Australia is home to diverse walking trails and hikes, offering city-dwelling visitors a chance to take in the country’s natural landscape.
But with so many hidden gems and so little information readily available, the prospect of undertaking such treks as a novice walker can be an intimidating and potentially daunting prospect.
This was the motivation for Max Blackmore to create Left Foot Right Foot Walks. It’s a website that makes walking trails more accessible to the public.
“I realised there were lots of people who wanted to do hikes and walking trails, but either didn’t know where to go to find out about them, or thought they were too hard and complicated to organise,” Blackmore says. “I wanted to show people how easy it is to get out in nature and embrace these walks.”
Launched in April, the online guide not only offers typically relevant information about the trail, such as duration and maps, but also gives users more personal insight into the hike. Each entry features a personal statement from the hiker who walked the trail and offers helpful hints such as where to stop for photos, tricky areas of the trail and ideal rest spots.
Blackmore, who describes himself as a hiking “enthusiast” with no professional hiking experience, said he wanted to provide more than the “stuffy”, fact-filled guides he was forced to use. “I found there just wasn’t enough personal opinion about the overall experience of the hike,” he says. “I wanted to offer a less factual, statistical analysis of nature and more of a personal diary entry about each particular walk.”
The simply designed website offers easy viewing of both Australian walking trails, including the Overland Track (Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania) and the Cathedral Ranges (Victoria), as well as a small number of international hikes for those looking to experience the great outdoors during their overseas travels.
The Macgyvers section features a range of hints and hacks that range from the helpful and practical “how to turn a beer can into a stove”, to the less necessary “how to create mood lighting in a tent”.
“They’re just quirky, funny ways to enhance the overall enjoyment of the experience,” says Blackmore. “Obviously people need to take certain precautions, and do their research, but I want to show that there’s a lighter side to hiking that can be funny and a bit more malleable.”