If I’d had a particularly long and frustrating week, I always make sure that I plan time for a hike over the weekend to bring me back to a good place for the coming week.
And now, a recent study has proven what we always knew to be true; that spending time in nature is insanely good for our mental well-being. Not only does it significantly reduce time spent dwelling on obsessive and negative thoughts, but that it can also improve problem solving and boost creativity. Spending time out in nature is such an underrated boost for our mental health, but for beginners, it can be hard to know where to start.
A few tips to get started:
- Always stick to the path
- Let someone know where you’re going and when you should be back
- Take plenty of water
- Hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses – even outside of summer
- Leave only footprints – don’t litter!
I really love a good day hike by myself, it’s a great way to collect your thoughts, work through a problem, or just to feel like yourself again. There’s nothing wrong or dangerous about going by yourself if you follow the tip above. One of my favourite things about a nature walk is that the people you pass are guaranteed to be friendly and say hello, let you know what’s up ahead or any great lookouts, a welcome change from the loneliness you can sometimes experience in the city.
Where are some great places to go that are super close to the city?
- Ku-ringai Chase National Park – this one is accessible by the train even. Hop off at Mount Ku-ringai Station, and follow the signs to the national park. Enjoy a leisurely four-hour walk along the bank of the Hawkesbury River before coming out at Berowra Station.
- Valley of the Waters walk, Blue Mountains – The Blue Mountains has hundreds of different walking trails throughout the expansive national park area, but I’ve selected just one to get you started. This is a popular trail for a very good, like the name suggests, you will get some great waterfall views. This trail starts in Wentworth Falls.
- Lane Cove National Park – Lane Cove is popular with kayakers and birdwatchers. Pack a picnic and stop for a lunch as you walk the riverside track. LanE cove National Park is also remarkable close to the city, so it makes a relatively easy day trip.
- Sydney Harbour National Park – The Bradley’s Head to Chowder Bay walk through the Sydney Harbour National Park affords stunning views of the famous harbour and keeps you close to the water as an added bonus. Amazing cliff sides and little hidden beaches are the order of the day for this national park.
- Coastal Walk, Royal National Park – this one is substantially longer than the others mentioned. While the above walks are completed in a day trip, this walk requires you to pack an overnight bag. Starting at Bundeena and ending at Otford, it is a 26km track (one-way) that is best attempted with an overnight stay at the North Era campsite. This is a walk that everyone should do when they get the chance as the views are unrivalled in beauty.
Before heading out, make sure you check out http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au to get up to date info and learn more about the area you are walking through.
Now go forth, go into nature, unwind and relax! Time spent in nature is time well spent after all.
Where do you like to get your nature fix? Let me know in the comments!