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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. Want more of those examples? Read our new blog article ‘Where East Meets West’.  
 

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.
 

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. 
 
 

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>
 

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>

 

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>

 

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>

 

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>

 

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

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

 

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>

 

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>

 

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 first and only long-distance walking trail in the Caribbean, the Waitukubuli National Trail crosses the entire island over 114 miles. More than two years after Dominica was devastated by Hurricane Maria, World Expeditions offers a revised version of the iconic trek 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 >


10 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. 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 →

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). The trail has 12 sections with shorter, self-guided and ‘in comfort’ options available.
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. 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.

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 →

Know a hike that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.

7 things to consider before packing for your trip

Packing tip 101: make a list, lay it all out, cull it back, then cull it back again! The last thing you want is to be carrying too much or forgetting important items from your gear list.

To make sure you're well prepared, here are some main things to consider before you zip up your bags.

1. Have your gear list ready

This list should include every item that you will require along the journey, as well as items that might be required when the expedition does not go exactly to plan (i.e. wet weather gear – even if you are visiting a country in its warmer months).

An extensive gear list is provided on our adventures, but you should tailor it to your needs and requirements – and only have the essentials to save yourself from overpacking.

2. Renting gear

Take into account what equipment your operator will provide, and what you will have to get. 

If can you hire gear from the operator or a local supplier, especially if it is equipment that you will not use regularly, it's worth choosing this option to keep expenses to a minimum. 

3. Try and test your gear beforehand

Clothing and gear should be tried and tested before the main event. If possible, organise a mini-expedition before your main adventure to have the chance to test your equipment and clothing and see that it fits fine, is of good quality, and is usable in the conditions you will experience when on the trails.

4. Lay things out before packing

If you're a last-minute packer, make sure you take the time to lay all your items out before popping them in your bag. 

By grouping things together by what days you'll be wearing them or by items you'll be using on your adventure, you can easily see what items are truly necessary and which ones you can cull back on. 

Plus, having it laid out in front of you allows you to easily check off your items on your list and smartly pack them into your bag so they can easily fit, like a game of Tetris.

5. Be prepared for when things get wet

A dry bag is especially handy when heading outdoors to place items you don't want getting wet and dirty on your expedition.

You can also use them to keep your liquids separate from your other belongings; plus, they make a great way to organise and separate your items when packing and unpacking.

6. Roll, don't fold

You've probably heard of this tip, but if you haven't, rolling up your smaller item articles of clothing can be a space saver. 

You can also fold and stuff your jackets, such as your waterproofs or downs into its hoody, as well as stuff your socks in your shoes to account for more room in your luggage.

7. Luggage weight restrictions

Know your airline’s baggage fee policy. The last thing you want at the airport is to be paying for excess baggage, so opt for lightweight luggage, clothing and gear items where possible.

You could even pack items that are dual-purpose garments – such as pants that turn into shorts by removing a zipper on the leg or a jacket that turns into a travel pillow. If it's two-in-one, it's one less thing to carry, especially if you're on a backpacking expedition.

You can also board the plane wearing your heaviest clothing items or carrying the equipment that is weighty – for instance, hiking boots and daypack plus contents, then change into something more comfortable later on.

By being well prepared, checking your gear list and culling your list down to the essentials will help save you from carrying an extra load, but also making sure you have everything on hand to have a fun and enjoyable adventure.

Packing hacks to help save money on your next holiday

Whether you are travelling on a budget or need to cut down on your luggage weight, these clever packing tips could also help you save money on your next active adventure. Discover 10 travel hacks to pack smarter and lighter.

Switch to soft merino wool apparel

Clothing that is suitable for diverse weather conditions will help reduce the amount of clothing you take. Soft merino wool thermals and t-shirts will be appropriate for nearly all weather conditions because they regulate the body temperature extremely effectively.

The other benefit is that they are odour resistant, which allows active travellers to wear them for nearly twice as long as cotton and synthetic clothing, rather than buying numerous pieces. You’ll be surprised how many days you can wear a quality base layer or pair of hiking socks before they really need to be retired.

LED torches

Opting for torches with LED bulbs when camping will avoid the need to get a bulb replacement. They are a lot more conservative on battery power, which means fewer spare batteries to purchase and carry. Cheaper torches can often cost a lot in replacement batteries, and eventually, to replace the torch itself.

Save on laundry costs

Bringing along environmentally-friendly, concentrate laundry soap can help save the need to submit your clothing for cleaning. Plus, the chance to wash smaller articles of clothing, like socks, underwear and some inner shirts, also means packing fewer garments with a fresh, clean pile to turn to.

Quick-drying clothes

To help with the drying process and for when you get a bit sweaty on the trails, packing quick-dry clothing that is made from synthetic fabrics, like board shorts, merino t-shirts, technical pants and shirts from outdoor stores, is encouraged. Plus, they tend to be pretty lightweight too.

Footwear

When planning to pack for an active adventure – especially when it's a trekking holiday, footwear and socks become a top priority. But you don't need to be packing different pairs. Packing one good pair of shoes that will enable you to do everything – that is, opting for a pair that will suit various terrain, means you can invest its use on multiple adventures down the track too.

A spare can be handy if you know you'll be hiking on possibly wet or muddy terrain and want to avoid walking in soaked boots the next day. However, having one quality pair on hand should be enough, depending on the length and type of trek you are undertaking.

Refer to your detailed itinerary notes and gear list supplied in your pre-departure kit to find the appropriate footwear for your outdoor experience. (You can read this helpful blog on how to choose the right hiking boots.)

Small repair kit

Heading out into the wilderness on an adventure can bring unexpected surprises, so bringing along a small repair kit can help save you from having to purchase replacement items along the way if they do break, tear or get damaged. This kit can include things like a needle and thread, spare buckles, buttons, safety pins, and Gaffa tape for mending tears.

Shop light

You may even avoid having the need to bring a repair kit if you know you have quality and enduring gear that will last the miles. Plus, specialised gear brands tend to be lightweight because they know every gram counts when out on the trails.

While the price tag from professional gear stores can seem hefty, the items can be seen as an investment for future use. Some brands even ensure their gear's quality by offering a long warranty time on them.

Hiring kit

When you want quality gear, but can't afford the price tag, renting out gear or equipment can help you save big time.

Use our trek pack on tour which includes a down/fibrefill jacket, skeeping bag, sleeping bag liner and kit bag. |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Have a look at the inclusions of your trip where sleeping bags, sleeping mats, tents or snowshoes are covered. This will mean you have less to worry about come trip day!

Essential toiletries only

Avoid purchasing small-sized liquid soaps, shampoos and conditioners whenever you take a trip. Instead, pour sunscreen and soaps into smaller re-usable bottles and simply label their contents. It not only means travelling more efficiently, but you'll also save on single-plastic use. Read more ways to reduce single-plastic use when travelling in this post.

Packing cubes

These babies are space savers! These lightweight compartments help to organise your clothing and gear so you can find what you need quickly, separate the ‘clean’ from ‘dirty’ and well as make room for big-ticket items like your hiking boots that can take up quite an amount of space in your luggage. This could even mean switching to a smaller and less bulky bag.

With some well thought out planning, smart preparation, as well as a comprehensive pre-departure kit and briefing before your big adventure, you can keep costs to a minimum – and maybe even start putting it towards your next active escape.

What are some travel hacks you use?


Grants 4 Ground Staff Appeal – how you can help

Our friends in Nepal and Peru – the guides, porters and administration staff that were the backbone of your last World Expeditions adventure – are in need.

In 2020, the World Expeditions Foundations' Lend A Hand Appeal distributed over 600 food and hygiene care packages, but our ground crew still need our help. While the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is giving hope to many people affected by the pandemic, the devastating impact of COVID-19 will still be felt for a long time for those who are dependent on income from travel and tourism living in countries that will not see the vaccine for some time.

We are committed to continuing to send care packages to our team in need in Nepal and Peru, but we need your help. Join us on a Charity Challenge to climb Australia's highest mountain or please donate to the World Expeditions Foundation's Grants 4 Ground Staff Appeal to continue our efforts to give back to the people behind the scenes of your adventure travel holiday in their time of need.

Help support the wonderful individuals who have given us so much joy in our travels, many of whom will remain without income for some time due to minimal government support and subsidies.

Ways you can support our appeal:

JOIN OUR 'CLIMB KOZI 4 GROUND STAFF' CHARITY CHALLENGE


Climb to the roof of Australia for this amazing cause in February 2022! Climb one of the original Seven Summits, and Australia's highest mountain at 2228 metres, to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, with family and friends and raise funds to support our international ground staff.

MAKE A DIRECT DONATION TO THE APPEAL


Help make a difference by donating to the Grants 4 Ground Staff Appeal. 100% of funds raised will be equally distributed to the recipients intended with no administration fees withheld. Donations over $2 made by Australian residents will receive a tax-deductible receipt.

FUNDRAISE LOCALLY

Hiker interacting with Quechua child |  <i>Donna Lawrence</i>


If you can't join our 'Climb Kozi 4 Ground Staff', you can still help fundraise locally to support this appeal. Simply create a fundraising page as an individual or as a team to get started! There are a number of ways to raise funds, check out this guide for some ideas.

Who will your donations support?

In line with the mandate of the World Expeditions Foundation, 100% of donations from the appeal will be dispersed to our local partners and their employees in Nepal and Peru. These individuals include the field and office team – the guides, porters, drivers, cooks and administration staff.

More than 600 food and hygiene care packages were distributed in 2020 from our Lend A Hand Appeal, but the ground crew still need assistance.

Your support will make a tangible difference as these communities receive little or no government support and coupled with the dire economic predicament are in need of assistance.

Donations over $2 made by Australian residents will receive a tax-deductible receipt.

Appeal Update:

As of May 2021, close to $12K has been raised for our appeal and USD$10K has been distributed between 100 ground staff in Nepal and Peru during the week of 31 May 2021. A massive thank you to those who have generously donated! Where every dollar counts and no administration fees are withheld to raise and allocate the funds, 100% of donations go directly to supporting the ground crew and their families in this great time of need.

Lend A Hand Appeal 2020

Our Lend a Hand appeal in 2020 raised over AUD$41,100 to help our valuable ground crew (read how the World Expeditions Foundation distributed these funds here), however, they still need our help. We kindly ask you to support this important cause by joining our 'Kozi Summit Challenge' to help raise funds for them and their families or by directly making a donation to our Grants 4 Ground Staff Appeal.


Published 26 April 2020. Last updated 8 November 2021.


Canada to reopen its borders with US for non-essential travel

A big hooray for US residents dreaming of their return to international travel, Canada is ready to open its doors from 9 August, while other countries may likely enter from 7 September 2021.

After displaying a 'closed' sign at the border for the last 18 months, Canada's entry restrictions are about to be eased next month, allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents who are currently residing in the United States and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering the country. They will be allowed to enter for non-essential travel and without quarantine.

Here is the full checklist to see if you can travel to Canada*:

 • You must reside in the US
 • Be travelling from the US
 • Be asymptomatic
 • Have a valid pre-arrival molecular test result taken within 72 hours  of your arrival at a land border or your scheduled air departure to Canada.
 • Submit your mandatory information via ArriveCAN, including proof of vaccination
 • Be admissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

You also may be required to take a COVID test on arrival.

On 7 September 2021, provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable, the Government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully vaccinated traveller from other countries.

Entry into the US

Don't forget about returning to the US though. The main thing you need to know is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all air passengers two years of age and over entering the United States (including US citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure​ or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.

Refer to the CDC Proof of Negative Test Result page for further information.

While the reopening of borders doesn't coincide with the full summer season to explore what Canada has to offer, there's still plenty to do if you already meet all the requirements and organise your trip soon.

View all walking and cycling trip ideas in Canada.


*Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada Border Services Agency

Last updated 27 July 2021. Information is accurate at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice. Please check the COVID-19: Entering Canada requirements checklist for the latest updates or changes to Canada's border entry.

Best ways to recover after a long hike or cycle

Most people spend a lot of time training in the lead up to their active holiday to ensure they are able to complete and enjoy their adventure. With the extra activity added to your routine, you're bound to feel some level of ache, pain or strain from your training session – or after completing a day pedalling or hiking on the trail.

Try these helpful recovery tips to help ease any muscle or joint soreness post-exercise and keep your legs strong.

Cooling down

Going from an intense or high activity level back down to zero should not be an abrupt change for your body, the last thing you should do when you finish exercising is to stop completely.

If you hop off your bike, give your legs the time to adjust to the change in the environment by pacing around on foot for a while. If you've finished a hike on the trails, gradually slow your pace and stay on your feet for a bit as opposed to sitting down straight away.

Lake Dunstan Trail, Central Otago |  <i>Ross Mackay</i>

When you are 5-10 minutes from ending your workout or activity, reduce your pace to a lower intensity to transition your body from activity to a resting state.

When beginning any exercise, you would warm up to activate your muscles, so similarly, allowing your body a cooling down period is also important to reduce the risk of cramping, as well as removing lactic acid from your muscles. This is especially important in cooler temperatures when muscle stiffness is much more pronounced.

Don't forget to stretch

After exercising, do gentle stretches for five minutes to allow your muscles to relax into a resting state; stretching restores your muscles to their normal length, aiding in their recovery.

Focus on the muscles used during the day while you’ve been trekking or cycling, such as calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps.

Avoid bouncing in and out of the stretch. Instead, you want to move into the stretch until you feel a mild to moderate tension, and hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds.

Fuel yourself

Long walks and extensive pedalling deplete your energy stores, so it’s important to refuel to replace this energy, repair tissues and supercharge your recovery process.

Take advantage of the 30-45 minute post-exercise window where your body maximises the absorption of protein, water and carbohydrates, and aim to have a nutritious snack while after your training session or in between your long walk or cycle. Include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates such as granola, energy bars or nuts. Your body will thank you for it later.

Rehydrate and replace fluids

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You lose a lot of fluid during a long hike or cycling expedition, so you should be replacing fluid throughout the day.

Drinking 1 ½ cups to 2 ½ cups of water per hour for at least 2 hours after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery as the water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in your body.

Cyclists enjoying a refreshing coconut roadside in Vietnam |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Just remember to reduce your water intake as you get closer to bedtime to limit the number of times you have to get up in the middle of the night.

Rest

If you're training to the lead up to your hiking or cycling adventure, give your body the chance to rest in between the days you are active. This will give the muscles you've been working on time to recover and avoid the risk of injury and strain from prolonged or intense exercises.

This may not necessarily mean doing no activity at all, but can see you switching to less intense activity or exercises which focus on other areas of your body. For instance, if you did cardio one day, the following day you may want to do weight training instead. If you were hiking all day and want to ease the pressure on your joints, you could opt for a short bike ride the next day.

Mental and physical rest is equally important when letting your body recover, so getting in enough sleep will allow you to come back refreshed and feeling even stronger the next day.

Enjoying the view after a day on the trail in western Nepal |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Preparation

While out on the trails warming up and stretching your muscles before you start can do wonders as it prepares your body for the day ahead. But being prepared for your active holiday doesn’t just mean training and ensuring you are fit, you also need to consider a few other things including:

• Ensure your backpack is sized correctly and avoid carrying a backpack that is too heavy for your frame, or that you are not physically fit enough to carry.
• Minimise the risks of sore feet by wearing proper hiking socks and hiking boots that are broken in. Have a read of our guide on ways to avoid getting blisters.
• Use trekking poles to assist your muscles. These can be especially worthwhile on uneven terrain or when you need to rock-hop. You can find more gear tips in this blog post.

Taking these few simple steps can help you to enjoy your walking or cycling adventure and limit the aches and pains.

Foot care tips: How to prevent blisters on a hike

The last thing you need on a long hike or multi-day trek are blisters, but often all it takes is a little preparation to keep your feet stress-free! Here are some helpful ways to make your next outdoor adventure a comfortable one.

Why do I get blisters?

Blisters form when there is too much friction between your foot and your hiking boots. Blisters most commonly appear on your heels or around your toes, but they can appear anywhere on your body if the activity is repetitive enough and creates friction against your skin.

On multi-day treks, blisters can make or break your experience, so to ensure your feet are healthy, comfortable and blister-free, we recommend using the following techniques to prevent and treat forming hot spots.

Top blister prevention tips for happy hiking feet

QUICK SUMMARY: How to avoid getting blisters

Properly fitted and worn in shoes – if they are too tight or too loose they will often cause issues. If your boots are new, make sure you've broken into them long enough.
• Quality socks are essential – many trekkers prefer to wear a liner sock under a heavier hiking sock to wick moisture and keep the foot dry. Try a merino wool or polypropylene liner in cold conditions or a Coolmax liner for warm to hot conditions.
Keep your feet dry – using foot powder with the right sock can really help prevent moisture from gathering.
Lubricate your feet – Body Glide is great for reducing friction. Many runners and walkers use this lubricant on their feet as well as other friction points on their bodies to prevent chafing. 
Blister blocks and second skin – if you have ‘hot spots’ that are prone to blisters, try applying these items prior to your walk. They can also be used for protection and cushioning after a blister has formed.
Wrapping and taping – tape any pressure points or hot spots each day with athletic tape or moleskin. Make sure there are no wrinkles in the tape that might rub.


Your hiking boots

Your hiking boots are the most important tool in preventing blisters – they could make or break your walking holiday! Firstly, make sure your boots are the right size and fit you well – sounds simple, but if you feel your boots pinch your toes together uncomfortably, they may be too small for you and your likelihood of blisters is almost guaranteed.

At the same time, a pair of hiking boots that are too big for you will make your feet move around loosely in the boots, creating unnecessary friction and consequently, increase the likelihood of blisters. Read our blog on how to find the right hiking boots for more helpful tips.

On walking trips make sure you invest in good walking boots |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

A well-fitting pair of hiking boots will leave enough space for your toes, even when descending a steep hill. They will, however, hold your heels securely in place, which will prevent any heel blisters from forming.

Once you have a pair of well-fitting boots, you need to ensure they have been broken in before you start your hike. If not, the stiffness of a new set of boots can create unnecessary pressure on certain parts of your feet and cause blisters. Breaking your hiking boots in slowly will make their sole more flexible and mould the inside of the shoes to your feet, helping create the perfect fit for your foot.

No other piece of equipment can impact your enjoyment of your trek more than your boots, so investing in comfortable trekking boots is highly recommended.

We advise going to a gear shop to be fitted by an expert who will talk you through the range of boots on offer and find the best boot to suit your foot type.

Once you’ve bought your boots make sure you wear them as much as possible! They might feel a bit uncomfortable and stiff at first, but the more you wear them, the more they will mould to your foot shape. Start with short walks and build up to longer ones. It might take some time to wear them in, but it's better you get blisters now rather than on your trip.

Your socks

Now you’ve got your boots sorted, the next thing to look at is your socks.

Hiking socks are usually thicker in certain areas, such as the heel and the ball of the foot, to reduce friction against your skin and provide padding between your trekking boots and your feet.

Avoid cotton socks, as they tend to absorb your sweat and hold the moisture, while the bunched up fabric will rub against your skin and create blisters.

Hiking socks are designed to transport moisture from your foot, through the socks and into the material of your hiking boots. If you have a breathable pair of hiking boots, these will then transport the moisture out of the boot and leave your feet dry and comfortable, with a low risk of blisters.

Wearing two pairs of socks is another way to reduce friction and minimize the likelihood of blisters forming; we recommend very thin synthetic socks closest to your skin with regular hiking socks worn on top. The theory is that the socks will absorb any friction. There are socks specifically designed for this purpose and, if you are susceptible to blisters, it’s worth trying this method.

On the trail

There are a few things you can do to prevent blisters before you start your hiking adventure. If you already know of any problem areas that are likely to form blisters, tape them before you start to reduce friction. If you start feeling any of these hotspots getting uncomfortable, tend to them immediately to prevent blisters from forming. You can do this by taping them with moleskin, bandages, medical leukotape or even duct tape.

Trekker on Buchanan peak with Mount Aspiring behind, walking above Matukituki valley, near Lake Wanaka |  <i>Colin Monteath</i>

Alternatively, if none of these methods are available to you, simply take a break and take your shoes and socks off for a while to let your feet air out and give your feet a well-earned rest. If your feet get wet or sweaty enough to soak your socks, this is a good time to air them out.

Moisture creates more friction and favourable conditions for blisters to form.

When putting your shoes back on, make sure you tie them properly in a way that relieves the hotspots from pressure or friction. Another way of avoiding wet feet is changing your socks regularly throughout the day; your dry, blister-free feet will thank you later.

How to treat blisters

Notify your guides

Our guides are trained on how to best treat blisters to reduce physical discomfort while on a trek. If you feel a blister forming be sure to notify your guides the moment you notice it. Early treatment is best made for a more enjoyable walking adventure.

Treating your blisters yourself

Try to avoid creating any more friction on the affected spot by covering the area with an extra layer between your skin and your boots. You can use normal plasters, gauze or special blister plasters.

If your blister has popped, it's important to protect the blister from infection, so apply a disinfectant cream to the area and cover it with a plaster to prevent dirt and sweat from touching the sore.

Should I pop a blister?

Popping a blister is a controversial topic. Small blisters, which are not painful, should usually not be drained. The intact skin on them protects them best from infection.

How to drain a blister

Draining a blister that is larger and painful can reduce the pain but increase the risk of infection. If you decide to drain a blister, wash the blister and surrounding area thoroughly first. Sterilize your needle with heat or alcohol. Insert the needle near the base of the blister. Dress the blister like any other wound to keep it clean.

Whilst a trek may seem daunting – particularly if it’s your first time, if you take the time to prepare yourself mentally and physically, you’ll be well on your way to being ready to take on the challenge. Following these tips will hopefully help you avoid blisters and make the most of your next walking adventure. Good luck on the trails!

Have tips of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below.
 


Kakadu’s top 6 spots to explore on foot

As one of the most diverse and spectacular wilderness areas in the world, Kakadu National Park seems to have it all – waterfalls, canyons, rivers and canoeing plus rich and strong aboriginal culture. Combined with the huge sense of space and remote walking tracks (with tourists few and far between!), the feeling of having it all to yourself is unmatched.

Known for its unique ecosystem that receives a deluge of rain in the summer months, Kakadu’s billabongs, stone country, floodplains and low ridges are home to a diverse array of animal and plant species.

Marvel at the incredible landscape when hiking in Kakadu |  <i>Rhys Clarke</i> A walk in Kakadu will allow you to explore more of the Top End's hidden gems |  <i>Rhys Clarke</i> Trekking in the savannah of Kakadu |  <i>Rhys Clarke</i>
 

Travellers who explore Kakadu on foot are usually treated to an endless series of pandanus-palm fringed swimming holes, crystal-clear waterfalls and spectacular gorges. And with guides who know the area well, accessing secret places few visitors ever see is one of the reasons why it is so relaxing and easy to forget the worries of the world when you are in the middle of a tropical ‘nowhere’. Here are the top six highlights when spending a week walking in Kakadu National Park.

Time-travel at the Nourlangie ancient rock art sites

Nourlangie is a living museum of art galleries, history and spirituality in Kakadu. Some of the art galleries housed in sheltered caves provide insight into the mythology of the traditional owners. Near to Nourlangie is the Anbangang Gallery, where the famous Lightning Man is painted; this Dreamtime ancestor said to control the violent wet season lightning storms.

With an Aboriginal heritage dating back at least 20,000 years, a visit to these ancient sites offers a unique chanced to discover the history and heritage of the area.

Explore the wildlife-rich Yellow Water Wetlands

A spectacular sunset experienced on the Yellow Waters cruise in Kakadu |  <i>Peter Walton</i>

One of the highlights of Kakadu is a cruise on the Yellow Water billabong, home to an astounding variety of wildlife. Here you may encounter brumbies, wallabies and goannas drinking from the waterside, saltwater crocodiles and thousands of birds including Magpie Geese, Brolgas, Cormorants, Pelicans and Jabiru, Australia’s largest flying bird.

Keep your arms and legs out of the water though, as it’s estimated that there are four crocodiles every 100 square metres!

Experience the famous Jim Jim and Twin Falls

Visit Kakadu’s most famous waterfalls, the Jim Jim and Twin Falls, which during the wet season turn into a roaring waterfall that gushes over towering red escarpments. While these reduce to a trickle in the dry season, the towering cliffs are a spectacle in their own right.

Take a dip at Jim Jim and Twin Falls on day 2

Encircled by 140-million-year-old sandstone cliffs, the Jim Jim Falls has a small sand-fringed plunge pool at the base of the falls. Trek through the monsoon rainforest to reach the falls – a short 900m walk that rewards spectacular views.

The Twin Falls, on the other hand, is a cascade waterfall that has breathtaking views into the gorge below.

Twin Falls waterfall in Kakadu National Park, NT |  <i>Liz Rogan</i>

Walk to the spectacular Gunlom Falls

Kakadu’s most iconic plunge pool and waterfall is renowned far and wide for its natural infinity-edge pool.

Relaxing in the waterhole above Gunlom Waterfall on the Kakadu Walking Adventure |  <i>Rhys Clarke</i>

Made famous by Crocodile Dundee, the emerald green pool and white sandy beach is a show stopper. Add in the most panoramic views of the southern-most parts of Kakadu National Park and you have a perfect spot to relax.

The sunset views from the swimming pool on top of the Gunlom Waterfall are some of the most published images of the NT, thanks to the sweeping views across stone country and woodland to the southern hills and ridges.

Close encounters with some of the Top End's exotic animals

A bird perches on a tree in Kakadu |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i>

Kakadu is home to a diverse array of wildlife, birds and animals that can rival the diversity of a safari trip in Africa! Home to countless mammals and over 2000 plant species, it is a melting pot of extraordinary local wildlife.

The most well-known, of course, is the largest reptile on the planet: the Saltwater Crocodile. This huge, territorial and iconic animal can be found all throughout Kakadu – there are over 10,000 of them in the area! Don’t worry, though, the swimming holes we visit are high on the escarpment, far from the reach of the ‘Salties’!

Salt water crocodile swimming in the Yellow Water Lagoon |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i>

While in the wilderness you can also expect to see flatback turtles, mini quolls, snakes, wild pigs, river sharks and buffaloes; however one of Kakadu’s most iconic creatures is actually a grasshopper! Called the Alyurr, or ‘child of the lightning man” it is a local grasshopper that is brightly coloured in blue and orange.

Walk among lush wilderness

One of our favourite things about Kakadu is that after the wet season rains, we are almost guaranteed a breathtakingly lush walking season from April onwards. With up to 350mm of rain per month falling between January to March, the billabongs, rivers and creeks receive a copious amount of new freshwater, cleansing the earth, refreshing the waterholes and encouraging new growth for plants growing in the plains and wetlands.

 

Often, between April to June, the plains are covered with water lilies and lotus flowers- just in time for the trekking season! The conditions during April to September provides the perfect breeding conditions for the huge populations of brolgas, egrets, black-necked storks, eagles, magpie geese and many more bird species, so timing your visits during these months is ideal for nature lovers!

Experience it yourself
Join the Kakadu Explorer, a six-day walking adventure to Kakadu’s top spots and best kept secrets! This guided walking tour spends evenings at our exclusive semi-permanent campsites to give travellers creature comforts in the remote Top End Wilderness. Find out more >

Travel quiz: How well do you know Canada's best trails?

Test your knowledge about Canada's great outdoors

Canada features an impressive network of trails for hiking and cycling enthusiasts. From the majestic mountains in the West to the colourful Maritime culture of the East, and from the freshwater of the Great Lakes to the unimaginable scale of the vast North, there is no shortage of beauty and wonder awaiting active travellers. But how well do you know about Canada's great outdoors?

Answer these 10 quick questions, and make sure to share with fellow hikers and see how much they know about the trails in Canada.

 

 

How'd you go? Let us know how you rated in our quiz in the comments section and if you know a fun fact, share it below!


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