Take a breath of fresh air, put your best foot forward and explore the wild beauty and unique street scapes of some of the most popular locations in the world when the Festival of Walking kicks off on October 6-14.
The annual nine-day event celebrating the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area spanning through to Lithgow and Oberon will include an extensive program of events with something for everyone - from street walks to hard core treks into the wilderness and even a walk for singles.
Promoting fresh air and the grand backyard of the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region, the festival will feature treks and challenging bushwalks, history tours combined with local wine and cheese sampling, ambles through the day and walks at night, garden tours, singles walks, indigenous experiences, a phone film competition, family events and child's eye view walks.
The Festival of Walking will be held at locations throughout the region including Jenolan Caves, the Glow Worm Tunnel near Lithgow and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, as well as Blue Mountains towns.
Festival of Walking director Sean Greenhill said there had been overwhelming public support and interest in the festival.
"The Festival of Walking is a big positive for the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and surrounds," Greenhill said. "It really is our chance to share our backyard with the world and we intend to take the opportunity to do so."
Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker said the concept of a Festival of Walking in the area "is one whose time has come" given the plethora of experienced quality accommodation providers, the famous history and diverse range of events all perched on the edge of Australia's largest city and all within a World Heritage Area.
"The Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region is the richest destination for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts on the continent," he said. "You can lace up your shoes and head from your front door to a rugged valley or high plateau in an afternoon or stroll from historic pub to historic pub through quiet, tree-line streets."
The Festival of Walking is a celebration of the beauty of nature, the health and wellbeing benefits of walking, acknowledgement of Aboriginal custodianship and culture, and homage to the history, heritage and conservation of this special region.
Checklist for walkers
- Allow plenty of time to finish your walk in daylight
- Always carry water for drinking on ALL walks
- Know your route, keep to the tracks, carry a reliable map
- Wear sensible walking shoes
- Weather can change quickly in the region - always be prepared for heat, rain and cold
- Carry a bag for rubbish
- Wear a hat and sunscreen
- For longer walks: Go with friends; take warm waterproof clothing; carry a topographic map, matches, first aid kit and tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return
- For longer and more remote walks: Free personal locator beacons are available for loan (subject to availability) when you register with accredited Visitor Information Centres at Glenbrook and Echo Point Katoomba, Oberon, NPWS Blackheath or after hours at Katoomba or Springwood Police Stations (www.police.nsw.gov.au/trek)
Visit www.festivalofwalking.com for more information about the Festival of Walking.
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