Victorian Walking Festival - April and May 2017
The 2017 starts on April 1 and runs through to May 15 to coincide with:
- the Premier’s Active April Program;
- the walks in the National Trust Heritage Festival; and
- the international Jane’s Walk urban walking tours.
What is a Walking Festival?
A Walking Festival brings together in one program various walks from different sectors – urban walks, historical walks, food walks, bush walks, etc – for set period, in this case the whole month of April and the first half of May, when the weather in Victoria is relatively benign.
A Walking Festival provides a splendid opportunity for Melbourne city and the many wonderful Melbourne municipalities and Victorian regional towns to showcase themselves. And of course Victoria is blessed with fabulous parks and bushlands – The Prom, The Otways, The Grampians, The Cathedral Range, The Brisbane Ranges, and the Victorian Alps to name just a few.
There are positive physical, mental and social reasons for getting involved with walking. Organised events encourage walking and in turn allow for the discovery of new and interesting places. Walks can be city strolls or serious bush walks. If you are new to walking, start with the easier walks. Generally the more walking you do the better it is for your health and for our community.
How to join a walk
See the Walks Program page and download the pdf with the full program. If you want to join a walk contact directly the group organising the walk and book with them. Some walks a free while others have a fee.
Note that particularly the bush walking clubs will have an induction process for visitors. You may need to contact them up to a week before the walk. They will also have a visitor’s fee – usually less than $10 - to cover basic insurance.
Most walks will have a maximum number of participants and these could be filled as we get closer to the event so the sooner you contact the organisation the better.
Walks in the program range from ambles to fairly hard bush walks and hill climbs. It is essential that you discuss the degree of difficulty of the walk and your capabilities with the organisation sponsoring the walk. (Do not rely on the grading in the program. It’s just there as an indication – what for some would be an easy walk might be difficult for others). Likewise check if children, dogs, prams or wheelchairs are appropriate for the walk.
What you will need:
- Comfortable shoes for the easy walks and appropriate shoes or boots and good socks for the bush walks.
- Clothing suitable for the climate and the walk including wet weather gear (and walking poles if you prefer). Hats and sunscreen are usually required along with a day pack, camera and the appropriate amount of water.
- Depending on the length of the walk, something for morning tea and lunch. Some walks end where coffee or afternoon tea can be purchased.
- Transport to and from the start and end of the walk or money to contribute to bus or carpooling costs (which will be extra to the visitor’s fee).
In all cases speak to the organisers of the walk – before the walk – about these or any other special requirements. (Bush walking shops can help with equipment and clothing).
Who is behind the Melbourne / Victorian Walking Festival?
Stephen Ingrouille has been working in the sustainability field for over 39 years and is keen walker having walked across much of greater Melbourne and across much of Victoria.
He is the principal of Going Solar Pty Ltd, a leading Australian based renewable firm established in 1978. Going Solar is sponsoring the Walking Festival.
Stephen was a founding member of the Alternative Technology Association (1976); the Appropriate Technology Retailer’s Association (1979); the Sustainable Living Fairs (1998); the Sustainable Living Foundation (1999), the Sustainable Transport Newsletter (2006) and the Port Phillip Men’s Shed Association (2013).
In 2004, Stephen was a finalist in two categories of the Banksia Environmental Awards: Australians Working for a Sustainable Future and the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year. In August 2006 he won the Melbourne Award which recognised thirty years of Contribution to Environment.
Major recent walks include the Portuguese Camino (10 days in 2013), the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia (19 days in 2014) and the Victorian Alps (some 250 kms over 19 days from Hotham to Walhalla in 2015). In 2016 he walked the Overland Track in Tasmania. In 2017 he walked from Mallacoota to Nadgee National Park in NSW and later visited the Kent Group of islands in Bass Strait (about 9 hours sailing from Port Albert in Gippsland).
Although care has been taken assembling this walking program all of the walks are being organised by other organisations. Information and details can change so if you have any concerns check with the organisation running the walk. Most of these organisations will have at least partial insurance but again check with the organisation.
The organisers of Walking Festival and Going Solar Pty Ltd do not make any claims as to the accuracy of the information contained in this program or any other published material and take no responsibility for any cancelled walks, oversubscribed walks, any incomplete or incorrect information or for actions based on the information and we therefore accept no liability to any person or organisation for the information. Note that on days of extreme weather or in areas of total fire ban events are likely to be cancelled and venues closed.