Snapshot: Super easy ways you can have a trip which combines minimal impact with maximum enjoyment!
Wilderness crunches under your footsteps. The path narrows, disappears under branches, and tests your skills in the heat. You’re keeping to a barely existent path whilst avoiding vines coated in serious barbs – those type that’ll simply tear your clothing to shreds. The air’s dense, locked beneath a deep green canopy of sub tropical rainforest. You hear your feet stepping, heavy breathing, and the thud of you beating pulse pounding in your ears.
You pause, to catch a breathe and wait for the team to make some ground.
Sudden movement, somewhere in you peripherals. It takes a moment, until you realise you’re eye to eye with a owl who looks just as surprised as you are for a few glances. It’s a rapid stare off, before it silently slides off into the depths of the darkness. Five minutes later down the trail, a lengthy goanna creeps out from behind a massive buttress root.
It’s real wild this place. A trail not often taken. Alone, and surrounded by life.
There’s a tiny clearing between a few eucalypts and grass-trees that looks out over rarely penetrated forest. You pull up at the highest point, and drink in the view with half-full bottle in hand.
How many small actions would it take to put an end to this scene?
Our natural areas are a public asset to be protected. Our national parks – covering land and water – can be the most special spaces on earth, but only if we treat them with the respect and foresight they require.
Having a few simple tricks up your sleeve to lessen your footprint is an awesome way you can help put an end to places being ‘loved to death’.
Walk it in, walk it out
If it’s in your pack to begin with, then it’s there for the trip home. Waste you carry around can be minimised by taking food and items free of plastic wrapping, instead wrapped in paper, and by taking your reusable containers (ie. your own drink bottle). Over time, you’ll know what not to take, and become an expert at low-weight hiking packs!
Tip: Visit a zero-waste food store for packing ideas and foodstuffs before your trip!
Sticking to the track
It can be tempting. So very tempting, to search for another view, that other angle, to get somewhere ‘wilder’ and ‘off track’. Chances are, if you’ve thought of it, someone else has too.
But you can’t see everything and you never know what’s under that leaf litter – walking off track could easily disturb minute creatures and plants that are rare, endangered, and potentially dangerous. Likewise you could cause irreversible damage to areas of cultural significance.
Animal, meets human
Wildlife’s the best. Frequently, if not always, your favourite/most exhilarating highlight of a trip is an interaction of some kind with an animal. Be it a snake sunning itself on the path, a pair of kangaroos boxing, a whale crashing down off on the horizon – the story told ‘back home’ is always “and we saw a (insert animal here), it was awesome!”
That’s special, and there’s a few ways to ensure we keep these special interactions awesome for you and the creature. Be selfish, keep your food and food scraps for yourself – wildlife can either become dependant on humans for food, or very sick from what they’re fed.
If the animal is heading off into the bush from you, it’s probably for a reason hey?! Enjoy it from a distance and please don’t touch/trap them.
Tip: Have a camera in tow to capture those animal sightings. You’ll have the moment forever, and the animal won’t even know it.
By the Firelight
Setting up camp in the bush around a crackling fire is one of life’s most simple pleasures. An experience to be relished. There’s nothing like staring into the flames, passing ’round conversation or a guitar, and forgetting time until the small hours of the cool morning.
In parts, Australia burns like crazy, with exploding oil in eucalyptus leaves that can fill the sky with the densely Australian smell of the burning bush. So be fire smart! When prepping a fire – know if its cool to have one. Is it a Total Fire Ban in your area? Is there a fire pit? Can you pack in your own wood, rather that using native vegetation?
Most importantly: Make sure your fire’s out 100% before trekking off! Only if it’s cool to touch, is it cool to leave!
With great memories comes great responsibilities. After all, we don’t want our favourite places to be ruined for us later in life, or for any generations to come..
We hope some of these tips have helped. If you’re planning a trip, download our ‘Making Tracks: What you’ll need to bring’ packing list to start!