Join an Outdoor Adventure Group & Awaken Your Inner Explorer
Use the internet to get off the internet. It’s the slogan for a unique online social networking platform called Meetup, comprising of thousands of different interest-based activity groups across the world. In our modern faced-paced lives, Meetup offers an innovative and accessible way to get active, whatever your preferred activity. The platform offers special groups for almost everything - from wine-tasting, choirs, language groups, to cycling, rock climbing and hiking!
By chance I stumbled across this world of activity in early 2012. Aged 19 and having just commenced university studies, I was keen to meet other young people who shared a passion for the outdoors. I wanted to explore new places with people my own age – however those in my existing social circles at the time were not at all interested.There was no outdoors club at my university and the more established clubs appeared to service a middle-age or older demographic. I discovered meetup through a simple google search of “hiking groups Melbourne” – but found that out of hundreds of groups on meetup in Melbourne, there was no broad-based group that catered specifically for young people. It was in these circumstances that I decided to start Melbourne Young Hikers.
Targeted at the age group between 18 and 35 years old, the group grew exponentially right from the beginning, greatly exceeding my modest expectations of what it would become. We reached 100 members in its first 23 days and it quickly became apparent more organisers would be required to service demand. In October 2012 we started with five organisers. We have since evolved into an incorporated association and became members of Bushwalking Victoria at the start of this year.
There have been some fantastic highlights over the last two years. At the time of writing, we have done 321 events over the past two years – the majority being outdoor activities, but also some social events. The diversity of experiences has ranged from off-track multi-day hikes in Kosciuszko; weekend trips to the Prom or Grampians; to regular day-hikes in the Dandenongs, Lerderderg and Werribee Gorge. We are now one of Melbourne’s most active outdoor adventure groups with numerous events each week. Our challenge for the future will be engaging enough hike leaders to deal with the incredible demand.
Being based on an online platform, our great strength is the diversity of our membership base. Our members are a healthy mix of students, full-time workers, travellers and those who have recently arrived in Melbourne – all united by a love of the outdoors. This creates both opportunities and challenges. The reality is we get many people coming to us who are relatively new to hiking and want to join us for overnight hikes – therefore as Organisers, we must ensure they obtain good quality and durable gear. We are proud to refer our members to Bogong Equipment and the Wilderness Shop for all gear-related issues. Most recently many of our members obtained snow camping gear from Bogong, for an introductory snow camping trip to Fitzgerald Hut on the Bogong High Plains.
The road ahead for Melbourne Young Hikers is strong. We have created a movement of young outdoor adventurers that are inclusive, welcoming of difference, friendly and respectful of our natural environment. We live by the philosophy that as people we are enriched by nature and accordingly our impact when visiting special places should be limited. Having good gear and using it properly is an essential part of that vision. I look forward to seeing you out on the trail.
For more information about the Melbourne Young Hikers group click here.