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Why Spontaneity Isn’t Always the Best Approach to Adventure

Are you more of a last-minute adventurer or do you need a long-term plan to fit in all your adventures? I speak to all kinds of people and there’s a massive range out there, from those who need to know about a short hike weeks in advance, to people who book a weekend of adventure on a Thursday! Whether you want your next hiking adventure to last a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks, you may want to start thinking about planning your next hiking adventure in advance. Here’s why:

For some of you, I’m sure it’s nice to hear that you should plan your next hiking adventure in advance; it’s already in your nature! For others who love a last minute adventure, the idea of planning ahead may seem unnecessary or a bit stressful even. I know you must be interested in why planning can be so vital. Note that I said it CAN be vital, not that it is always vital. Adventures are always special either way and sometimes overthinking it can put you off just doing it – we wouldn’t want that! However, when there are more logistics to consider, it can be helpful to get into a bit of planning.

As you probably know from the wide range of adventure tours on our calendar, many people love turning a traditional day of hiking into a full-fledged adventure holiday. But even at the level of an overnight camp at a national park, it is important that you make your reservations in advance, especially considering the season. During the summer months, you will find that camping and hiking are popular activities and many hiking parks quickly fill up with camping reservations. Maybe that could be a fun bonus of adventuring in Winter, though!

Do I like the beach, forest, or mountains?

How do I cope with challenging inclines? (Remember: you can do more than you think!)

Do I like waterfalls, creeks, and rivers?

How much time do I have available?

Am I looking for a big challenge or something more low-key?

No matter where you live, you likely have a number of hiking parks or hiking trails to choose from, often within a reasonable distance away from your home. These questions can just help you do a bit of research and filter through some hikes you may not have considered before.

Another one of the many reasons why you should think about planning your adventures in advance is because it will be easier to prepare the gear for your trip.  When you go hiking, whether for a day or a week, you need to bring numerous pieces of hiking gear with you. For instance, you want to have appropriate clothing, adequate food and water, and will need to consider bigger gear like a sleeping bag or tent on longer adventures. Making your hiking adventure plans in advance will give you the opportunity to create a hiking gear and supplies checklist for yourself. A checklist helps to ensure that you bring everything that you need and any little personal extras you want with you. If you come on a TSA hike, we can help you out with appropriate bigger gear and good trail food, but it can be worth considering what clothes you feel most comfortable in or how much water you can expect to drink ahead of time.

Here’s a fun comparison for you that I’ve taken from actual hiking experiences of mine. I’ve done plenty of day hikes in my day and can usually complete these without much planning. I just show up to the trailhead in some comfortable clothes, water, snacks, and a friend and I’ve had a great day every time. This was all in preparation for completing half of the Larapinta trail in the Northern Territory. The group I went with spent ages carefully planning each stage, finding our ideal gear, and booking into various campsites to make sure we could secure spots during the peak season. From memory, we booked this trip more than six months in advance and our gear was packed at least a few weeks in advance (although some of us were first timers and so were maybe a little nervous!). After all this planning, this trip was incredible and one of the best experiences in my life.

I may have gotten a little cocky after that, because I planned to go to the Grampians for a simple overnight hike a few months later and, between all my usual life stuff, I didn’t pack until the night before! I quickly looked up the weather, decided the clothes I had were enough, and hit the road. I was prepared for the heat and sun during the day with a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water, but I was severely underprepared for the cold of the night – especially considering we had gained so much elevation. I’m honestly not sure if I slept at all that night, I just remember being very cold in my flimsy trackies and jumper and sleeping bag that absolutely did not have the adequate temperature rating! That trip definitely taught me the importance of planning.

As for the actual hiking part, planning your next hiking adventure in advance will give you the time to research and choose from a number of different hiking trails. Unfortunately, a large number of hikers, especially first time hikers, make the mistake of going with the first hiking trail or hiking park that they come across. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily; more often than not, people can grow to adapt and overcome a challenging trail but it’s not always about difficulty! You have a ton of different options, especially around Victoria and Australia. Think about a few of these questions…

If possible, you might want to familiarise yourself with the park or trail in question. This is nice because you can learn more about the territory in which you will be hiking. This can help you examine the difficulty level or estimate the amount of time that you could expect to spend hiking. This information is always nice to know, especially in the event of an emergency. However, this can be tricky to do if you’re travelling interstate or overseas, and probably isn’t necessary for just a day hike. Another way to think about it is by exploring similar areas to wherever you’re going. For instance, if you’re planning a beach adventure, try some similar length beach hikes to see how you walk on sand. If you’re going to be climbing mountains, get out there and climb a mountain that has similar elevation gain! All of this will help you gauge how you will go on the real thing.

In addition, the earlier that you plan your adventure, the more time you have to prepare an itinerary for yourself. For instance, are you planning on camping onsite or would you like to travel to a nearby hotel or resort? An itinerary not only serves as a guide for you, but it is also something that can help to keep you safe. If you’re going somewhere alone or in a small group, you can give a copy of your itinerary to some of your friends and family members. In the event that something goes wrong on your next hiking adventure, your friends and family members can then know where to find you based on the itinerary.

So unless your decision to go on an adventure is a last minute one, you most likely want to try and plan your trip in advance. Those who take the time to fully plan for and prepare for their hikes are more likely to enjoy themselves, as I found on a few of my adventures! 

If you’re looking for an adventure, then check out our calendar to explore some trips to plan for! Or you can always send us an email at to ask about a recommendation.


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