Article from On The Road Magazine
Australia is an extraordinary country that we are lucky to call home. The largest island and smallest continent on the planet, it so enthrals, educates, amazes and amuses that some of us can’t get enough of it. We travel countless kilometres a year by road and air (nothing beats a window seat view of the dot painting unrolling below); and kilometres more exploring the mountains, gorges, precipitous cliffs, and other treasures accessible only on foot.
Venturing beyond the reach of even the toughest 4WD can lead to unforgettable experiences of Australia’s rich and complex human history, fantastic geology, and unusual and unique flora and fauna. Bushwalking is also a great way to stretch drive-weary legs; and an excuse for indulging in regional produce or more ubiquitous delicacies such as chocolate and jelly snakes.
Australia’s thousands of kilometres of bushwalking tracks provide a myriad of opportunities for hikers of all abilities and degrees of experience to relax or test ourselves.
For me, not having to don Lycra and workout in an air-conditioned gym to electro music is one of many joys of bushwalking. Others include breathing air perfumed with ozone, flowers and rainforest humus, examining tiny fungi and hugging gargantuan trees, and listening to symphonies of wind, water and wildlife. What’s not to love about watching a wedge-tailed eagle soar over a sandstone massif and red-browed finches drink from a desert puddle? Or standing among the outstretched limbs of a thousand-year-old Antarctic beech tree dripping with rain? Or waking to a morning sky so big you can see Earth’s curvature and realising how inconsequential we are?