the summit are magnificent and are well-worth your efforts.

Feeling inspired? Find out more about climbing Mont Blanc on our Mont Blanc Ascent trip >>

On The Couch with Mountaineer Soren Kruse Ledet

Soren Kruse Ledet is an Australian high altitude mountaineer, having completed over 50 expeditions in the last 25 years.  For over 15 years Soren has worked closely with World Expeditions developing and guiding our more challenging treks and climbs in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Tibet.

We sat down with Soren and delved into his mountaineering experience, from the very early stages of his mountaineering career - a World Expeditions trek to K2 base camp in Pakistan with Greg Mortimer, to a technical and memorable ascent of Ama Dablam and a very challenging unassisted attempt to climb Everest where he reached 27,500 ft.

Soren gives us an insight into what it is about mountaineering that keeps him coming back for more, how he pushes through challenging times and transcends psychological and physical barriers. Keep reading for a wonderful insight into the world of a passionate mountaineer.

Soren has been leading trips such as the Peak Lenin Expedition, Bhutan Snowman Trek and San Valentin Expedition, check out on which trips you can join him in the future.

You have been mountaineering for over 20 years and your lifelong passion for mountaineering started with your first World Expeditions trips in your early 20's. Can you tell us about your first experiences with mountaineering?

My passion for adventure and travel saw me leave my native Denmark on a year long round the world trip in 1989/90. One of the many highlights on this journey was a brilliant trek to K2 base camp in Pakistan which was an incredible introduction to the amazing mountains of the Karakoram Range.

The trip was in fact organised by what is now World Expeditions, formally known as Australian Himalayan Expeditions. The trek leader was a very competent and knowledgeable guy called Greg Mortimer [the first Australian to summit Mount Everest with Tim Macartney-Snape in 1984]. Of course I had no clue I was in the presence of Australian climbing royalty!

My first mountaineering experience...

...was a few years later in 1993 on an epic Rolwaling Valley, Tashi Laptsa and Gokyo Ri trek in Nepal. We were given the option of climbing a 6187m peak called Pachermo just off the 5755m Tashi Laptsa pass. With that in mind our expedition leader Gary Hayes suggested I hire some plastic boots, but I declined and so a few weeks later I found myself with incredibly cold toes climbing up the northwest face of the mountain.

Our small roped team of five made good progress up a broad steep slope and were approximately 2/3 of the way up when all of a sudden the serenity was shattered by what sounded like an explosion. We watched with alarm as a large 1ft crack appeared in front of us cutting the slope clean in half and leaving two of us in a precarious position below the crack.

It wasn’t long after that Gary sensibly decided to call it a day and we very carefully made our way back down to the pass.

Mountains fading to oblivion from Lumding valley

Since you have had more than 15 years of Himalayan mountaineering experience guiding for World Expeditions and have led many climbs and treks in Nepal, Tibet, China and Bhutan. What is it that draws you to the mountains and what keeps you coming back for more?

I love the simplicity of life when I’m in the mountains; challenging my physical ability and mental strength towards achieving my goal, whatever that might be.

Working as part a team while at the same time being self-sufficient is very rewarding. Bottom line is I just love being in the mountains. The feeling of insignificance when passing beneath some of the biggest mountains on earth is humbling. I love working with the Nepalese people and admire their work ethic and sense of humour even when confronted with very challenging circumstances.

What has been your most memorable mountaineering expedition and why?

I would have to say Everest in 2011 but my first ascent of Ama Dablam in 2004 with my Nepali climbing partner Dhana Rai is a close second.

I loved the exposure on Ama Dablam, the steepness and technical challenges and having spent so many years looking at it from the valleys below, it was great to finally set foot on this amazing looking mountain.

Everest was more impressive, more enormous and more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. A couple of times I found myself wandering completely alone (like an ant in a bathtub) through the Western Cwm between C1 and C2 and was struck by the complete silence in this gigantic valley.

Coming around the Geneva Spur and looking at the summit pyramid was incredible. The fact that I didn’t summit and abandoned my summit bid at the Balcony at 8400m does in no way diminish the experience.

Lonely figure traversing glacier below C1 on Manaslu. Photo by Soren Kruse Ledet.

In 2011 you attempted to summit Everest on a solo climb but got stuck at the ‘Balcony’. Why Everest? How did you get stuck? Would you attempt it again?

I think that if you spend enough time in the Himalayas then sooner or later you’ll find yourself gravitating towards Everest; it is after all the highest point on earth and if you can look past the circus surrounding the mountain you will still have an amazing climbing experience.

My trip to Everest became a solo climb (with no sherpa support) after my climbing partner Matt Carlin was forced to return home after injuring his Achilles tendon. Having completed my rotations on the mountain and stocking the various camps I was finally ready for my summit bid and arrived on the South Col/C4 around midday on May 11th. The weather forecast was very encouraging with winds predicted at around 5-10km/h and the temperature at minus 30˚C; pretty close to perfect conditions.

Departing the South Col later that night and starting up the Summit Pyramid with 3 bottles of oxygen in my pack I remember feeling completely at ease and really confident I was going to succeed. Well approximately 1 ½ hours before I reached a feature called the Balcony and the point where you first step onto the Southeast Ridge the wind started to pick up and by the time I got to the Balcony itself it was blowing at 50-60km/h.

Ascending Lhotse Face to C3 on Everest..

The Balcony (a small platform only a couple of meters away from the Kangchung Face and a 3000m vertical drop) is traditionally where you change your oxygen cylinder and so there I was, completely alone, in the middle of the night at 2.30am on May 12 doing just that; kneeling down in the snow and unscrewing my regulator with the wind howling around me when suddenly my fingers went completely numb and everything went pear-shaped.

You try and prepare yourself for every situation you may encounter and I certainly approached this expedition with my eyes wide open and fully aware of the risks involved. Because of my background as a mountain guide and having been on numerous mountaineering trips I was confident in my decision-making and ability to function at altitude. What shocked me was how quickly I lost the use of my fingers as they became these useless claws.

To continue up was out of the question and my primary focus was restoring circulation to my digits, which I managed to do over the course of the next hour or so mainly by some choice swearing in Danish and English.

I did have a second attempt a week later on May 20th but once again I turned back when I got to the Balcony; I was simply too weak and besides progress was incredibly slow due to a large number of people on the fixed ropes. Returning to Everest is not something I desire and I’ll be quite happy and content if I never go back to the mountain.

What are the core qualities of a successful mountaineer?

Knowing when to turn back.

Climbers dwarfed by Nuptse.

Mountaineering is extremely physically and mentally tough. How do you push past physical and mental barriers? What do you do when things get tough and how do you keep moving forward?

In my role as expedition leader I draw strength from being responsible for my team members. If I have done it before I can do it again.

Never underestimate your physical preparation for a trip, so train hard. Try not to let yourself be mentally overwhelmed by what you’re about to do. Which by the way can be easy to do when standing at base camp looking up at a peak like Ama Dablam.

Do your research and break your climb down into manageable chunks. Consider each camp on the mountain a summit, and while you are on the mountain economize your energy output with slow deliberate movement.  You might be moving slow at altitude but the point is you’re still moving. Hopefully in the right direction. You may not get it right all the time and that’s ok.

The point is you’re having a go and learning about what you’re capable of in the process. Understand and accept that things don’t always go to plan on mountaineering expeditions, so be flexible in your mindset. Self-sufficiency is fundamental to your mountaineering longevity so do yourself a favour and learn the basic skills. Amazing things can be achieved when your platform is solid.

Lakpa Nuru Sherpa on Ama Dablam with C2 in background

How do you adjust back into the ‘real world’ after spending so much time in the serenity of the mountains during an expedition?

It is difficult but ultimately I don’t really have a choice. My family responsibilities dictate that I’m present when I return home.

It is definitely a reverse culture shock to suddenly find myself in aisle 6 of the local supermarket doing grocery shopping when only just the week before I was in the mountains.

So if you happen upon a guy looking a bit lost in the condiment section give him a hug.  I’d like to think that I can compartmentalize my work as a mountain guide but probably best to ask my family how successful I actually am in doing so.

What tips would you give someone who is interested in starting mountaineering and wants to go on their first mountaineering trip?

Do it ! As Mark Twain famously said...

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw away the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.   Explore. Dream. Discover.

In Western Cwm beneath Nuptse

What type of physical activities do you do to train and prepare for a climb?

I maintain a good base fitness by doing regular exercise 4-5 times a week; jogging, bike riding, bush walking, stairs in the local park, core and strength work. It is a routine that seems to work well for me.

Much is written about training regimes for mountaineering so without being too technical and specific I encourage you to get out there and train hard. Be as fit as you possibly can be, especially for your first trip. Over time you will learn how your body performs at altitude and you can then adapt your training accordingly.

Stepping onto the ice-field for the first time and looking out across this incredibly wild landscape of snow and ice blew me away and the idea to return with a mountaineering expedition to San Valentin was formed there and then. The fact that is so remote and inaccessible is definitely a major attraction.

You have been and will be guiding our expedition to Peak Lenin - the second highest mountain in the Pamir mountain range at an altitude of 7134m situated on the Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan border. What makes this trip so special to you?

It is always exciting to be visiting a new part of the world and I hear there’s vodka and even a sauna at base camp.

Peak Lenin is a popular and non-technical climb for those who wish to climb over 7000m for the first time. What kind of experience would you expect people to have before they join this expedition?

Prior altitude experience is a must and all participants must be prepared to do their fair share of load carrying as we work to establish the various camps high on the mountain. While not technically difficult it is a serious mountain nonetheless and should not be underestimated.

Peak Lenin Base Camp

Lastly, how do you manage fear when mountaineering?

Mountaineering and climbing is very much about being outside or at the very least right on the edge of your comfort zone; it’s about pushing and exploring your own physical and psychological boundaries. It takes courage to push yourself to the unknown.

On a commercial trip it takes courage to place your trust in the guides and Sherpas looking after you. You can’t have courage without fear. There’s nothing wrong with being fearful and to me it demonstrates an awareness and respect for the environment and your surroundings. It sharpens your senses.

The point is not to let the fear control and consume you because that will ultimately result in some very poor decision-making. I guess my experience on the Balcony is a good example of how a very bad situation could have deteriorated even further had I panicked.

 

>> Join Soren on one of his future trips.

 

7 alternate holiday ideas when visiting Tasmania

Whether it's your first time or your third, Tasmania is one of those places where one trip just isn't enough. There are so many experiences to uncover on the Apple Isle and while we still have our list of favourites, these alternate holidays offer an active experience that breaks away from popular trails. 

Think more wilderness and fewer visitors, so you can join us knowing our truly sustainable adventures will unlock local gems in the company of our fantastic guides.

Here's where to venture instead when rediscovering this beautiful Australian state.

If you delight in thrills and spills ↷ switch your boots for a paddle

Rafting through the World Heritage wilderness along the Franklin River |  <i>Justin Walker/Outside Media</i>

Raft the Franklin River, one of the last wild rivers in the world sustainably, and see why it was voted the ‘Best white-water rafting journey on earth’. If you prefer a more comfortable adventure on the shores, make a splash on a range of kayaking trips – from the Three Capes to Bruny Island – with opportunities to spot Australian fur seals, dolphins and fairy penguins, amongst other wildlife.

If you loved the Overland Track ↷ visit the Walls of Jerusalem

Pool of Siloam, Walls of Jerusalem National Park |  <i>Luke Tscharke</i>

Trek through a natural fortress of peaks and crags in the region dubbed as the 'Land of a Thousand Lakes' – venture the epic Walls of Jerusalem guided or self-guided (no permits required!).

If you want a new challenge ↷ bucket the South Coast Track

Expect river crossings when trekking Tasmania's South Coast Track |  <i>John Dalton</i>

Traverse 85km of pristine, wild and ever-changing landscapes with an experienced team backing you across every muddy moor and steep ascent. Check out the epic itinerary.

Not for the fainthearted, expect creek and river crossings that could be waist-deep while carrying a full pack of up to 20 kilograms, which increases the difficulty. It is an extremely demanding trek but one of Australia's finest long-distance walks.

If you enjoyed coastal walks on Maria Island ↷ explore the Flinders Island

Flinders Island's spectacular coastline

With three of Tasmania's listed 60 Great Short Walks found on Flinders Island, it's island walking at its finest. Highlights include the opportunity to summit the dramatic granite peaks of Mt Killiecrankie and Mt Strzelecki, giving you spectacular 360-degree views, as well as an amazing array of ecosystems from dunes and lagoons to woodland and mountainous granite ridge.

If you can't get enough of Tassie's fresh produce ↷ take a foodie pilgrimage with Peter Kuruvita

Tasmanian lobster with truffle sauce creme |  <i>Peter Kuruvita</i>

Set amidst Tasmania's icons – Bay of Fires, Freycinet Peninsula and Cradle Mountain, join one of Australia's foremost chefs, Peter Kuruvita, for a hands-on, deluxe culinary adventure. It's the ultimate food lover's tour of the Apple Isle which includes a once in a lifetime seafood tour in Hobart, truffle hunting, savouring Tasmania's boutique wine and whiskey, and plenty of cooking experiences.

If you enjoyed the alpine wonders of 'the Walls' ↷ head to the 'wild west' of the Tarkine

The Tarkine rainforest provides a sanctuary for at least 60 rare species

Explore a sanctuary for at least 60 rare or endangered species which brims with a natural history dating back 100 million years. Discover incredible river systems and dramatic coastlines as you venture off the trails in the Takayna/Tarkine region.

If you want more activity on your holiday ↷ traverse Tasmania's top East Coast highlights on foot, by bike and by kayak

Amazing views of Wineglass in Freycinet National Park |  <i>Toni Wythes</i>


When you can't decide whether to hike, bike or head for a paddle, why not do it all? Our Cycle, Kayak and Walk Tasmania trip offer plenty of time to enjoy various activities and take in the island state's spectacular surrounds.

The Armchair Traveller: 14 Peaks with Nepal’s Nirmal Purja
It is The Sunday Times’ Pick of the Week, The Guardian’s  Film Choice, and the Dochouse cinema in London extended its original screening, the film "14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible" by ex-gurkha Nirmal Purja (or Nims) is an instant hit.


All over the world, the highly inspiring film can be seen on Netflix where it reached the top 7 not even 5 days after release. It is the real life story of Nepalese climber Nims attempting the impossible: summitting the world’s 14 highest peaks in just seven months. Besides all the arrangements in terms of visa and climbing permits, that is two(!) 8,000+m peaks per month. Two times a month finding himself within what mountaineers call the ‘death zone’. 

 

Watch the trailer here:



 

As Nims explains himself: “14 Peaks is about the real lifetime grit, pushing human limitations, dreaming for the bigger purpose, believing in yourself and making the impossible- possible!”

 

If you’re an aspiring mountaineer yourself, we have some excellent, hands-on beginner courses in Nepal such as Mera Peak and Pachermo Peak.

Advanced mountaineers may like the Cholo Expedition, Mera & Island Peak Expedition via Amphu Labsta, and mountaineering sections of our Great Himalayan Trail.
 

All a bit too high up there for you? Make it to Everest Base Camp under your own steam on one of the trekking itineraries that we have over the past 40 years refined to perfection.

 

Seen the film already? What 'impossible' has it inspired you to do? Let us know in the comments.
 

Climbing Bolivia’s Mountains with Mountaineer Simon Yates

A new action-packed expedition in Bolivia’s mountains is the perfect mix of challenge and exploration.

Long-standing World Expeditions trip leader Simon Yates will return to South America in 2022, on a new thrilling expedition that will aim to conquer five peaks in just three weeks in the breath-taking High Andes of Bolivia, three of which are above 6000 metres. 

The new itinerary in Bolivia provides the perfect mix of challenge and exploration with five great climbing objectives – including the highest volcano in the country, the perennially snow-covered peak of Sajama (6542m), which is situated in the northern Cordillera Occidental. Following a sound acclimatisation schedule and two full days of alpine skills instruction, the group will commence climbing.

Summit five peaks in the breath-taking High Andes

Enjoying an al fresco lunch with the scenic Condoriri Valley as a backdrop |  <i>Anthony Bohm</i>
 

Despite being technically graded as ‘Intermediate Mountaineering Expedition’, the trip can also be joined by beginners with an excellent level of fitness and experience trekking at altitude (as a minimum).

Simon Yates first visited the country in 2012, when he led the inaugural departure of the Summits of Bolivia trip and has been keen to go back ever since.

About his upcoming Bolivia expedition, he said: 

I found Bolivia very special on my previous trip and I am really looking forward to the ascent of Sajama, which as well as being Bolivia's highest volcano, is also its highest peak.

In addition to the Cordillera Real, Bolivia has many high volcanoes, which is what makes this itinerary a trip like no other. In just three weeks you get the chance to climb three 6,000m volcanoes. This truly is an action-packed expedition!

Best known for his harrowing expedition in the Andes as documented in the award-winning ‘Touching the Void’ book, Simon Yates is one of the most accomplished mountaineers of his time. He has been at the forefront of exploratory mountaineering for over three decades and has successfully guided groups to the summits of peaks across the world, from Nepal (Ama Dablam, 6,856m) and Kyrgyzstan (Peak Lenin, 7,134m) to Alaska (Denali, 6,145m) and Argentina (Aconcagua, 6,960m).

Exclusive with World Expeditions, 'Triple Peaks of Bolivia with Simon Yates' departs 18 June 2022. The 20-day expedition includes accommodation, most meals, internal transfers, safety and climbing equipment and permits.

Rhodo heaven in the Annapurnas

Words and images: Kathy Ombler

In my Wellington garden I have five rhododendrons. One is healthy. Every year it blooms a lurid pink; a shade I don’t even like much. The other four are struggling, looking set to join several predecessors who for reasons unbeknown to not very green fingered me have long departed to rhodo heaven. Go well, I say.

Because last April I found that rhodo heaven. Close, in a way, to heaven itself, 3000 metres high on the Annapurnas, those grand Himalayan peaks that soar from sheer gorges and steep valleys, their lower slopes lined by terraces and dotted with blue-roofed villages, all linked by ancient, worn, stone-step pathways. That’s where I found rhododendron heaven; beneath the snowy summits entire forests, blazing red, pink, cerise and more, blended with white magnolias, and sweet-smelling daphnes.


Trekking with an experienced local team

Our group of 9 trekkers was supported by a head guide, trekking guide, two cooks, six porters and a Sirdar (boss of the porters and cooks). From left: Prasant (guide), Kathy, Govinda (trekking guide) and Dhobra (Sirdar).

Trekking is big in Nepal, and Annapurna is one of the country’s biggest trekking regions. Popular routes climb to Annapurna Base Camp, or trail around the entire range on the Annapurna Circuit (now more of a half circuit given new air and jeep access to the town of Jomsom). Or they take a shorter hike to Ghorepani Village then climb with the pre-dawn crowds to capture the mountain sunrise from Poon Hill, the overwhelmed ‘Instagram’ spot of the region.

Stunning view on the Annapurna

Sunrise across the Himal. Prominent on the left is sacred Machapuchare, or Fishtail, reportedly the home of Hindu god Shiva and banned from climbers.

During its long history of organising trekking tours throughout the Himalaya, World Expeditions has worked with local villagers and guides to develop itineraries away from these well beaten trails. For accommodation they have built relationships with remote farmers and lodge owners, and in places established their own, exclusive tented camps. Cooks travel with the groups. This lessens the risk of food-related illness, while their use of gas stoves avoids the need to cut rhodo forests to fuel cooking fires (increased trekking has increased demand for firewood here).

Plastic drink bottles are a no-no, everyday the guides boil water for trekkers to replenish their own refillable flasks or camel backs. The company hires local porters, and rewards them with both wages and trekking gear.

Mountain porters are an integral part of trekking in Nepal

Our porters climb through Ghorepani Village.

For the trekkers there are many positives: avoiding the masses, being kinder to the land, supporting local employment, opportunities to learn about local life, not getting sick and all the time of course enjoying that landscape drama; those massive white massifs and, draped around their lower flanks, the world’s largest rhododendron forest.

At lower altitudes we trekked through cultivated terraces.

Beautiful sunrise on the Dhaulagiri

Good morning Dhaulagiri (8,167m and the world’s 7th highest mountain). Looking across Kali Gandaki, the world’s deepest gorge, from Kopra community eco lodge.

 
Rhododendron trees in flower in the Himalayan spring

Where East Meets West: Popular summer destinations on the border between Europe & Asia

There are few classroom example destinations where East meets West – where Europe meets Asia and we are here highlighting some of the best. Starting with Georgia, we have a few more countries to showcase. Keep on reading if you’re an active traveller and interested in summer hiking destinations that are on the border between Europe and Asia. 

Georgia

Hiking to Ushguli in the Svaneti Valley |  <i>Julie Haber</i>

A summer destination that is growing in popularity is Georgia. The country is packed full of ancient cultural traditions, lush valleys, vibrant small towns, and complex history. It’s one of those places that surprise and make you feel alive.

Read more about Georgia

 

Turkey

A walker in Cappadocia |  <i>Erin Williams</i>

Next, we’ve got Turkey for you. It’s an incredibly diverse country with a lot to offer. We’ve admired the ancient ruins and magnificent architecture, dazzling natural beauty, world-class cuisine, one of the world's greatest cities (Istanbul is so alive) and a unique culture combining European, Asian and Middle Eastern influences. And it's also safe, affordable and remarkably family friendly.

Read more about Turkey

 

Armenia

UNESCO listed Geghard, a medieval monastery partially hewn from the mountain.

We are finishing our list with Armenia, another one of those special countries at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Every traveller that has visited is captured by this small landlocked country. People often refer to it as an open air museum because of the thousands of monasteries and other historical monuments that are scattered around the country. But there’s so much more: deserts, woodlands & alpine regions; there are high mountain peaks and green valleys; canyons, waterfalls and mineral springs, not to forget a history of wine making that goes back thousands of years. 

Read more about Armenia

 

Have you been hiking in any of these destinations on the border between Europe and Asia? What were your experiences? Or why do you still like to go?

  

16 cute and funny wild animal photos

Find a collection of some of our favourite wildlife photos that will put a smile on your dial, then share this post with your friends and family to spread some cheer.

Let’s continue to do our part to leave a positive impact and use thoughtful travel to not only see the world but to make it a better place for the beautiful, diverse and precious animals that call it home.

1. The face you make when bugs accidentally fly into your mouth whilst cycling.

It's been a hard day, Kazuma Forest Reserve |  <i>Kylie Turner</i>
 
>> Go on a safari in Uganda to spot lions

2. When you've finally reached camp after six hours on the trail.

A fur seal takes a nap on the beach in the Galapagos |  <i>Alex Cearns | Houndstooth Studios</i>

 

3. Thinking you heard something outside your tent late into the night.

Flamingo in the Galapagos Islands |  <i>Alex Cearns | Houndstooth Studios</i>

>> Spot flamingos on a cycling trip in Sardinia

 

4. Ending up in a staring competition with an animal you spotted on the trail.

A curious African Squirrel pokes around campsite |  <i>Kylie Turner</i>

 

5. When you realise you're on your last kilometre before finally reaching the finish line on the trail. 

Male Blue Footed Booby doing mating dance, Galapagos Islands |  <i>Ian Cooper</i>
 
>> Spot blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos
 

6. Asking your best friend to take a photo of your good side.

A fur seal poses for the camera |  <i>Alex Cearns | Houndstooth Studios</i>

 

>> Want to see fur seals in the wild, go for example to the Galapagos or South Georgia and the sub-Antarctic islands

 

7. The look you make to your friend when one of your favourite songs starts playing.

Gentoo dance |  <i>Alex Cearns Houndstooth Studio</i>

 

8. Realising that you left your water bottle at the top of the hill and you have to go back.

Fur seal in the Galapagos Islands |  <i>Alex Cearns | Houndstooth Studios</i>

 

9. The look your partner gives you when they like the new gear outfit you bought.

A pair of loving Albatross, Galapagos Islands |  <i>Nigel Leadbitter</i>

 

10. Finally reaching a place to rest after climbing uphill for 20 minutes.

Asiatic Black Bears in the Free The Bears Sanctuary Cambodia |  <i>Scott Pinnegar</i>

>> Asiatic black bears live for example in Cambodia

 

11. Convincing your friend that your new organic diet is doing wonders for your figure.

Close encounter with kangaroos |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i>

>> Spot kangaroos down under

 

12. Not realising how many trips to the bathroom you'd make with your new diet.

Gentoo poo |  <i>Alex Cearns Houndstooth Studio</i>

 

13. Using your short friend as an armrest during a hike.

A place to rest your head |  <i>Ian Williams</i>

>> See zebras and other wildlife during the great migration in Tanzania's Serengeti

 

14. Laying low after screaming 'SNAKE' when you realised that it was just a stick.

A curious seal |  <i>Sue Werner</i>

 

15. Trying to look cool for the group photo.

A silverback gorilla in Bwindi National Park |  <i>Ian Williams</i>

>> Go on a gorilla safari in Rwanda

 

16. When you ate too much at camp and the food coma hits.

A Crabeater seal relaxes on an iceberg, Antarctica |  <i>Eve Ollington</i>

Drop a comment below to let us know which is your favourite photo!

In a world that is so incredible, we aim to bring you closer to nature and create meaningful experiences with local communities, their cultures and, of course, the wildlife! Check out the various wildlife safari experiences on offer >

7 holiday ideas for those who have been ‘everywhere else’

Looking at where to go next? From boiling lakes to remote treks to inaccessible mountains, these 'alternative' bucket list trips will earn you serious bragging rights. Start planning your next active holiday and set foot in some of the least visited regions in the world.

See the elusive Emperor Penguin in Antarctica

Majestic Emperor Penguin |  <i>Kyle Super</i> Close encounter with a Emperor Penguin |  <i>Kyle Super</i> Emperor Penguin colony in Antarctica |  <i>Kyle Super</i>
 

Although sightings of the adorable wobbly animals are virtually guaranteed on most cruises to Antarctica – and typically rank as one of the highlights of any voyage to the frozen continent – Emperor Penguins will rarely be seen. Endemic to Antarctica, the tallest of the species is mostly found further south, towards the Weddell Sea, where most ships do not go as they concentrate on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Enjoy a thrilling helicopter ride to reach the colonies to maximise your chance of spotting the elusive animal, making for an even more rewarding and memorable experience.

• GO THERE: Cruise the Weddell Sea in Antarctica >

Traverse Nepal's Great Himalaya Trail away from tourist trails

Adventure Pass on the Great Himalaya Trail |  <i>Florian Wegmann</i>

Described as "trekking’s holy grail", the full Nepal traverse of the GHT takes 150 days to complete, goes on for 1,700 kilometres and crosses trails up to 6,190 metres above sea level! It is a true exploratory experience encountering some of the wildest and most remote environments imaginable.

For those who cannot afford the money or the time to complete the whole length of the trail, it can be broken into seven smaller stages, from 18-34 days, which can be joined separately.

Camping in the heart of the Himalayas, you'll take in spectacular vistas of Nepal’s 8,000m peaks along the way and the chance to experience remote cultures in hidden corners of the country.

• GO THERE: The Great Himalayan Trail >

Be among the first to trek the Transcaucasian Trail

Ushguli, a community of four villages located at the head of the Enguri gorge in Svaneti, Georgia.

Trek selected sections of the long-distance Transcaucasian Trail (anticipated by hiking enthusiasts as the next big thing in trekking) in both Armenia and Georgia, the only two countries adequately mapped so far.

In development since 2015, once completed the trail will extend more than 3,000km in length in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, connecting more than 20 National Parks and protected areas. The dramatic range is one of the most inaccessible mountains in the world due to a lack of reliable and detailed recent data.

Hikers can complete the Armenia segment first and then continue the trail in Georgia.

• GO THERE: Transcaucasian Trail Hikes >

Explore the Caribbean's only long-distance trail and see a boiling lake!

The Waitukubuli National Trail is the first and only long-distance walking trail in the Caribbean. It crosses the entire island of Dominica over 114 miles and World Expeditions offers a special 10-day itinerary that covers the very best sections of the trail.

Day trek to Dominica's boiling lake through the Valley of Desolation

The trip showcases the natural beauty of Dominica, from rugged mountains and virgin rainforests to dramatic gorges and spectacular waterfalls, and also includes a day trek to Dominica’s Boiling Lake (the second largest in the world) that is not part of the Waitukubuli National Trail route.

• GO THERE: Dominica – Trek the Waitukubuli National Trail >

Stand at the edge of the 'Door to Hell' in Central Asia

Turkmenistan's Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as the 'Door to Hell', at sunset |  <i>Richard I'Anson</i>

Venture north in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan out to the gas crater known as the “Door to Hell” at Darvaza and Merv, the site of a once-grand oasis city on the ancient Silk Route.

The burning Darvaza gas crater measures some 60 metres in diameter and 20 metres in-depth and is the result of Soviet engineers searching for natural gas fields in 1971. Shortly after setting up a drilling rig, the ground beneath the rig collapsed exposing the huge crater. Engineers at the time estimated that when lit, the gas would burn out within a few weeks. However, it has continued to burn for more than four decades. The sight of the huge glowing crater in the middle of the desert after the sun sets is an experience like none other.

• GO THERE: Ancient Silk Road Cities - The Five Stans >

Witness volcanoes erupting in the Russian Far East

Exploring the coast line of Bukhta Natalia |  <i>Keri May</i> A family of brown bears on the riverbank, Kamchatka View from the crater of Gorely Volcano, Kamchatka Looking across the expansive lava fields surrounding Tolbachik Volcano Steam rising at the mini geyser valley Russia's Far East offers some amazing photo opportunities |  <i>Keri May</i>
 

Fire meets ice at the Kamchatka Peninsula, the most volcanic area of the Eurasian continent: the land here is still being formed and with 159 volcanoes there is almost always one active cone erupting.

A trip for those who have been everywhere else, discover a wilderness of stunning bays, sculptural stone birch forests, boiling geysers, snow-capped fuming volcanoes and crater lakes as blue and clear as the sky. The trip joins in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk, the second-largest city in the world which cannot be reached by road (there are no roads connecting Kamchatka with other parts of Russia).

• GO THERE: Kamchatka Expedition >

Take the paths less travelled through the Caucasus

If you're after a more cultural journey, Azerbaijan is a must. For those who've travelled along the Silk Road, this region offers an equally rich experience and a different side of Central Asia worth exploring.

Famous for its medieval walled Old City, Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, is flooded with breathtaking contemporary landmarks such as the Heydar Aliyev Centre and the pointed ‘Flame Towers’ glass skyscrapers. Discover a treasure trove of 40,000-year-old rock art at the Gobustan National Park and find nearly a third of the world’s bizarre mud volcanoes.

Bizarre bubbling mud volcanoes in Gobustan National Park, Azerbaijan.

But before crossing into neighbouring Georgia, spend time at the beautiful former Silk Road town of Sheki, whose Khans Summer Palace is said to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the Caucasus.

• GO THERE: Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia Explorer >
 


 

What I learnt trekking the Jatbula Trail and what I'd do differently

What is it like to take on a challenging multi-day hike for the first time? World Expeditions traveller Dragica shares her adventures from the trail – the good, the ugly and the unforgettable.

A quantum physicist, a mathematician, an accountant, a GP, her daughter and a public servant all walk into a bar… Okay, no they didn’t. They actually hiked the Jatbula Trail, an epic 62-kilometre backpacking journey, navigating the western edge of the Arnhem Land escarpment in Australia’s Northern Territory. 

This trip had been on my bucket list for many years and I’m not going to lie, I’m hardly an accomplished hiker – in fact, this was my first actual multi-day hike. I also hadn’t been camping in years and I tricked myself into thinking that walking the mostly flat Canberra paths in the dead of winter with a (much smaller) pack would be enough preparation. 

But absolutely nothing could prepare me for how intense the hike would be for me or how it would pulverise my absolutely filthy (I was cleaning dirt out of my toenails for weeks after), blistered and swollen feet. And yet, writing this while in lockdown I would trade my festy cankles to get back there in a hot second. 

The rise and fall of the trail 

A keyword that our guide Eric used was ‘undulating’ (I would hear this word over and over during the 6 days) and that’s exactly what it was — most days the trail was rocky, some days sandy, some days we walked in a bit of bog or marsh. Sometimes you’d get your foot stuck in the bog and one of your fellow hikers would have to yank you out by your pack and sometimes you’d walk through 10-foot spear grass, which would result in a head-to-toe body rash. Every day was both challenging and exhilarating. 

One of the many swimming holes on the Jatbula Trail |  <i>Dragica Barac</i> Gain a deeper understanding of the local Indigenous culture with visits to ancient rock art sites |  <i>Linda Murden</i> Carry a blister pack on the trail for long-distance hikes |  <i>Dragica Barac</i>
 

I’ve told most of my friends I wanted to quit after the first four kilometres, in reality, I wanted to quit after the first 5 minutes! Starting at Nitmiluk Visitor’s Centre just after lunch, a barge drops you off to the other side of the Katherine River (because y’know, crocodiles) and just jumping off and walking up the small embankment had me sweating. 

While it was the dry season (I travelled in July), make no mistake it’s still hot and my 15 kg backpack (with an extra two litres of water) might as well have weighed a tonne. 'Do people actually do this for actual fun?' I kept asking myself. 'Why?' Reaching our first pitstop at the Northern Rockhole provided relief from my backbreaking pack. (Have I mentioned that my backpack was really heavy?) 

With an undignified bellyflop into the refreshingly cold water, any possible thoughts of a Saltie making me their lunch was quickly forgotten. It helped that it was really picturesque!

Swimming holes visited on the Jatbula Trail are high on the escarpment and far from any crocs  |  <i>Dragica Barac</i>

Crystal Falls 

Completing the trail on day one was a definite highlight and reaching our final destination at Crystal Falls was magnificent because: 
(a) the trek was finally over for the day and
(b) we had a piece of paradise pretty much to ourselves.

The waterfalls are spectacular and should be on everyone’s bucket list. 

When you’re sitting in the freshwater pool, listening to the water cascade around you, eating cheese and crackers it’s hard not to think you’re in some exclusive Outback eco Club Med resort – although it would have been nice to have a waiter or two serving up some well-earned margaritas! 

Food to fuel the (ravenous) soul 

During the days when I was struggling (okay, nearly every day!) there’s a couple of things that I thought focused on to keep me walking – like, food. 'What culinary speciality will Jess, Maggie and Eric concoct today? Will Eric actually fry the chorizo this time? Is there any 4-day old, creamed hummus left? Can I have and lick the wrapper of the melted chocolate this time?' 

The food was absolutely great but if I never eat another sun-dried tomato or shitake mushroom it’ll be too soon! 

Enjoying full-serviced meals on the Jatbula Trail |  <i>Dragica Barac</i>

 

Jatbula Trail highlights: why it's a trip of a lifetime

There are so many highlights it’s hard to name just a couple, but here goes: the Jawoyn Aboriginal rock art at the Amphitheatre, a shaded monsoonal-type valley that almost tricks you into thinking you’ve been momentarily transported into a rainforest. 

Spotting the small and large Magellanic clouds in the crystal-clear night sky at 17 Mile Falls. Walking out at sunrise – #nofilter required – on our 16.5km hike to Sandy Camp Pool. Getting used to my ever-deflating sleeping mat. Bats peeing on my tent twice, at said Sandy Camp Pool. ‘It’s just Grevilia sap,’ Jess tells me the next day. Yeah, right. 

17 Miles Fall on the Jatbula Trail |  <i>Dragica Barac</i>

The midnight runs over undulating (there’s that word again!) terrain in the moonlight to the drop toilet at least 150 metres away from camp when you’re absolutely busting. Lazing about like goannas on the rocks at Sweetwater Falls. Staring in awe at the full pink moonrise that same evening at Sweetwater Falls. 

Watching in wonder at the physical strength of Jess, Eric and rookie Maggie as they cart around 22 kilos of gear each, including most of the food, pots and pans and not complaining. 

Savouring the taste of fresh water and not needing an Aquatab to filter it. Soaking in the natural silence, knowing that you are far from what’s going on in the outside world, especially Covid. 

The blissful realisation that you don’t need to constantly glance at your phone, doom scrolling because there’s also no service out there. 

Feeling melancholy at the finishing line at Leliyn (Edith Falls) and then smashing down the best Barramundi burger ever at the kiosk. 

Eclectic night colours on the Jatbula Trail |  <i>Dragica Barac</i>

The natural wonder that is Arnhem Land. Summing up the Jatbula in a word: magical. 

Things I realised with the benefit of hindsight: 

• I regret not spending the extra hundred bucks or so and upgraded to an Osprey Aura Anti-Gravity suspension backpack. It seemed to be the one favoured by the more seasoned hikers on the trip, i.e. everyone else except me and I probably would have spent less time complaining to everyone within earshot about how heavy my pack was. 

• Also, actually practice with your bag at the 15 kg weight for at least 6 weeks beforehand. The guides redistribute the group’s food every morning, so your pack doesn’t get any lighter! 

• To make your bag lighter, you probably don’t need to pack 10 pairs of undies. Also, pack a book or kindle. Don’t pack both. • Buy that ugly, quick-dry, Leyland-brothers looking, wide-brimmed hat, with the matching ugly shirt. No one cares about fashun on the trail. 

• Pack the hiking poles. You’ll need them. Trust me. 

• A great tip I picked up from Jess was to drench my shirt and hat in the water to keep me cool during the rest of the hike. 

• You’ll drink more water than you ever thought possible, I topped out at 4 ½ litres in one day so I highly recommend packing a hydration bladder. Which I didn’t. 

• Why did I pack so many undies and not wine?

Words by Dragica Barac who completed the Jatbula Trail in July 2021.

Drop a comment below and let us know what you learnt from a challenging hike you completed. And if you could do it again, what would you have done differently?

Looking to take up the Jatbula challenge? View the trip details and make sure you are well prepared for the adventure. The more training you do, the more enjoyable the trek will be! Check out these top tips when training for a multi-day adventure.


5 exercises to improve your walking fitness

Is your sense of adventure bubbling up as you plan and prep for your next walking holiday? Great! You’re halfway there! 

As much as the adventure comes from within, we must also train our bodies, because the fitter you are, the more fun you’ll have. 

In addition to learning general skills such as hiking and backpacking, you need to train your bum, legs and core as well as keeping your body supple. So, here are five functional exercises that work the big muscles and smaller stabilizers in your legs and glutes to help you prepare for the adventure of a lifetime. 

They’re called functional exercises because they mimic natural movement, getting all your muscles working together synergistically like they do when you run, jump, hike, scramble… whatever the adventure may be. 

They also incorporate various degrees of instability to help you develop better balance for walking on rough trails and terrain and moving your body in ways you never have before. And for most of these exercises, you don't need a gym or any equipment to do them!

Squat 

The squat targets all the big muscles in your legs, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. If you want extra resistance once you’ve perfected the technique, increase the weight in your backpack so you build greater strength. 

 

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, standing tall. Begin the squat by switching on the front core muscles which tilt the pelvis towards the front ribs while simultaneously tipping the torso forwards as you sit the hips backwards (like sitting on the loo). 

Slowly lower using the glutes to a 90-degree leg position, with weight evenly distributed through the whole foot. 

Return to standing using the glutes, keeping the pelvis tucked and the spine straight, powering through the whole foot including the big toe and keeping the head upright throughout. 

Do 10-15 reps per set. 

Lunges 

Lunges strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads and core to prepare you for hiking rocky trails and uneven terrain. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can add weight to your backpack for greater strength. Whether you’re hiking to Everest Base Camp or summitting a trekking peak, lunges will prepare your legs for the most strenuous of activities. 

Stand feet together, core engaged, spine lengthened, and chest lifted and take a big step forward with your left foot. Lower straight down so your front left knee tracks over the top of your shoe and your back right knee points down toward the floor. 

You are on your back right toe. Push back using the glutes strongly to the starting position. Repeat on the right leg. Keep alternating. 


A good place to start is with 10-12 lunges on each leg and work your way up to three sets. 

Do Walking Lunges: Walking lunges are the same as basic lunges, except you alternate legs and you keep walking (moving) forward. Focus on excellent technique engaging the core and glutes with each lunge. 

If you’re not sure how to do them, consult a qualified trainer or physio to help you perfect them. It will be a great investment in a lifetime of healthy hiking knees. Do 10-15 reps on each side. 

High Step Up 

The High Box Step Up is a challenging exercise that targets the hamstrings, glutes, and quads. Extra instability is introduced when you increase the height of the step, forcing the stabilizer muscles to work together to keep you balanced. 

This exercise also provides a great hamstring stretch and is used when experiencing rough, rocky terrains. 

 

If you don't have a step-up box, place one foot on a platform slightly higher than your knee and drive forward, pressing down through your heel to lift your other leg. Then reverse the motion, controlling the descent to avoid jarring the leg on the way down. It’s harder than it looks. 

Do 10 reps for each leg. 

Burpees 

This is an advanced compound exercise requiring a strong core but it is great for improving strength, endurance and agility to turn you into a fit and fantastic adventure junkie. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, weight evenly distributed and your arms at your sides. 

Lower your body into a squat and then place your hands on the floor directly in front of you. Shift your weight onto your hands as you jump your feet back to softly land on the balls of your feet in a plank position, engaging the strength of your core. 

Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels. Be careful not to let your back sag or your butt stick up in the air to get the full benefit and prevent injury. Jump your feet back to where they came from in a squat behind your hands then reach your arms overhead as you explosively jump up into the air. Land and immediately prepare for the next burpee. 


Start with five and work up to 20, remembering quality trumps quantity. 

Mountain Climber 

This exercise works to strengthen your core and legs and give you a cardio burn. 

Start in a plank. Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels. Be careful not to let your back sag or your butt stick up in the air to get the full benefit and prevent injury. 

Bend your knee in towards your nose, crunching into your core, and then send it back out to plank position. Repeat on the other leg. Continue alternating legs, increasing the pace to get your heart rate up. Start with 20 seconds and work up to a minute.

 

These exercises are a great way to prepare yourself for whatever your next walking holiday throws at you, and you can do them anywhere – no equipment required!

Our friends at Wild Women On Top have been connecting, coaching and championing women in the outdoors through hiking adventures since 2000. They have helped thousands of women fall in love with health and fitness – and find their inner wild by getting outdoors in nature. Find out more at www.wildwomenontop.com.


Tasmania’s top food experiences: Peter Kuruvita

With so much packed in such a small island, where does one begin when exploring Tasmania’s food scene? SBS TV personality and one of Australia’s foremost seafood chefs, Peter Kuruvita unwraps some of the island’s best culinary highlights. 

He’ll be returning to Tasmania in 2022 with even more premier food experiences, check out his food tour

Top 3 foodie experiences you shouldn’t miss when in Tasmania? 

1. Cruising down the Derwent River to Bruny Island for a Gourmet Seafood Seduction Tour eating Tasmanian seafood plucked straight from the sea. 

It doesn't get much fresher than this on your Tastes of Tasmania trip with Peter Kuruvita |  <i>Peter Kuruvita</i> Watch your Guides dive for sea urchins on your Seafood Seduction Tour |  <i>Peter Kuruvita</i> You'll learn from the locals how to shuck an oyster straight off the rack on your Tastes of Tasmania tour with Peter Kuruvita |  <i>Peter Kuruvita</i> Incredible colours of a freshly caught lobster |  <i>Peter Kuruvita</i>
 

2. Eating wood-fired sourdough pizzas at Devils Lair winery overlooking the vineyards.

3. Tasting manuka honey from Blue Hills Honey. On my Tasmanian culinary adventure you also tour the apiary and learn the lengths they go to to take care of their hives and queen. 

Any favourite dishes that emerged from your last trip to Tasmania?

The pure fresh seafood on the Gourmet Seafood Seduction tour around Bruny Island. It’s a once in a lifetime experience to have your lunch hand-harvested by divers and cooked on board straight from the sea – Abalone, oyster, sea urchins, crayfish – delicious! 

What’s something people don’t know about Tasmanian food you can tell us? 

The Tasmanian Fine Food Awards is the longest-running food awards programme in Australia! This shows you just how passionately Tasmanians take their food and produce. 

What are you most looking forward to on your next trip to Tasmania? 

Our next trip will start with a smoking ceremony on the beach at the Bay Of Fires, I’m looking forward to hearing more about the indigenous culture of the area. I also can’t wait to check out Cape Grim cattle farm and hunt truffles in Deloraine! 

Admiring the tranquil Bay of Fires |  <i>Mick Wright</i>

Did we whet your appetite? Join Peter for hands-on cooking demonstrations, world-class tastings, and the chance to know the local's lore and their foodie secrets – all of which will be set in deluxe accommodations with the backdrop of Tasmania's icons: Bay of Fires, Freycinet Peninsula and Cradle Mountain. View his tour >


12 remote and challenging multi-day hikes in Australia

If you're looking to step out of your comfort zone or to push your boundaries in remote wilderness few have explored, this list is for you.

These multi-day and long-distance hikes set you in a backdrop of truly wild and far-flung landscapes, from desert landscapes to the tropics, coastlines to alpine heights.

But don’t just take our word for it, we’ve included reviews from World Expeditions adventurers who’ve braved these challenging trails and returned home feeling an enormous sense of achievement. Will you be one of them?

 

1. South Coast Track, TAS

You’ll walk out a more resilient and enlightened person than when you first stepped foot on the track. This epic expedition takes you to the unspoiled wilderness of Australia's southernmost shores.

Expect river crossings when trekking Tasmania's South Coast Track |  <i>John Dalton</i> Enjoy glorious, uninterrupted views along Tasmania's South Coast Track |  <i>John Dalton</i> The terrain on the South Coast Track can be very muddy |  <i>John Dalton</i> The South Coast Track is a full pack carrying trek |  <i>John Dalton</i>
 

It is an extremely demanding trek but one of Australia's finest long-distance walks. You’ll camp, swim and trek along empty and pristine beaches as you cross the striking Ironbound landscapes to alpine heights.

The South Coast Track was simply amazing. The guides made an otherwise difficult trip a breeze. Sure we still had to carry packs and hike some pretty gnarly terrain, but they put in super-human efforts and did just about everything else. This meant we could concentrate on enjoying ourselves. The remoteness and scenery were wonderful and spectacular! I'd recommend it to everyone with sufficient hike-fitness.

Louise Foar, VIC Australia | 5 stars

Length: Around 65kms (8 days)
Difficulty: Challenging. Be prepared to brave Tasmania’s variable weather conditions as you walk between 10 to 15 kilometres each day. Expect creek and river crossings that could be waist-deep. Plenty of mud, slippery surfaces, steep tracks and fallen trees while carrying a full pack of up to 20 kilograms increases the difficulty.
Start point: Melaleuca (a short flight from Hobart)
End point: Cockle Creek, Australia’s southernmost town
Ideal for: Motivated walkers with a high level of fitness with multi-day hiking and full pack carrying experience.
When to go: Between late November and mid-April.

Find out more →

2. Kakadu Challenger, NT

Take on Kakadu National Park's more rigorous walks, which include the challenging Barrk Sandstone Walk, Barrk Marlam Walk and Yurmikmik walks.

Challenge to Kakadu's more rigorous and specatacular walking trails |  <i>Andrew Thomasson</i>

Hardy trekkers will explore remote gorges, waterfalls and escarpments, experience a sunset cruise on the Yellow Water billabong (home to a variety of wildlife!) and enjoy a soak at the iconic Gunlom Falls. The beauty of combining activity with culture allows hikers to delve deep into 40,000 years of Aboriginal cultural heritage with the expertise of knowledgeable wilderness guides.

Length: ~42km (6 days)
Difficulty:
Moderate to challenging. While the trek is more challenging than our Kakadu Explorer trek, it is achievable with only having to carry a daypack as luggage transfers are included.
Ideal for:
Walkers who enjoy tougher walks but want added comforts and inclusions.
Start point: Nourlangie massif
End point: Gunlom
When to go: June to September, which is during the dry season and when most of the visitor sites are open. This is also an ideal time to view the park’s majestic waterfall sites, such as Jim Jim and Twin Falls.

Find out more →

3. Jatbula Trail, NT

At the edge of the Northern Territory’s Arnhem Land Escarpment, you’ll wind your way along the fringe of cascading waterfalls, from high quartzite cliffs to shady monsoon forests that line the creeks.

 

With crystal-clear creeks throughout, there are abundant opportunities for croc-free swimming! You’ll end each night to the lullaby of nature’s sound at scenic and exclusive wilderness campsites – adding to an exceptional tropical hiking experience!

What a walk! A waterhole is always just a short distance away. And what [a] waterhole! Each one beautiful, individual and appreciated in the heat of the day. With short walking days there is lots of time to relax and enjoy this unique environment. The rock paintings along the way are another highlight of this amazing experience. The limit on numbers means that you can find a space for yourself to be immersed in this awe-inspiring environment.

B. Cromarty, NSW Australia | 5 stars


Length: 60.5km (6 days)
Difficulty: Moderate. You must be capable of walking on rough terrain with a full pack (15-17kg).
Start point: Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park
End point: Edith Falls (Leliyn)
Ideal for: Bushwalkers with a good level of fitness and a love for swimming holes.
When to go: Between May and August.

Find out more →

4. Larapinta end to end, NT

You could very well consider the Larapinta Trail the mecca of Australian desert hikes, smack bang in Central Australia’s diverse outback. You’ll be clocking in 223 kilometres on this full traverse as you embrace spectacular geographical, historical and cultural highlights including Stanley Chasm, Euro Ridge, the Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge and welcoming the sunrise at the summit of Mount Sonder, one of NT’s highest peaks.

Walking on the Larapinta Trail |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i> Waterholes along the Larapinta Trail are like an oasis in the desert |  <i>David Coorey</i> Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus exaltatus) |  <i>David Coorey</i> Spot endemic birdlife on the Larapinta |  <i>David Coorey</i> Discover a diversity of landscapes along the Larapinta Trail |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i> Curious wallaby's along the Larapinta Trail |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

Following the spine of the West MacDonnell range over secluded ridges and canyons, the distance, ruggedness and remoteness of the trail bears the challenge of walking up to 30 kilometres on some days.

The Larapinta End to End walk was a most enjoyable challenge. To brush closely with the landscape in body and mind was a joy. Our guides looked after us so well. Skilled, professional and so personable, they very much enhanced this experience. This was my first major walk and I'll do more from this experience. Thank you World Expeditions. PS: the food was great.

K. de Vahl Baker, NT Australia | 5 stars

 

Length: 223kms (12 or 14 days). If you don't have two weeks to spare to do the full walk, you can complete the Larapinta Challenger Trek, which covers five of the toughest sections on the Larapinta Trail.
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. Be prepared to trek for up to 8 to 10 hours a day in adverse weather conditions.
Start point:
Telegraph Station in Alice Springs
End point: Mt Sonder
Ideal for: Seasoned walkers with an excellent level of fitness.
When to go: Between mid-April and early September. Wildflowers are out during the warmer months of April, May and September. From June to August, the climate is much more cooler.

Find out more →

5. Warrumbungle National Park, NSW

Step into the gnarly terrains of nature with sprouts of wildflowers and vegetation. The ultimate backdrops though are the Breadknife rock formations, the incredible sunset skies and the Milky Way above, which puts on the show come nighttime at camp.


Experience Australia's only Dark Sky Park on foot with jagged volcanic silhouettes rising sharply from eucalyptus-dotted ridges amid surrounding plains. The breadth of the park makes one trip here not enough!

This trip, though tough, is worth every bead of sweat for the amazing views at the top of the mountains. The Warrumbungle’s region is beautiful and peaceful and the night skies and sunsets incredible. The guides were outstanding and couldn't do enough for the group. This is one of the best walking trips I've ever done.

Jill Doctor, NSW Australia | 5 stars

Happy faces on the summit of Belougery Spire Sunset skies at Warrumbungle National Park Sandstone Caves located in the Pilliga Nature Reserve have a rich indigenous heritage |  <i>Sue Badyari</i>

Length: Around 63km (Multiple day walks over 6 days)
Difficulty: Moderate. Encompassing various summit walks, the various ascents and descents command a good level of fitness.
Start point: Camp Walaay
End point: Pilliga National Park to explore the Sandstone Caves walking track
Ideal for: Stargazing enthusiasts and nature walkers should sign up with a multitude of walks which explore the Warrumbungle's iconic scenery and unique flora and fauna.
When to go: Between May and October. You’ll want to avoid hiking here in the peak of summertime as temperatures can climb.

Find out more →

6. Walls of Jerusalem Circuit Trek, TAS

Don a full pack, camp at remote and scenic locations, and be enchanted at every corner through a biblical landscape of true alpine wilderness.

 

As you summit numerous peaks, including King David’s Peak and Mt Jerusalem, the panoramic views gained will be well worth your efforts. You'll walk out with a renewed passion for life and the yearning to return to nature as soon as possible.

It felt as if we walked in the pre-historic times when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth. A truly unforgettable trip for me. My overall experience with Tasmanian Expeditions was outstanding! From my emails with my consultant (Dan Bunting) to the briefing with our guides (Toby and Damon) to the actual trip until the end of it... it all went smoothly and seamlessly.

– Yenny Tang, Western Australia | 5 stars 

Length: 53km + side trips (6 days)
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. This trek involves walking up to 7 to 8 hours a day whilst carrying a 15-20kg backpack, so previous multi-day hiking experience and full pack trekking is preferred. Be prepared for potential variable weather.
Start point: Lake Rowallen
End point: Mersey Valley
Ideal for: Nature lovers who relish in the excitement of remote alpine hiking with the chance of winds, steady rain, and even snow in elevated areas that can occur at any time of year.
When to go: For warmer days, the summer season (December to February) is best but this is also the most popular time to walk in Tasmania. To witness wildflowers in bloom, springtime between October and November is an ideal time. During March and April, you can see nature change to marvellous autumnal hues, with relatively sunny days and cool, crisp nights. 

Find out more →

7. Heysen Trail, SA

Walk across SA's spectacular rural landscapes and spend each evening at unique, comfortable outback stays. Some of the spectacular natural attractions of the region include Wilpena Pound, Black Gap Lookout, Mount Remarkable and Alligator Gorge.

The Heysen Trail traverses the Bunyeroo Valley with Wilpena Pound in the background |  <i>Chris Buykx</i>

You can trek the best sections of the famous Heysen Trail in splendid isolation with us, including the last leg: Section 61 with an extended exploration of the Flinders and Gammon Ranges. 

This was a fantastic trip. Wilpena Pound, St Mary Peak and the Geological Time Trail – all incredible. Also seeing the yellow-footed rock wallabies and the wedge-tailed eagles up close! Our guides Wes and Andrea were exceptional. They made the trip, with all their incredible knowledge of the area and the care they took of everyone.

– J. Germany, Australia | 5 stars 

Length: 1200km (the full trail is made up of 61 sections).
Difficulty: Introductory to moderate (when trekking certain sections of the trail)
Start point: Rawnsley Park Station or Willow Springs Station (on our 6-day Heysen Trail trip)
End point: Mount Remarkable
Ideal for: Those looking to experience the Aussie outback’s charm, heritage and alpine ambience. Wildlife lovers need also to apply to get up close with the region’s many characters such as the yellow-footed rock wallaby, euro and emus.
When to go: May to September, where these semi-arid ranges of dry climate create ideal conditions for walking. 

Find out more →

8. Frenchmans Cap, TAS

Climb to Tasmania’s iconic quartzite peak, the highest peak in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

Views along the Frenchman's Cap Hike

Standing at 1443 metres, Frenchmans Cap is not to be underestimated, but its summit views will leave you gobsmacked with arguably the best vistas across the entire World Heritage Area. The 360-degree views from the top take in a vast expanse of the southwest, which includes the Arthur Range, Mt Ossa and Macquarie Harbour.

The guides, Will and Maddy, were excellent, making sure that everyone felt comfortable and had assistance where needed on some of the steepest parts. They were also put to the test on the first day when one of the group fell and injured himself, requiring helicopter evacuation. They coped professionally with the injured man and with the rest of the group. Many highlights, including reaching the top of Frenchmans Cap. But others were the exquisitely beautiful rainforest, the fungi [and] the sunrise views from the rise above Lake Tahune.

M. Ball, Australia | 5 stars

Length: 46km return journey (5 days)
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. If you want to add to the challenge, combine this epic climb with a rafting expedition of one of the world's 'best river journeys', the Franklin.
Start point: Lake Vera
End point: Lake Vera
Ideal for: Experienced bushwalkers who love trekking in the rugged wilderness and can manage a full pack. You will be tested as you trek in unpredictable weather, mud, varying terrain and steep ascents.
When to go: Tasmania’s summer season is the best time to climb the peak, however, contingency days are set aside for added flexibility to maximise summit success. 

Find out more →

9. Bungle Bungles & Piccaninny Gorge Trek, WA

Following the track northeast, enter deep into the World Heritage-listed ranges and be marvelled by the maze-like domes of the Bungles found nowhere else in the world.

Bungle Bungles |  <i>Kate Harper</i>

Stop by waterholes and caves, soak in the wild seclusion of this ancient landscape and keep your eye out for one of the 130+ bird species and native animals found here, such as the short-eared rock wallaby.

Sheer rock walls and sandstone chasms will surround you on all sides as you explore the Piccaninny Gorge system. Plus, the flight to and from Kununurra is possibly one of the most scenic outback flights, passing over Piccaninny Gorge, Argyle diamond mine and Lake Argyle.

It was a privilege hiking deep into the unique, ancient and magnificent Bungle Bungles and sleeping under the stars without a tent and other hikers besides our group of 10. We were so grateful to our intrepid guides who not only carried a massive 30kg pack but cooked us delicious food and did the washing up. All we needed to do was enjoy the experience and we certainly did.

Ralph and Sybil Pliner NSW, Australia | 4 stars

Trekking through Piccaninny Gorge in The Bungle Bungles, Western Australia |  <i>Steve Trudgeon</i> Exploring remote gorges of the Bungle Bungles |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i> Picaninny Gorge, Bungle Bungles |  <i>Steve Trudgeon</i> Exploring remote gorges of the Bungle Bungles |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i> Sleep under the stars in picturesque locations |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i>

Length: Up to 38km (5 days)
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. This is an achievable expedition-style bushwalk and while you will be travelling with a full pack, on the days when you are exploring the upper gorge areas, having an the established base camp for a few nights means you will only carry a daypack on day 2-3. This trek is demanding but greatly rewarding.
Start point: Piccaninny Gorge
End point: Cathedral Gorge
Ideal for: Swag campers, full pack trekkers and wilderness lovers.
When to go: The cooler, winter months of the outback, between May and August, are the ideal times to soak in these spectacular ranges and make the most of the clear skies by sleeping under the sky swag style.

Find out more →

10. Remote Blue Mountains Traverse, NSW 

Leave civilisation behind and venture into the depths of NSW’s unique World Heritage-listed wilderness of the Blue Mountains.

Lunching at the Lost World |  <i>Michael Buggy</i>

Experience a mix of environments, from the classic Australian dry sclerophyll forests to the ancient Gondwana rainforests beneath towering sandstone escarpments. This bushwalk takes you well beyond the tourist trails as you access areas that can only be reached via roped ascents or descents.

Length: 96km (5 days)
Difficulty: Challenging. The terrain is at times rugged and remote with tracks that may be long, rough and steep. You will be required to carry a full pack, so multi-day bushwalking experience is recommended.
Start point: Lost World
End point: Megalong Valley
Ideal for: Experienced bushwalkers who want to get off the beaten path and who relish at the thrill of an abseiling adventure.
When to go: The spring months will offer a lovely splash of colour to your walk and weather conditions won’t be too hot when on the track. 

Find out more →

11. K2K Walk – Kanangra to Katoomba, NSW

For a long weekend away hike, this is a classic Blue Mountains' hike – and one not to be overlooked or underestimated.

View from Mt Morilla on Day 2 of K2K |  <i>Lauren Storaker</i>

Donning a full pack, you’ll cross two National Parks, working hard for the extraordinary panoramic views including the lead up to Mt Cloudmaker, the notoriously difficult section of Mount Strongleg to the Coxes River and the ascent up the iconic Tarro's Ladders. But we promise your effort will be well rewarded with incredible wilderness vistas!

Difficulty: Challenging
Length:
45km (3 days)
Start point:
Kanangra Walls
End point: Narrow Neck
Ideal for: Experienced full-pack bushwalkers fit to tackle numerous ascents and descents, capable of climbing staples fixed into the rock and who aren’t daunted by belaying and pack hauling, which will be necessary for the climb on day 3.

When to go: While you can walk the track most of the year, it is best done in the cooler months, as there are plenty of ups and downs and can get very hot and difficult under the summer sun. Spring is also a lovely time to see wildflowers begin to bloom.

Find out more →

12. Port Davey Track, TAS 

Feel like you’re a world away as you experience the tranquillity and remoteness of the Lost World Plateau and surrounding ancient mountain ranges on the Port Davey Track.

Viewing Mount Solitary from the Port Davey Track |  <i>Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman</i>

Walk in rare pockets of rainforest, camp on the banks of the mystical Crossing and Spring Rivers, cross the magical Bathurst Harbour by rowboat and summit Mt Hesperus in the Western Arthur Range. The Port Davey Track, while often overlooked for the South Coast Track, is a winner when it comes to rugged, remote wilderness.

Length: 70km (7 days)
Difficulty
: Challenging. You'll experience long days on tough and very isolated terrain and the track is not to be underestimated. Expect sections of muddy button grass (bring gators!), river crossings, overgrown trails and steep inclines in forested mountains. Combine this trek with its nearby neighbour, the South Coast Track, for an epic traverse of the entire southwest of Tasmania.

Start point: Scott Peaks Dam
End point: Melaleuca 
Ideal for: Those looking to disconnect from the busy urban life and who are ready for a wonderful experience whatever the weather.
When to go: During Tasmania’s summer season for ideal and warmer weather conditions.

What's a challenging hike that you completed? Let us know in the comments below.

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