Each hike is unique and somewhat unpredictable. However, Australia has created its own Hike Difficulty Grading that this is based on. It’s important to also be attentive to other influences that change from one day to the next, like the weather, the participants ages, abilities, and the length of the hike (day or multi-day).
Multi-day hikes will generally be a grade 3 to 5 due to total distance and carrying a 15 kg plus backpack. A hike difficulty is somewhat subjective on your own physical, mental and attitude capabilities.
There is no such thing as a bad hike, only bad gear and attitude
Hiking for beginners can be both challenging and scary. Didier has many years experience assessing peoples (all ages) physical, mental and attitude capabilities due to his work in disability and metal health services. He reserves the right to request a further assessment from your medical specialist before anyone particpates in a hike. Didier always welcomes a chat to discuss your dream.
Grade 1 – Suitable for anyone
The hike will be under 5 kilometres and doesn’t require any hiking experience. The terrain will be flat and even with no stairs or overly steep sections. To be rated a grade 1 the track should be suitable for people in wheelchairs (with assistance), with physical barriers and children’s’ strollers.
Grade 2 – Suitable for beginners, young children
These are great hikes to get started on, for beginners. The hike will be under 10 kilometres and like the grade 1, it doesn’t require any prior hiking experience or compacted path and may include some gentle slopes and occasional steps. It requires the participant to have average health and low level fitness.
Training tip: The participant will find this hike more enjoyable if they are able to climb 10 steps at once while carrying a 5kg pack.
Grade 3 – Recommended for people with some hiking experience and average fitness
For these hikes, days may be up to 20km long, but you’ll find many under 10km. They are suitable for most ages and average fitness levels, but it’s suggested that you have some hiking experience. The tracks are well-formed and marked but may have short/medium steep hill sections, steps and uneven ground. In parts, there may be obstacles you need to go over or under. A person with low level fitness can participate but may find it more challenging.
Training tip: The participant will find this hike more enjoyable if they are able to climb 100 steps at once while carrying a 10kg pack.
Grade 4 – Recommended for experienced hikers and a reasonable level of fitness
A grade 4 hike is likely to have most days over 15 km, includes rough ground and very steep sections. These trails are suggested for people with experience hiking. They may be any length, but physically more demanding . A reasonable level of fitness and unrestricted movement will be required.
Training tip: The participant will find this hike more enjoyable if they are able to walk 15 to 20 km in a day comfortably, climb 200 steps at once while carrying a 10kg pack potentially more than once in a day.
Grade 5 – Recommended for very experienced hikers
These trails are only for very experienced hikers with specialised skills and equipment including navigation, emergency first aid and climbing. They are likely to be less defined, rough, steep and have very few directional signs or trail markers.
Training tip: The participant will find this hike more enjoyable if they are able to walk more than 20 km daily, climb 200 steps at once while carrying a 17kg pack potentially more than once in a day.