Top 10 Mountain Treks: (#5) Tour du Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc – No 5 in the list of my 10 favourite mountain treks – takes me back to my origins, to my first real extended hike. It was an accidental kind of journey that sprang from the desperation of the ABC – Another Bloody City – of my European backpacking days. This walk truly cured all, introducing me to one of the world’s classic mountain hikes and seeding my passion for mountains and the outdoors. Continue reading

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Top 10 Mountain Treks: (#6) Nelson Lakes to Lewis Pass

The journey through my favourite mountain trails continues, closer to home now, on New Zealand’s South Island. But not among the usual roll calls of famous tramps. Continue reading

Friday Foto: Bathurst Harbour, Tasmania

Forest Lagoon

In Lonely Planet’s newly published 1000 Ultimate Adventures, Tasmania’s Bathurst Harbour has been named among the world’s 10 ‘epic sea-kayak paddles’. It’s not difficult to see why, in this place that belies numbers. Deep inside the state’s World Heritage-listed Southwest wilderness, it’s little more than 100km from Hobart and yet you feel centuries away. When I kayaked here two summers ago, we paddled for a week and didn’t see another person or boat until the final day – and then it was a barge carrying in a bulldozer to grade the remote airstrip at Melaleuca. Continue reading

Top 10 Mountain Treks: (#8) Skyline Trail

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about my favourite mountain treks, trying to narrow them down to the finest 10. The journey now crosses the Atlantic Ocean to Canada, ascending into the Rocky Mountains outside of Jasper, where the Skyline Trail joins my previous nominations: Gokyo Ri (10) and the Picos de Europa (9). Continue reading

Crocs, Yaks and Camels: The Joy of the Open Air

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Colorado found that camping has the ability to reset our body clocks. In dragging us away from the electric lights that so disrupt the natural order and cycle of daily life, camping isn’t just good for the soul, it also apparently recalibrates our sleep patterns. Continue reading

Friday Foto: Mt Oakleigh, Tasmania

View over snowy treetops on the slopes of Mount Oakleigh

Last winter, I spent a week in Tasmania’s mountains, hiking the Overland Track. Setting out at almost the exact moment of midwinter, it was a journey to experience Australia’s most popular long-distance walking trail at its least popular time. It was a week in which a whole lot of rainy days bracketed this one perfect day of snow. Continue reading

Walk this Way

I’m not the first to believe that footsteps, pedal turns and paddle strokes can feel like the essence of life. Never does my mind function better, or my soul feel more connected to some sort of natural order, than when I’m hiking on a mountain, cycling an empty road, or kayaking along a wild strip of coastline.

“I can only meditate when I am walking,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau once wrote. “When I stop I cease to think; my mind only works with my legs.” Friedrich Nietzsche was even more resolute on the subject: “Only those thoughts which come from walking have any value.” Continue reading