Tag Archives: Trekking

Origin story: Mount Kilimanjaro summit

From Inspired Adventure’s CEO and founder Justine Curtis first climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2004 to our current figures – presently having over 500 adventurers partaking in this climb – it’s remarkable to see just how far the company has come. Reaching the summit of the world’s highest freestanding mountain, Justine gave herself only 3 months to raise $30,000 and attempt the biggest challenge in her life thus far.

This increasingly popular climb is an incredibly challenging 12-day trek through Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park. Trekking from the rainforests of the East African plains, through five different climatic zones, to the final awe-inspiring glacier at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro 

Our founder Justine Curtis made the decision to climb as part of a management training course intended to forcibly get you  of your comfort zone. She created the immense challenge for herself to raise $30,000 within 12 weeks and with very little training or research to climb the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Raising the funds for a water pump for an orphanage in Zimbabwe. Whilst having being given the opportunity to climb before and rejecting it through fear, fitness and lack of preparation – Justine decided enough was enough and that no matter what she was going to reach the summit.

Our CEO tells a wonderful story of reaching the summit, saying that; “We got to the point where it was dusk, we were above the clouds and there was this tiny little orange dot on the horizon. This pinprick where the sun was going to come up and burst into the sky. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”

Known as the rooftop of Africa; the climb can be completed without ropes or extensive equipment, the adventure is not one for the faint hearted. Justine has said that this climb was the “catalyst for me to create an exciting fundraising agency and share the opportunity with other people”.

Mount Kilimanjaro

As it currently stands Inspired Adventures has a 95% summit success rate which is extraordinary. For people who are of an average fitness level it’s surprisingly very achievable. Through Inspired Adventures the participants have been eclectic, from young teenagers trekking with their parents to the more mature 70s and 80s age range successfully climb it.

Justine tells us that; “The camaraderie is incredible, others empowering you with their commitment and hard work to get you to the top. There’s nothing better than that connection.” 

Interested in participating? See our website for further details.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Best Australian Walking Trails

Covering 7,692,024 million square kilometers, Australia is the world’s 6th largest country – offering trekkers of all experience levels endless opportunity to slip on those trainers and hit the ground to get in those training miles. How lucky are we? From mountains to seaside, Australia offers some amazing opportunities to get your heart pounding, whilst enjoying stunning vistas that are so characteristic of Australia.

New South Wales

Wentworth falls (Blue Mountains)

Bordering metropolitan Sydney, this iconic section of Australia’s Great Dividing Range is one of our favourite weekend getaways for training – an easy train ride from the CBD sees your landscape change from city skyline to mountain hues. The Wentworth Falls area offers trek variations ranging from 30 minutes to 6 hours. The classic Wentworth Falls Loop (6 hours) offers a moderate-challenging trek with LOTS of stairs – no matter which direction you tackle the hike, your legs will feel the inevitable burn that comes with stair training. With sweeping views of the valley, and multiple waterfall stops to encourage you to keep going, this trek is the perfect opportunity to train your leg muscles for those of you who are setting off on step-heavy adventures – Great Wall of China & Machu Picchu trekkers we’re talking to you!

Distance: 10.2km
Time: 6 hours
Track Condition: Steep
Difficulty: Moderate-difficult


Kokoda Memorial Walk (1000 Steps)

With 1000 steps to traverse on this trek, you can experience a tiny sense of the exhaustion felt by the soldiers who battled the Kokoda track in World War 2. This makes it the perfect opportunity to test those knees in preparation for any upcoming adventures that involve steep inclines and declines, especially the Great Wall of China, and the Kokoda track itself!

Distance: 5km
Time: 2 hours
Track Condition: Steep
Difficulty: Moderate

Northern Territory

Litchfield National Park

The beautiful Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park, with cool swimming hole at base. Northern Territory, Australia
An hour and a half drive from Darwin, Litchfield National Park offers a variety of day walks ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours, taking trekkers down winding paths to waterfalls and plunge pools, and back up again to tabletop plateaus and outback views. Most tracks found in Litchfield National Park are very exposed to the elements, and as such provide the perfect opportunity to practice trekking against the elements, especially prolonged cardio in hot conditions. For those of you cycling through SouthEast Asia, this could be the perfect opportunity to practice getting your heart rate up while battling hot and muggy conditions. Try completing a number of the different walking tracks in succession to create a longer workout!

Distance: 1-3.5km
Time: 30mins-2 hours
Track Condition: Steep
Difficulty: Easy-moderate


Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

The iconic image of Tasmania, Cradle Mountain

Tasmania – it’s a hiker’s paradise. It’s hard to pick just one trek, but we have to say Cradle Mountain is definitely up there with our favourites! Rising graciously over Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain boasts many different treks which allow you to challenge yourself whilst taking in the wonders of the ancient rainforest and alpine heathlands, buttongrass and beeches, icy streams and glacial lakes. We’ve narrowed down our recommendations for treks in the area:

  • Marion’s Lookout (3 hours)
  • Crater Lake (3 hours)
  • Dove Lake (2 hours)

And for those of you up to the challenge:

  • Cradle Mountain Summit Bush Walk (5 1/2 hours return)

Distance: Varies
Time: 2 hours-5.5 hours
Track Condition: Steep, rocky
Difficulty: Hard

Western Australia

Eagle’s View Trail, John Forrest National Park

Located in the John Forrest National Park just 30 minutes out of Perth, Eagle’s View Trail offers a moderately challenging loop trail, with some steep gravel sections breaking up the flatter ones, to keep you on your toes.

Distance:  15kms
Time:  6 hours
Track Condition: Steep, rocky
Difficulty:  Moderate


Whitsunday Great Walk

The Whitsunday Great Walk takes you on a 28km journey through Conway State Forest, starting at Brandy Creek, and finishing at Airlie Beach. While designed to be undertaken over 3 days – with camping facilities along the way – you might choose to tackle just one stretch.

South Australia

St. Mary’s Peak, Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges National Park

scene in Flinders Ranges Australia
St. Mary’s Peak is the highest mountain in the Flinders Ranges National Park and the second highest peak in South Australia. Soaring to 1171 metres, St Mary’s peak offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the Flinders Ranges, Wilpena Pound and surrounding plains.

To get to the summit you have two options:

  • Direct route: 14km, 6 hours return
  • Inner trail: 21.2km, 9 hours return

Both trails are challenging, with steep inclines – requiring serious hiking experience. Appropriate footwear is must for this adventure – ankle support please!


Feeling inspired?

  • Keen to tackle an Inspired Adventure’s trekking challenge? See our adventures here.


Mount Kilimanjaro: A Photographic Journey

You’ll never forget the moment you first see it, soaring high above the farmlands of Tanzania, and you’ll never forget that moment when you reach the top. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and hard to describe until you’ve done it.

Following the lesser-travelled Rongai Route, you’ll trek for 7-days through five climatic zones, giving you a chance to acclimatise and make the most of the incredible scenery. You’ll pass through ice fields and alpine meadows – and you’ll see extraordinary wildlife in Tanzania’s rainforests. Our camp sites are pretty special too: you’ll sleep by mountain lakes and in the shadow of glaciers. It’s an incredible opportunity to share an adventure and camaraderie with your co-workers.

Climbing Kilimanjaro will challenge you on every level, but the rewards are immense.


Day 1: Simba Camp


Today’s walk begins in the village of Nale Moru (1,950m). We set off on a small path that winds its way through cornfields before entering pine forest, home to a variety of wildlife. A gradual ascent through amazing forests brings us to the edge of the moorland zone. Tonight is our first night camping on the mountain.

Elevation: 2,600m
Trekking distance: 3-4 hours


Day 2: Kikelewa Camp

day 2

In the morning, we start off on a steep climb to reach ‘Second Cave’ (3,450m). Here we are rewarded with superb views of Kibo and the eastern icefields of the crater rim. After lunch we continue on through the moorland towards Mawenzi peaks, before setting up camp near Kikelewa Caves.

Elevation: 3,800m
Trekking distance: 7-9 hours


Day 3: Mawenzi Tarn

day 3

Today’s walk is shorter than yesterday but involves some steep sections as we climb to Mawenzi Tarn, the only permanent mountain lake on Kilimanjaro. We begin with a short but steep climb through grassy fields that offer stunning views in every direction. We leave the vegetation zone behind us and arrive at our campsite at Mawenzi Tarn, nestled beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi.

Elevation: 4,300m
Trekking distance: 3-4 hours

Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn acclimatisation

day 4

This is our acclimatisation day. To maximise your chances of making it to the summit we will combine some brief walks with plenty of rest.

Elevation: None
Trekking distance: Varied 

Day 5: Kibo Camp

day 5

Today we will trek across the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo, a sparse moon-like landscape scattered with rocks. After arriving at Kibo, Kilimanjaro base camp, we have time to rest in preparation for the final summit ascent.

Elevation: 4,730m
Trekking distance: 4-5 hours

Day 6: Summit day and Horombo Camp

day 6

We wake at midnight and begin our summit trek under the stars, navigating the narrow switchback trail by torchlight. Be prepared for a challenge – the climb to Gilman’s Point is slow-going and the most difficult of the entire journey. From here we continue to the highest point in Africa, Uhuru Peak (5,895m), a three-hour round trip along the crater rim affording views of the crater, ice cliffs, and the plains of East Africa beyond. We will then descend to Kibo for lunch, then commence your trek to your final campsite at Horombo.

Elevation: 5,985m
Trekking distance: 7-9
Descent to Horombo: elevation at 3,720m and another 5-6 hours.

Day 7: National Park, Marangu

day 7

On this final day, we continue our descent through alpine meadows to Mandara Hut before making our way through lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu.

Feeling inspired?

  • Ready to trek Mount Kilimanjaro? Find our available departures here


All the gear but no idea? How to find the right gear for your adventure

Preparing for the challenge of a lifetime can be a daunting prospect with so much to think about from fitness, travel arrangements, vaccinations, insurance to the crucial packing list. Ensuring you have the right equipment can be a bit of a minefield with advice coming from all different directions and in some cases conflicting. To help make the process easier we have devised some simple questions to bear in mind when planning what equipment to buy and pack.

What type of adventure are you going on?

The first thing to consider is the type of adventure you are undertaking and the terrain that is involved. Preparing for a trek is certainly not a case of one shoe fits all; it depends heavily on the type of trek and the individual. It can be tempting to buy lots of specialised equipment but careful research and planning can help to avoid spending money on unnecessary items.

Photo courtesy of our friends at Paddy Pallin
Hiking Boots, Resting on the Mountain Peak

What time of year will you be there?

Will it be the rainy season, dry season, cold, hot, is it at altitude or in the jungle? Preparing for wet weather is always important even if you are trekking in the summer or dry season. Having a rain cover for your backpack and a lightweight rain jacket is a good idea.

Try before you buy!

It might sound simple but making sure clothing and footwear fits well will have a big impact on your experience on the hike. When looking at buying footwear consider the socks you will be wearing. You may need to buy a slightly bigger size than usual. Give yourself time to try clothing and accessories like your daypack and water bladder too.

How much do you want to spend?

Buying the most expensive or well known brand can be tempting but shop around a little, try various brands and styles before making a final decision. This could save you money and there are often good but cheaper alternatives to the premium brands. This is particularly important when making the bigger purchases such as footwear and backpacks.

What is your personal preference?

This is particularly important when considering hiking footwear. Some people prefer to use walking poles, you might have an old injury that requires you to have particular footwear or equipment.

5 top picks for ALL adventures

  • Neck buffer – these can be worn in many different ways such as a headband, scarf or face protector. They are lightweight and will help protect you from both the sun and cold.
  • Good socks – comfortable, breathable fabric will help keep your feet comfortable even after trekking all those miles. Look for a material like wool or thermax that drys quickly. You don’t need a new pair for everyday of trekking you can always use a pair two or three times before washing. Just air them out at the end of each day.
  • Comfortable backpack – Make sure you try lots of variations of backpacks and that you get the right size for you. Consider how much you will need to carry so you can decide on the correct size. Ask an expert to fit the pack correctly for you and always get a back pack with waist straps to take the weight off your shoulders.
  • Sun block – No matter if you are hiking to Everest Base Camp or the El Camino in Spain, being outside all day for multiple days in a row exposes your face to all of the elements. Make sure you are constantly applying sun block on t=your face, and don’t forget your lips!
  • Camera – You will see some of the most breathtaking views and experience some of the most magical moments when you are on your adventure, don’t forget to capture them

One last thing…

Which footwear to choose is often a cause of contention between our adventurers.  Here we compare the two options that offer different benefits.

Hiking boots vs Trail shoes

When you hear the word hike or trek, what footwear automatically springs to mind? Probably big leather hiking boots with ankle support, right? Well nowadays there is far more choice and variation on hiking footwear available out there and it’s worth considering the different options.

Once again you will need to think about your specific hike and the terrain you will be covering in order to make an informed decision.

Trail shoes

Trail shoes are lighter, more flexible and cheaper to buy. They offer fairly good grip underfoot and will dry quicker if they get wet. They are often made from Gore-tex which means they are breathable as well as being waterproof (as long as water doesn’t creep in from above). Sounds good so far but what are the downsides? Trail shoes will not offer support around your ankle which is important when trekking on uneven and rocky terrain. They also leave your ankles exposed to insects and pesky tree roots that always seem to be waiting to trip you up!

Hiking boots

Having a solid boot with sturdy ankle support can help to prevent injuries such as sprained ankles or stubbed toes. They also have excellent grip that will stop you slipping over when it is wet underfoot or when trekking on uneven ground. When trekking at altitude or in colder climates, hiking boots will help to insulate your feet. A decent pair of hiking boots will last you a long time and take you over many miles of trekking terrain. They can however be heavy and stiff causing your legs to ache and they may slow you down. They can also take much longer to dry if they get wet and if you choose a leather pair they tend not to be breathable.

For more advice and tips on all things hiking gear, head down to see our friends at Paddy Pallin. They are experts in outdoor equipment and matching you to the right products for your adventure. And the best bit? When you sign up to an Inspired Adventure you receive 20% off everything in store!


The insider’s guide to the Larapinta Trail

The Larapinta Trail, in Australia’s Northern Territory, beckons with desert expanses, swaths of cloudless sky, and the rippling ridges of the West MacDonnell Ranges. At 223 kilometres long, the trail is one of the longest and most popular walking tracks in Australia. An Inspired Adventure to the Larapinta trail will usually cover four sections of the trail (about 70 kms) over five days of trekking.

Want to know what it’s really like to take on the Larapinta? Inspired Adventures’ Campaign Managers Johanna and Kate recently completed the trek and they have plenty to share about the experience and what it’s really like to sleep in a swag in the middle of the Aussie outback.

What sections did you hike?

– Old Telegraph station to Simpsons Gap. Section 1
– Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam. Section 8
– Serpentine Chalet Dam to Ormiston Gorge. Section 9
– Mount Sonder ascent. Section 12
– Ormiston Pound circuit. Not an official section, more a short scenic add-on

SPA Larapinta Blog Post
Amnesty_Larapinta 2015_Trekking_Ormiston Pound Circuit_8096

What is the most challenging part of the trek?

There are a lot of rocky sections which are challenging. Careful footing and good ankle support are a must! I found trekking poles a huge help for stability and for my knees.

Prepare yourself for a very rocky and uneven terrain. This might put more pressure on your knees than you think so if you are worried, bring a knee strap. I have had 2 knee surgeries, and I was fine, but this is a good thing to bring with you in case your knees start hurting.

Anything you packed others might find useful?

The packing list is pretty extensive. I brought a battery pack to keep my phone charged which was great, but better to switch off if you can! Being in the middle of the outback without battery power or signal is a pretty great excuse to unplug.

Can you use your phone while on the Larapinta trail?

Phone reception is available (only with Telstra) at certain ridges and the summit of Mount Sonder. So if you really want to send a text or check Facebook, you have to keep hiking and reach the top of that ridge! The homestead at Glen Helen also offers free, but not very reliable, internet access.

How did you prepare physically for the trek?

I keep fit throughout the year but increased it in the 2 months before my trek, especially with long hikes at the weekend. Hiking on uneven terrain is great training.

You will need to train and prepare yourself if you’re not used to trekking long distance and consecutive days. Make sure you improve your cardio and endurance. And train in the right shoes! Don’t take old shoes with you – if they are more than 5 years, please take them to an adventure shop and get them checked out. A good idea would be to also bring a pair of trainers as spare shoes in case something happens while you are trekking.

What's the swag situation?

Sleeping in a swag is unbeatable!  You have front row tickets to the most star-studded night sky you will ever see, shooting stars and all. In fact, many people complain about not being able to sleep as the view is too good! The swag itself is really warm and comfortable. Nothing beats unrolling it next to the camp fire and having an authentic outback experience.

(For the uninitiated, a swag a like a super sleeping bag designed to be used alone without a tent. Just you, some zippers and canvas, and the open sky.)

Larapinta Gallery
Oasis / Salvation Army Larapinta Blog

Any surprises from what you expected?

I was surprised at just how rugged and hilly the terrain was! Many people imagine a flat red centre, but the West McDonnell ranges are tall and long. You will mostly be ascending ridges and descending again, rather than a flat trek. It was also very luscious and green after recent rainfall, the wildflowers were beautiful!

What was the most memorable part?

The most memorable part… I have to mention a couple of things here as I can’t just pick one!

Firstly, walking in to camp at night after a whole day of trekking, having a quick ‘baby wipe shower’, and  then sitting down next to the campfire with the team with a nice cup of coffee. These were really great moments and every night we learnt something new about each other.

Secondly, I think it was day three of trekking we had a rocky path between two cliffs where you had to climb and jump across the rocks. It was a never ending trail but it offered some beautiful views. I felt like I was in the Jurassic Park movie!

What are the toilets like? Any hygiene tips?

There is a chemical toilet at camp, which is out in the open surrounded by nature. Such a great view! It’s well away from camp so you do have privacy. Otherwise, it’s a bush toilet. Remember to take keep a zip lock bag for any toilet paper and don’t leave anything behind in this pristine environment.

Baby wipes and hand sanitiser are my major tips for this trek. Considering there’s no showers, and you put on sun screen every day, it’s nice to freshen up a bit after a long day of trekking.

Are there animals?

We came across lots of animals with beautiful birds, wallabies, lizards and insects. Snakes are generally hibernating in winter so it’s rare to see one. Dingos may visit the camps during the night but are harmless, they may steal a shoe though so don’t leave them out!

Any final words of wisdom?

The Larapinta Trail is an amazing experience. Switch off, relax and just go with the flow – schedules don’t matter in the bush!

Feeling inspired?

Check out our upcoming Larapinta adventures and take on the challenge to help out your favourite cause!


Lares Trek vs Inca Trail

Machu Picchu is a site that gathers crowds, with thousands of tourists visiting on a daily basis. Trails wind up towards the mountain peaks over some incredible views of the rugged, ancient landscape. The Inca Trail is the popular tourist route we all know about, but there’s more than one way to get there. One alternative to the Inca Trail is the Lares trek, if you’re hiking Machu Picchu, both these trails offer exciting views and are equally as challenging to get through. Here is your guide to the Lares trek vs Inca Trail.

Lares Trek

Distance: 34 kilometres
Altitude: 4,550 metres

The Lares trek is by no means an “easier” trek compared to the Inca, it has a similar difficulty rating, making it an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail if you want to avoid the crowds. Despite its proximity to Cusco and other touristic spots, the area of Lares features a very traditional way of life. You’ll be taken off the beaten track through the spectacular Lares Valley. On the road less travelled, you have the opportunity to take a step back in time and experience a rural traditional life, as you pass through remote mountain communities.

You’ll likely witness locals carrying goods on horseback, which is the only form of transport in the area. If you’re looking for a more cultural experience, then the Lares trek is an excellent alternative. You will have the opportunity to visit and interact with the Andean communities, share experiences and learn about each other’s lives. This trek offers a real insight into the lives of the people of Cusco.


Lares is characterised by its wide, glacial valleys and Andean moorland. As you descend to lower elevations near the Sacred Valley the area is much greener. As with all treks to Machu Picchu the paths will be rocky, so it is recommended you wear hiking boots to protect your feet and support your ankles. You also need to prepare for the sometimes icy temperatures at night. There will be times where the elevation is higher, and you will often walk up sloped hills, so bear that in mind to avoid any injuries.


This area is much less visited than other treks to Machu Picchu, which means you likely won’t find it very crowded. The Inca Trail is known to get booked out well in advance of its peak season, so it’s great to have this trek as an option.

Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru

Inca Trail

Distance: 45 kilometres
Altitude: 4,200 metres.

Everyone has heard about the Inca Trail, because it is one of the most popular trails to Machu Picchu. However, it is only one part of the huge network of paths winding their way up the mountain.

The actual Inca Trail doesn’t start until day two or three of our adventure, as the original has been restored in most other parts. Day two is a tough day with a steep climb and plenty of steps, but you will be rewarded with stunning views into the valley when you reach the top. The declines can be steep, and hard on the knees. On day three, you’ll climb up and down with a view of the lakes and beautiful ruins below.


The trekking terrain is difficult and challenging you will have to walk very carefully. In the beginning, the terrain is quite flat but will gradually steepen. The terrain on day three is the most different from the other days, with plenty of lush greenery. Otherwise, you can expect rocky, uneven surface on your ascent. We don’t recommend you attempt the Inca Trail if you suffer from vertigo as there are many high spots with narrow walkways.


It can be quite crowded during peak season, and places usually fill quickly. There will be days when you don’t see any people, depending on the season you go, but there may be times when you see other tour groups along the way.

What our team says…


“Walking along the Inca Trail was one of the most majestic things I have ever done, and it made me fall in love with trekking even more.

An old family member of mine did the trek about 5 years ago, and I was so captivated by what she had been through, trekking at a high altitude, and seeing those beautiful ruins and views. She told me it was hard, and that she had to take it very slow, as breathing at that altitude was very tough. I couldn’t really understand what she meant until I actually arrived in Cusco. You step out of the plane and straight away the air is so thin that walking up a set of stairs is ten times harder than back home. However, with two acclimatising days in Cusco, the Inca Trail felt achievable.

Despite going at the busiest time of the year, it never felt overcrowded. You’d definitely come across different groups along the way, but everyone walked in a different pace and to be honest, it was nice to meet other people than just my tour group (which consisted of just me, my dad, and staff). It gave me a chance to talk to them about what they were doing here, if they’ve done any other trails that could go on my bucket list – and a chance for me to rest and breath!

I’m not going to lie; day two on the steep ascend and the peak at 4,200 metres was very long and tough. But once I got to the top, the feeling of what I had just achieved together with my dad was amazing. Overall, I didn’t find the trail too hard as everyday is so different, and you see so much along the way that you forget how hard it actually is.

If I was asked to do this trek again tomorrow – I would go in an instant. That’s how incredible it was.”


“When I decided to tackle the Inca Trail after hearing so many incredible stories, I didn’t really know what to expect apart from a difficult climb and a step back in time.

We departed from Cusco on the morning of the trail in what felt like the middle of the night. Arriving at the start of the trail was very exciting with a real busy buzz of activity from all the porters, trekkers and leaders, and not forgetting a donkey or two. Every turn and step revealed a stunning view or ancient ruin buried on the hillside, it was quite amazing. I had a lovely group of 15 people that came from the USA, UK and Germany. We all helped each other to climb the trail each day with encouraging words and advice.

Every night we gathered in the tent for the most incredible three course meals prepared by our phenomenal porters and chefs. I really don’t know how they carry such huge bags up the mountain especially as they seem to run most of the time! The second day was the most challenging in terms of climbing as there were a lot of steps and it was almost all uphill! But we all made it and cheered each other when we reached the top.

The final day required us to be up and out of our tents by 3am! We then sat in the dark waiting for the gates to open. When they did, it was a mad rush of people trying to get to the top first. After a fast hour and half climb, we made it! Machu Picchu was a marvel with so many nooks and crannies to explore. I loved every minute of this adventure!”

We hope our guide has made the decision a little easier, but your Machu Picchu trek will be amazing no matter how you choose to get there!

Llamas, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru

Feeling inspired?

Check out our calendar for 2017, and find your next adventure!

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Dog and owner sitting on cliff edge

Adventuring with your four-legged friend

Noticing our days, weeks and months were seemingly blurring into one another, we decided to implement family adventure day in our household—a day that we could make memories and enjoy each other’s company in our country’s beautiful wild places.

We decided our first outing would be a trek to the incredible Empress Falls in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

With our bags packed, we all headed for the door, excited for the day ahead. That was until we were met with two sad puppy dog eyes belonging to one very sad puppy dog conveniently situated in front of said door.

It was then that we realised we had forgotten to include a key member of Team Family, our dog.

Having already prepared and planned the day, we set off anyway (sorry buddy!), but promised as we were leaving to do better next time!

It’s well known that owning a dog leads to improved mental health, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and promotes physical activity—making our mistake in not including him all the more obvious.

So you don’t have to endure the same shame, we have compiled a neat list of pet-friendly treks and places to stay around Australia, and some handy hints and tips for your pet adventure.

Dog in field
Black Lab in water

Adventuring with your dog

There are so many benefits to adventuring with your dog. Tanya Lawless of Paws to the Park says, “Adventuring with your dog is a gift for both of you – it provides exercise both physical and mental but more importantly than that, it improves the relationship and bond between you. If your dog had a choice it would be with you all the time, so including your pooch on your adventures is fun for everyone! You will learn lots about each other and the bonus is you will have an extremely happy and tired companion at the end of the day.”

So what are you waiting for? Kick on your kicks, clip on the collar and pack the poop bags. We’re going on an adventure!


Rowland (Bayview) Reserve

Activity: Swimming
Grade: Easy

Bayview is a clear water inlet on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and one of the most popular dog friendly beaches in the region. A beautiful sandy spit jutting out into Pittwater means there are very few waves making this the perfect place for your furry friend to swim. When they’re ready to hit dry land again, you can let them run free with their new pals along the sand and up onto the grass while you enjoy a drink from the coffee cart. Conveniently, there is one-hour free parking adjacent to the park.

Platypus Track – Bidjigal Reserve

Activity: Trekking
Distance: 1.7km
Grade: Easy

Although the entrance is a little hard to find (it begins at the left of the entrance to the sporting ground FYI), the Platypus Track is a beautiful trek, laid with rocks and surrounded by towering, fragrant eucalyptus trees. Located in the Hills District in Sydney’s north west, the serenity of the track will have you both feeling a world away from suburbia. Loch Bruce is the perfect spot to stop for lunch and a refreshing swim, and there is ample grassland to chase the ball.

Abbotts Falls Walking Track – Onley State Forest

Activity: Trekking
Distance: 7.3km
Grade: Hard

Through dry bush and open forest, you and your dog will follow a combination of walking trails and wider tracks as they descend into cool, lush rainforest. As you make your way towards Abbotts Falls, wild flowers will litter the track and the sounds and scents of the Australian bush will fill your senses.

All Aus

Inverloch Dog Beach – Inverloch, VIC

Activity: Swimming
Grade: Easy

This river outlet is a sandy haven for you and your furry friend. The beach initially seems small, but continues around some scrubland to another wide, sandy area lapped by clear, shallow water. A little grass reserve at the western end of the beach is a great place to dry off (thus avoiding the dreaded wet dog in car scenario!), chase a ball, rumble and ruff with other pooches or simply sit, relax and enjoy the view. There are two parking bays nearby with easy access to the beach. TOP TIP: if your pup likes to dig, go at low tide.

King Jarrah Track – Lane Pool Reserve, WA

Activity: Trekking
Distance: 18km
Grade: Difficult

On this five-hour return trek, together you will journey into dense jarrah forest, enjoying exquisite views en route. After you marvel at the King Jarrah—a  250 year old jarrah tree—your pup will love weaving between the trees, sniffing and smelling as you make your way to the old railway bridge across Dawn Creek. Although usually a day trek, for those wishing to take their time there is a small campsite near Big Brook where you and your best buddy can enjoy a night under the stars.

Honeyeater Track, Brisbane, QLD

Activity: Trekking
Distance: 5km
Grade: Intermediate

This track to the top of Mount Coot-tha can be a cardio-pumping climb or a leisurely ascent, depending on your mood and your dog’s level of enthusiasm. At the summit, you are rewarded with stunning 270º views from the Boonah hills, across the city, to the dunes of Moreton and Bribie Islands. With waterfalls and wildlife, this is the perfect urban escape.

Things to consider...

We are a nation of dog lovers. From dog-friendly beaches to trekking trails and campsites, we know how to enjoy the great outdoors with man’s best friend.

In saying that, the wellbeing of your dog is your responsibility. Adventuring with your dog requires planning and organisation, and it is important that you assess each adventure prior to setting off.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous wildlife. Fleas and ticks can lead to big problems for your furry friend. Before you head off on an adventure, be sure your dog is up-to-date with vaccinations and prevention treatments, and educate yourself on high risk areas. Additionally snakes and other poisonous animals, sharks, crocs, kangaroos, dingoes and feral dogs can all pose a serious threat to your dog.
  • To continue to enjoy our wild places with our best friend, we must ensure we protect them now. It is your responsibility to minimise your dog’s impact on our wild places. Stick to the marked track and ensure your dog is always on-leash (unless in an off-leash area).
  • Be sure to monitor the impact of physical activity, the terrain and the weather on your dog. If you’ve worked up a thirst, chances are your furry friend has too. Because dogs absorb heat through their paws which softens them, they are often more susceptible to cuts and scratches if trekking over rocky terrain or swimming in shelly beaches. If it’s cold, consider a lightweight jacket.
Jack Russell running along beach
Dogs playing with stick in waves

What to pack


  • Poop bags (mandatory)
  • Fresh water
  • Lead and collar
  • Ball and floating water toys
  • Towels (one to dry off and one to cover the car seat)
  • Treats
  • Pet First Aid kit
  • Collapsible dog bowl


  • Poop bags (mandatory)
  • Fresh water
  • Lead and collar
  • Brush (to check for fleas and ticks)
  • Towel
  • Treats
  • Pet First Aid kit
  • Collapsible dog bowl


  • Bed and blanket (We know you’d prefer to be bunk buddies, but if your pooch is a snorer, consider a soft crate)
  • Poop bags (mandatory)
  • Fresh water
  • Lead and collar (consider a flashing collar for night)
  • Brush (to check for fleas and ticks)
  • Towel
  • Treats
  • Ball and toys
  • Pet First Aid kit
  • Collapsible dog bowl and non-spill bowl for travelling

Related articles:

Feeling inspired?

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Annapurna vs. Everest Base Camp – which one is right for you?

So you’ve decided you want to visit Nepal. Tick. You want to take on a life-changing trek. Tick. You want a challenge but also awe-inspiring scenery. Tick. You want amazing food, local culture and history. Double tick. Do you trek the Annapurna or Everest Base Camp (EBC) trail? Error: answer unknown.

Fear not inspired adventurers! We’re here to rescue you with our guide to choosing which trail is right for you. The main thing to take away from this guide? Both trails are absolutely stunning and your life will be irrevocably changed no matter what you decide.

Are you ready? Let’s get to it!

How easy is it to get to?


If planes and runways aren’t your thing, this factor alone might make your decision that much easier. The only way to get there? A spectacular (albeit tinsy bit scary) flight to the tiny airstrip of Lukla. The mountain views are incredible … just don’t look down.


To get to the Annapurna region is easy. You can either choose to travel by bus or via a short flight from Kathmandu (no tiny airstrips required – winning!) to Pokhara, the gateway to Annapurna.

Ghandruk village in the Annapurna region, Nepal, HDR photography
Annapurna mountain, Annapurna conservation area, Himalaya, Nepal

What's the trekking terrain like and how difficult is it?

In short, the EBC trek is definitely more of a challenge than the Annapurna circuit. Why? The biggest factor is altitude. By day 2 on the EBC trek, you are at 3,420 feet above sea level. You reach this altitude on day 6 on the Annapurna circuit. Trekking is much harder at higher altitude because the density of the air decreases, which means less oxygen is available.

There are also a bunch of ascents on the EBC trek, whereas the Annapurna circuit sees you trekking on flatter stretches that don’t leave you gasping for breath. However in saying that, what goes up must come down and on the EBC trek, you come back down the way you came. On the Annapurna circuit, you start and finish in two different places which potentially means more variety in terrain and scenery.

Sunrise in Himalaya mountains, view from Sarangkot, Nepal
view of everest from gokyo ri with prayer flags - Nepal

What's your scene?


For incredible mountain vistas where you pinch yourself because you can’t believe the views are real, you can’t go past trekking to EBC. And, if you’re hiking in the dry seasons (the best time to hike), it’s possible you will catch a glimpse of the mighty Mount Everest on your second or third day of your trek. On the Everest trek, your days are spent at higher altitudes and therefore you are constantly surrounded by massive glacial mountains for most of the trek.


On the Annapurna circuit, the scenery is certainly much greener and more varied as you trek from emerald rice terraces to a high glacial pass and on to the arid landscape of the Tibetan plateau. Basically, if it’s huge, imposing and stunning mountains you’re after … the Everest trek is the one for you, but you’ll pay for it with aching thighs and calves. But if you’re after something a little flatter, greener and lush, consider the Annapurna circuit.

Everest_Caravan Yak going to Everest - Periche_shutterstock_100122554
Annapurna South from Trek near Jhinu Danda_shutterstock_88868551

The extras: communities, accommodation, food and price

The culture

As you trek to Everest Base Camp you can certainly feel an unwavering pull of spirituality. Tibetan traders often visit the village of Namche Bazaar, as they’ve done for centuries. The Annapurna circuit will take you through various rural settlements where small farming communities reside. Whilst religion is still present here, there is more of a ‘local’ flavour than what you’ll find trekking to EBC.


Accommodation is pretty similar along both trails, however, the biggest difference is the bathrooms. Lodges on the Everest route more often than not contain a shared indoor bathroom, whereas on the Annapurna circuit you’re looking at pitch-black bathroom trips into the woods. Western toilets are the norm on the Everest Base Camp trek, while you might only come across one or two on the Annapurna circuit.

Annapurna, Nepal
Everest region, Nepal


There also isn’t much of a difference between the food you eat on either treks. However, you’re more likely to get more veggies on the Annapurna circuit.


There are a few reasons why the EBC trek costs more than Annapurna. 1) Higher elevations 2) It’s a bit more “luxurious” (well, as luxurious as you can get on a mountain) and 3) Everest just has a bigger brand name. Everything about Annapurna is more affordable, including food and transportation to and from the starting point.

The crowds

It really depends on the season but as a general rule of thumb, the EBC trek is usually much more crowded and large groups are common. The Annapurna circuit generally features hikers in pairs or small groups and is not nearly as busy.

So there you have it! Hopefully our guide has made it a little bit easier to decide which trek you should choose but as we said, no matter what, a trip to Nepal will be life-changing in so many ways and you can’t go wrong with either trek. Good luck!

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Larapinta in Pics: A Real Aussie Adventure

The Larapinta Trail is regarded as one of Australia’s premier walking tracks. From the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to the peak of Mount Sonder, the trail stretches 223 kilometres along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges.

You will stand on ancient escarpments and gaze out upon the ochre-coloured landscapes of Central Australia, and follow Aboriginal Dreaming tracks and trek beside one of the world’s oldest river systems.

By day, you will experience the diversity of desert habitats and learn the unique history of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. At night, you will fall asleep to the sounds of native wildlife under a blanket of stars.

Day 1: Alice Springs


Welcome to Alice Springs! On our first day in the Aussie Outback, we have the opportunity to explore this ruggedly beautiful town and get familiar with our surroundings.

Day 2: Simpsons Gap


From the outskirts of Alice Springs, we trek to Simpsons Gap, taking in the sweeping views of Alice Springs and the West MacDonnell Ranges from Euro Ridge. From Simpsons Gap, we transfer by private vehicle to our remote campsite on the Hugh River. Here, the true experience begins as we rest in a region synonymous with the dreamtime (Alcheringa) of the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people.

 Trekking distance: 20km

Day 3: Serpentine Gorge – Serpentine Chalet Dam


This morning we transfer to the western section of the Larapinta Trail. Today’s trek is more challenging, however we are continuously rewarded with spectacular views of the high quartzite ridgelines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges, including Haasts Bluff and Mount Zeil, the highest point in the Northern Territory.

Trekking distance: 13.4km

Day 4: Ormiston Gorge – Glen Helen

day 4

Today we traverse the low-lying regions surrounding Ormiston Gorge, gradually winding through rolling limestone hills towards the back reaches of the Finke River—one of the world’s oldest river systems. With majestic scenery from start to finish, this area is steeped in traditional folklore. As we trek, we are rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Sonder in the distance.

Trekking distance: 9.9km

Day 5: Mount Sonder


Today we transfer from camp to Redbank Gorge at the base of Mount Sonder (1,380m). The climb to the summit is arduous along a rocky and loose path. However, once again, our efforts are rewarded with incredible 360° views of the ranges, plains, valleys and salt lakes below. Take time to catch your breath and bask in the grandeur of the desert landscape.

 Trekking Distance: 15.8km

Day 6: Ormiston Pound Circuit – Alice Springs


Today trek the Ormiston Pound circuit. Punctuating the West MacDonnell Ranges, this circuit is regarded as one of the best small walks of the Larapinta Trail and offers sensational views of the Chewings Range and Mount Giles. Although relatively short, the trek is quite challenging and takes approximately four hours to complete. Setting off, the trail winds around low peaks before descending into the ‘pound’, a flat area enclosed by a ring of mountains.

 Trekking distance: 5km

Photos courtesy of Theresa Lord

Feeling inspired?

  • Ready to trek the Larapinta Trail? See our departures here


These boots are made for trekking…

It is every trekker’s worst nightmare. You’ve prepared for an adventure, endured the blisters of breaking in your trekking boots and packed your spare laces, then halfway through your trek your boots decide they’ve had enough… Before you take off, it’s essential to look for signs that your trusted trekking boots may not be up for the journey.

With this simple guide, your feet will stay snug and comfortable, so you can focus on enjoying your adventure of a lifetime.

First and foremost, you must check all the seams, stitching and shoelace eyelets of your boots for excessive wear and tear. If your boots are buckling under the strain of training, it is likely they will not stand up to your adventure. Next, inspect the area where the sole bonds to the upper material. If you can see gaps or places where the glue has started to deteriorate, you must have this professionally mended or face having soggy feet for the majority of your adventure.

Whether you’ve had your boots for 10 years or 10 minutes, how you care for them primarily determines how well they will hold up as you take on the world. So how can you extend the life of your boots? Chris Mein from Paddy Pallin shares his best tips.

Keep them clean Clean your boots thoroughly after every trek. Dirt and grime that settle in the material can act as abrasives. Chemicals in soil, such as fertilisers and salt, can also pose a serious threat to the rubber, glue and leather of your boots.

Keep them dry When drying your trekking boots, avoid extreme heat. Instead of drying your boots next to a fire or a heater, stuff them with newspaper and let them air dry. When storing your boots, ensure they are in a dry place, away from direct sunlight.

Keep them Conditioned Boot conditioners work a treat on full grain leather boots. Apply the conditioner after a long trek and before setting off on a new adventure.

Don’t forget, as an Inspired Adventurer, you receive a 15% discount at Paddy Pallin when you have your boots professionally fitted by one of their footwear staff.

Feeling Inspired? Try out your boots on one of our treks