Neoliberalism has gripped our world: the belief that individuals have the ‘capacity to transform themselves and make their own lives the object of practices of self-shaping’. So, whenever I hear people discussing hikes, hiking or exercising in general, it’s in the context of ‘getting fit’ and making yourself a HOT ASS THANG. Beauty; being at the top of your physical form; getting HDs in all of your subjects; and being perfect is all touted to be attainable in this neoliberal world. Just try harder and you can HAVE IT ALL.
How all stupidly exhausting. What constant pressure to have all these thoughts and expectations running through your mind.
I don’t go hiking to be fit. I go hiking because it lets me be free. Free from social expectations and how I should act. There are no social conventions to abide by except maybe saying hi when you’re on a bushwalk. And that’s not a very stressful convention. I can run if I want to, I can walk if I want to and I can act like I want to when I go on hikes. It’s really nice to be able to go out and just run away from society for a bit. Exist in the wild with just purely my thoughts, daydreams and own rules. Without societal constructs constantly jabbing into my consciousness.
So, my top three hikes for daydreamers:
Overland Track, TAS
If you know what the Overland Track is, then you’ve done a bit of walking. It’s one of the best multi-day hikes in Australia. It usually takes six days and before you go you should probably be comfortable with walking long distances with heavy packs (I carried about 17+kg for six days and I’m 5’7). But, don’t let any of that put you off. Be reckless and just go. There’s nothing out there to drown our your thoughts except adorable baby wombats that walk straight up to you because they’re not afraid of humans. They’re so cute and chubby. Man I love wombats.
My favourite part of the trip was when I did the side-trip to Mount Ossa. Lunch tastes good on top of a mountain.
That’s the best part about multi-day hikes. The fact that you can plan this out and experience this with other people. You can get excited about side trips, maybe use your compass if you’re into that and feel like Christopher Columbus. Solo hiking has its good points, but on multi-day hikes, there’s nothing quite like camping with your friends/family, sharing treats around and experiencing mountains and waterfalls with your closest ones. And, since the Parks & Wildlife Services of Tasmania limit the walkers that are allowed on the walk each day (60 per day), you’ll always feel like you’re alone in the wild with your group
Bouddi National Park – Coastal Walk, NSW
Unlike the coastal walk at the Royal National Park, this one has less people. It’s only 8km and goes from Putty Beach to MacMasters beach. It’s an easy walk – you can whale watch as you leisurely walk. You’ll pass five beaches on the way, so you’ll be spoiled for choice (they’re all great for swimming). Just run free here, absorbing the sweeping views, feet touching the white sand. This place is made for daydreams.
The Castle Hike, NSW
This walk in the Budawang National Park will take around 8-12 hours depending on how good you are rock-climbing and hiking downhill. This is a seriously fun hike with creeks, ropes, caves and one windy summit where you can see some amazing views. Because this is a challenging walk, you’ll be focusing on what you’re doing. Meaning no unnecessary thoughts will come into your mind, distracting your reverie.
There are also other great hikes around Sydney, very easily accessible and perfect to hit up with your friends. Sometimes you want to go hiking with a group and laugh it up in nature. You can find hikes like that on my instagram @suekang_
All credits to © Sue Kang’s instagram @suekang_