This Is The Biggest Hiking Trend in 2021. Here's Why.

By Di Westaway OAM | Chief Adventure Chick | Wild Women On Top

Last year my plans to climb The Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, hike the Cape to Cape in Western Australia, join the Coastrek team trekking challenge, and go wild in the Snowy Mountains got cancelled. 

Why? Annoyingly, someone let a global pandemic loose!

This year, because I’m from the Northern Beaches, COVID-induced border blocks have forced me to cancel my trip to Mt Buffalo and my wilderness first aid training at Mt Barney.

Sound familiar?

Many of us were excited about planning big adventures in 2021. But if last year taught us anything, it's we should expect the unexpected and be prepared to pivot. Fast.

I know these are frustrating first-world worries which seem trivial while much of the world is suffering through extreme conditions. 

All over the world, people are in lockdown, removed from their loved ones, frightened for their jobs, their future and possibly their lives.

However, it is important to acknowelge how a pandemic can impact your physical and your mental health - regardless of where you live.

For me, I manage my mental and physical health by having a big hairy audacious goal to motivate me to move every day.  Without a challenging goal, life often gets in the way of my daily plans to hike, bike, climb and/or stretch, a routine which keeps me happy and healthy.

So instead of getting caught up in what I can't do, I'm focusing on what I can do. Setting big hairy audacious goals (of course), but keeping it local.

I'm not the only one thinking along these lines. Adventuring locally has taken off in Australia and around the world as borders close and options are limited.

A recent KPMG Report found we’ll likely be ticking off our ‘backyard bucket list’ in 2021, because we’ve come to terms with international travel being off the cards. 

Tourism Australia agrees. 

They say adventures like multi-day hikes have been on the rise in the last few years and the “pandemic has only amplified the desire for this style of holiday”.

Local, outdoor adventures are on-trend this year and local is the only safe choice for 2021.

It’s why we’ve seen such an incredible response to our Coastrek adventures. Our Coastrekkers are rushing to register and become a VIP so they can plan and get excited about a local, COVID-safe adventure. And our Stayin Wildies have gone wild in their own backyards, literally. 

But don’t wait too long to book your local trip if you want all the bells and whistles that come with a guided adventure. World Expeditions advised us that many of their iconic Aussie trips for this year are already booked out as Aussies shift their tastes to the simple pleasures like hiking, nature and relaxation.

If you’re sick and tired of having your plans cancelled and being disappointed when COVID gets in the way, here's what you can do.

  1. Google best day, overnight or multi-day hikes in your state and make a short list of stuff that inspires and excites you. You’ll find some of our favourites below.
  2. Research those hikes in more detail until you can settle on what really gets you motivated. Make sure it’s challenging enough to motivate you to get fit and strong for it. That’s the wild women way.
  3. Decide whether you want to go on a guided hiking adventure, or if you’re prepared to upskill and set yourself the challenge of doing an independent hike
  4. Set a date in the future that gives you time to prepare, including getting a few new skills like navigation and first aid if you’re doing an independent hike. 
  5. Put a message to all your friends and a post on Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram to see who wants to join you and create a training schedule. 
  6. Start training using Stayin Wild or How To Prepare For World Class Treks
  7. Get your gear list together and use the gear in your training.
  8. Make sure you do a little something every day towards your goal and share you adventures with friends and family to motivate them to go wild. 

Looking for some local inspo? Here are some of our guided and unguided favourites!

New South Wales 

Snowy Mountains

Guided: Ten Peaks with K7 Adventures

Unguided: Main Range Walk

Yuraygir Coastal Walk

Guided: Australian Walking Holidays

Unguided: Yuraygir National Park

Light to Light Ben Boyd National Park

Guided: Light to Light Coastal Walks with Escape To Merimbula

Unguided: Ben Boyd National Park


Wilsons Promontory Southern Circuit

Guided: Wilsons Prom with AusWalk

Unguided: Wilsons Prom National Park

Grampians Peak Trail

Guided: Grampians with AusWalk

Unguided: Grampians National Park

Mornington Peninsula Coastal Walks

Guided: Mornington Peninsula Walk with Life's An Adventure

Unguided: Trail Hiking


Sunshine Coast Hinterland Track

Guided: Sunshine Coast Hinterland luxury with Narrow's Escape Rainforest Retreat

Unguided: Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk

Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

Guided: Gold Coast Hinterland Walk with Life's An Adventure

Unguided: Gold Coast Hinterland 

Carnarvon Gorge Great Walk

Guided: Carnarvon Gorge with AusWalk

Unguided: All Trails

South Australia

Heysen Trail

Guided: Heysen Trail and Flinders Ranges with World Expeditions

Unguided: The Heysen Trail

Flinders Ranges

Guided: Flinders Ranges AusWalk

Unguided: Flinders Ranges

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

Guided: Kangaroo Island Walking tour by Life's An Adventure

Unguided: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail


Mount Anne

Guided: Mount Anne Summit Walk with World Expeditions

Unguided: Mount Anne Summit walk

Freycinet Circuit

Guided: Freycinet Circuit with World Expeditions

Unguided: Freycinet Peninsula Walk

Walls of Jerusalem

Guided: Walls of Jerusalem with World Expeditions

Unguided: Walls of Jerusalem National Park

Western Australia

Cape to Cape

Guided: Cape to Cape with World Expeditions 

Unguided: Cape to Cape Track

Bibbulmun Track

Guided: Albany to Denmark with World Expeditions

Unguided: The Independent Way to walk the Bibbulmun Track

Karijini National Park

Guided: Karinjini National Park and Reef Adventure with World Expeditions

Unguided: Kirijini National Park

Northern Territory

Jatbula Trail

Guided: Jatbula Trail with World Expeditions 

Unguided: Nitmiluk National Park


Guided: World Expeditions

Unguided: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Get independent hike ready with Di Westaway's hiking bible 'How To Prepare For World Class Treks'. Get your copy today.

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