Explore the great outdoors - Diabetes WA
 In Blog, Lifestyle

Whether you’re a fitness junkie, a keen hiker or simply looking to socialise while building up your fitness, hiking can be a great way to move your body and enjoy the stunning scenery Perth has to offer.

If the idea of trekking up a rocky incline makes you break out in a sweat, it may be comforting to know that, these days, hiking is open to all ages and fitness levels, and is no longer restricted to the fitness elite.

According to Kate Gibson, a personal trainer and events manager who founded the hugely popular guided hike tour company, The Hike Collective, Perth has an abundance of scenic, enjoyable hiking trails that are ideal for beginners, particularly those who are unsure whether they’re capable of tackling a hike on their own.

“About 80 per cent of our market is beginners, so we target a lot of people who have never ever done exercise before,” she says.

While Kate has always led an active lifestyle, it wasn’t until 2017 that she came to the realisation that, when it
came to guided hikes for beginners, there was a huge gap in the market.

“I used to just hike for my own fitness and mental health outside of the gym where I was coaching people and I was just finding that my clients were getting stuck in that mentality of not being able to do anything unless they were in a session with me, and they didn’t feel empowered to get out and do anything,” Kate explains.

“So I started a hike once a month just for my community to come along, bring a gold coin donation and raise money for Beyond Blue because of its attachment to mental health.”

What started out as a small, monthly community hike with a handful of clients grew into a group of more than 80 within six months.

This is when Kate realised the incredible potential of an ecotourism business that not only tapped into the beautiful scenery on offer across Perth’s endless hike trails, but also tapped into the benefits of walking for the mind, body and soul.

“It’s a form of movement that you’re not having to think about because you get to talk to someone the whole time, and all of a sudden there is a bit of a hill, then it’s flat, and then you get a view, it’s so rewarding and varied and diverse. So you can get a bit more movement in and feel the mental health benefits,” she says.

Each tour is guided by two experienced hike leaders, one who stays at the front of the group, and the other who stays at the back of the group to ensure no one is left behind.

“Our motto is ‘your pace is the perfect pace’, so we always have two hike leaders on our tours – one at the front and one at the back,” she says.

“So this allows our guests to feel comfortable and to slow down and take those breaks and take more photos.

“Some people may there for a physical push to do a trail they’ve never done before and want to push themselves, and some are there just to get out into nature, and they don’t care how slow it goes. So by having those two markers in our group, everyone feels like they can go at their own pace.”

The Hike Collective founder Kate Gibson.

Making sure guests feel safe is paramount on all guided hike tours.

“More and more of our guests say they don’t feel safe hiking alone because of snakes and bushfires or getting lost or injured without (phone) reception, so those were the sort of trigger points that were stopping them from doing it,” Kate says.

“So we made sure that we were all first-aid trained and knew the trails well, so all of our hike leaders know the trail like
the back of our hand so we can provide that safety of not getting lost as well as the first aid, so if you injure yourself, you know you’re going to be looked after.

“We also carry communication devices with us, so we put a huge emphasis on safety because that was the number one
trigger that was coming out of people not going on hikes. So they can actually experience the trails and know that they’ll
be OK.”

Guided tours not only cater to various ages and fitness levels, but are also affordable, with two-hour hikes starting from $29.

“We run 50 different tours on 50 trails, and that’s not even all the trails that are available,” Kate says.

“We’ve even started to throw a few elements in there so it wasn’t just hiking, so there was a fresh juice at the end or
we finished off with some meditation, so it was a bit more of an experience.”

Take a hike
Keen to try a guided hike tour? The following experiences led by The Hike Collective are ideal for beginners.

» Highlights of Kings Park Hike
Spanning 2.5 hours, this 7km tour winds through the stunning Kings Park and Botanical Gardens, where guests can enjoy views of the Swan River and Mt Eliza escarpment while admiring the unique flora of the Kings Park bushland. The tour includes a walk through the treetops along the ‘glass bridge’ and a pit stop to admire the 750-year-old Boab tree Gija Jumulu.

» Whistlepipe Gully & Woodlands Hike
Dubbed the ‘perfect beginners’ hike in Perth’, this charming 3.6km trail meanders through whimsical woodlands in Kalamunda – located about 30 minutes south-east of Perth – where you can enjoy some breathtaking scenery and observe local wildlife.

» Hidden Secrets – Araluen Botanic Park Guided Hike
Gain exclusive access to the stunning surrounds of Roleystone’s iconic Araluen Botanic Park during this guided 4.5km hike. Spanning two hours, the hike will uncover the secrets of Araluen’s colourful history and heritage. The tour includes entry into the park.

» Lake Leschenaultia Hike & Glamping Luxury Weekender
If you’re looking to take the hike experience to the next level, this luxury experience gives you the opportunity to soak up nature in style over a one-night, two-day guided hike. Arriving at your luxury ‘glamping’ site at the iconic Lake Leschenaultia, the experience begins with a scenic 9km heritage trail hike through Chidlow before returning to camp for a sunset barbecue dinner. The next morning starts with a yoga and meditation session before embarking on another scenic 9km trek to conclude the weekend.

Guided hike experiences led by The Hike Collective must be booked in advance. For more information or to book a tour call 1300 038 924, or book online at hikecollective.com.au.

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