Tag Archives: Trekking

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The beautiful Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park, with cool swimming hole at base. Northern Territory, Australia

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

Victoria

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

Tasmania

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

Queensland

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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7 essential travel gadgets

Your adventure is planned; now you have access to that very exciting travel accessory aisle.

The latest travel gadgets are designed to enhance your travel experience so you can get the most from your adventure. However, with so many fad gadgets out there, sometimes it’s hard to keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest technologies.

We simplify the purchasing process by bringing you the best products to invest in…

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LED head torch/hand-held torch

For camping and trekking adventures, an LED head torch is the most battery efficient light. It helps you navigate the campsite and repack for the next day. For other travel destinations take an LED hand-held torch for dimly lit streets and alleyways.

Waterproof, shockproof camera

Chances are you will drop your camera as you trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro or the while navigating the bustling streets of Phnom Penh. To make sure you don’t miss out on magic happy snaps, take a waterproof, shockproof camera such as the Panasonic Lumix.

You can also invest in heavy-duty iPhone cases to make sure your camera phone lasts the distance and creates those perfect Instagram travel shots!

Battery pack/solar powered battery pack

When we travel often our phones are our only means to navigate, translate and communicate. When your phone is on 20% battery and you know you have to fit in more hours of site-seeing and exploration, panic ensues. Why not take a battery pack to recharge your phone during the day! You can find packs such as the Mophie battery pack, or a solar powered pack to get it (and you) back to 100%!

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Packing cells and dry-bag liners

Travel packing requires organisation. Packing cells are designed to fit nicely into a suitcase or trekking pack. You can segment your gear, such as your underwear in one and your toiletries in another. You can find these cells in any adventure store or IKEA.

A dry-bag liner is perfect for protecting your clothes from moisture. You can use these bags to ensure that rain doesn’t seep in. They are also brilliant for keeping your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes.

Biodegradable laundry wash and portable clothesline

Every adventurer understands that you can’t bring your whole wardrobe along in your pack (much to our dismay). If you have access to clean water, why not take advantage of biodegradable laundry wash and an easy-to-pack clothesline. You can wash in the morning and adventure in the day, if you are returning to that site. Or at night you can get your washing sorted and prepared for the next day.

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Coffee whenever and wherever (this is not a fun gadget; it’s an essential gadget)

Experienced travellers know that good coffee can be hard to come by. But fear not because Grower’s Cup has a fair trade solution for when those caffeine-craving moments arise on your adventure. Simply open the satchel, fill with boiling water and pour into a nearby mug! Heaven.

The selfie stick or GoPole

Selfie sticks are the new tripod (whether we like it or not). Photos have less arm and more scenery, people fit within the camera’s parameters and giggles are shared with mutual stick owners. Just think how fondly you will look back on your epic images in years to come. For our more ambitious photographers, the GoPole will help you capture those glorious images and videos!

Feeling inspired?

Read more articles on preparing for your next adventure or visit the Inspired Adventures Calendar to find a charity challenge perfect for you.

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The right tools for the job: preparing for your trek

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.”

These are the very wise words of Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher and intellectual (so we best not doubt him). Although it’s unlikely he was referring to taking on an Inspired Adventure, his words reinforce the importance of ensuring we have the right tools (equipment) for any job (adventure).

So with 20 trekking adventures taking off between now and the end of the year, we thought we’d take the opportunity to remind you of just how important it is to have the correct gear, focussing on the ‘top three of trekking’: boots, trekking poles and hydration. Continue reading

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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Destination in profile: Dharamsala

This month, Inspired Adventures would like to take you on a journey to Dharamsala, India. This little town in northern India has become a bustling hub for a Tibetan community who have settled here and life revolves around the spiritual teachings of its most famous resident – His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

We take you to Dharamsala this month because Tibetan New Year is just around the corner and more importantly, because this is ultimately where Inspired Adventures was born.

The impetus to launch Inspired Adventures came about after a chance meeting with a Tibetan monk who had suffered many human rights abuses. Justine Curtis, Inspired Adventures’ Director, met Palden Gyatso when he was living in exile in Dharamsala.

Palden Gyatso’s story was moving and his determination, resolve and simplicity invoked an epiphany within Justine that could not be ignored. From that chance meeting, Inspired Adventures grew. It made sense that our first ever charity challenge was the Trek for Tibet in November 2005 to support the work of the Australia Tibet Council. This first trip saw 20 passionate people take up the call to raise funds and trek the Indian Himalayas. Today, Inspired Adventures continues to offer trips to this amazing destination that invokes spiritual feelings and creates cherished memories.

The town and its people

The word Dharamsala is a Hindi word that is difficult to translate directly into English. A loose translation means ‘spiritual dwelling’ or ‘sanctuary’. The indigenous people of the area are the Gaddis, a predominantly Hindu group. Due to their nomadic nature and lack of permanent settlements, the Gaddis lost a significant amount of their land when the British and Gurkhas arrived to settle.

The Tibetan settlement in Dharamsala commenced when the Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 and the Prime Minister of India allowed him and those who followed him to settle in McLeod Ganj (Upper Dharamsala). In 1960, a ‘Tibetan-Government-in-Exile’ was established and since then many institutions have evolved to protect precious religious, cultural and historical documents from Tibet. Today, McLeod Ganj has become known as ‘Little Lhasa’ (after the capital of Tibet) and many thousands of Tibetans call it home. Brightly coloured flags featuring a striking snow lion in the centre are ubiquitous. This is the Tibetan national flag, which flies freely in exile but is outlawed in Tibet.

Dharamsala has also become a thriving tourist destination for spiritual seekers, human rights activists, volunteers and genuine travellers keen to absorb the vibrant atmosphere and enjoy some scenic treks in the Kangra Valley.

For food lovers, Dharamsala is a-dream-come true. Not only can you treat yourself to tasty Indian curries, you can tantalise your tastebuds with the delights of Tibetan and Nepalese food. Momos (dumplings) are very suitable to the western palate and are available in abundance at street stalls and in restaurants. Thukpa is a rich soup popular in Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Of course any dish must be washed down with a chai tea, a lassi, Tibetan butter tea or even a local beer.

For history and culture buffs, no trip to Dharamsala is complete without a visit to the Norbulingka Institute. The main building is shaped like the Dalai Lama’s traditional summer residence in Tibet. The purpose of the Institute is to preserve and protect Tibetan language and its rich cultural heritage.

The Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) is often the highlight of any visit to this region. TCV takes care of and educates orphans and refugee children from Tibet. It is now part of a network that has spread across India and cares for over 12,000 children.

The trekking

Dharamsala is the starting point for many treks into the surrounding mountains and in particular, over the Dhauladhar range and through the Kangra Valley.

A typical Inspired Adventures trek takes you on a five-day journey into the mountains and villages beyond Dharamsala. Starting with a 14km trek to the picturesque Kareri Village, the trek continues through mixed forests of oak, rhododendron and pine on to Triund, an alpine meadow located on the top of a high ridge. From here, the views are second-to-none: the perpetually snow-capped Dhauladhar peak on one side and the Kangra Valley on the other. Day four takes you to a shepherd camp at Laka Got, situated at the snout of a glacier. Caves and pastures dot the mountain creating a dynamic layered landscape unique to this area. The last day of the trek offers epic views of the valley below and the peaks above as you descend down a grassy ridge to the village of Bhagsu Nag where a vehicle awaits to take you back to Dharamsala for a celebratory dinner.

Upcoming trekking trips to Dharamsala

‘Trek for the rights of women and girls’ 15-28 September 2012:

Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of Dharamsala, trek the Himalayas and learn about the root causes of poverty through the work of UnitingWorld. You will have the opportunity to visit project sites and while raising vital funds to support projects that empower women, girls and communities.

Journey for Genes – Trek to the home of the Dalai Lama 3-15 November 2012:

Support the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI)’s vital work in researching, treating and preventing childhood illness. You will visit Dharamsala and trek the Indian Himalayas as well as visit dynamic Delhi.

Read more trip stories from India or visit the Inspired Adventures Calendar and find a Charity Challenge perfect for you.