The Great Aussie Hike, an annual event set to take place on April 26-27, 2024, in Daylesford and Wombat State Forest, invites participants to embark on a journey of camaraderie and well-being in the heart of the Australian bush. This inspiring challenge aims to strengthen mental and physical health through human connection, all while supporting the vital cause of mental health.
A survey of more than 20,000 people shows that spending at least two hours in nature per week was strongly correlated with self-reports of being in good health or having high wellbeing.
Participants can opt to tackle the 30km, 50km or 100km course as a registered team, while individuals can sign up as part of a community group. There is also a unique ‘Share the Distance’ option where you can choose to either take on the entire course or swap sections with your teammates, embracing the great Aussie spirit of mates looking after each other. With no emphasis on racing or timing, the event is a testament to achieving personal goals and strengthening friendships. Walkers fundraise for Beyond Blue, ensuring every step counts in raising awareness and funds for mental health.
Funds raised will go towards the Beyond Blue Support Service, which offers 24/7 support, advice and care options for everyone in Australia.
Born during lockdown with the aim of keeping people connected, the Great Aussie Hike provides an accompanying program that focuses on helping people prepare while also developing daily habits that will continue to help their mental health long after they have crossed the finish line.
According to Founder and Program Director, Anna Kelly, it is the element of fun and mateship that keeps Australians returning and supporting the initiative.
“The pandemic certainly taught us the power of community and how it influences our mental wellbeing. It doesn’t matter what distance you do or how your team gets to the finish line. It’s all about mates supporting each other in a fun, positive environment. This is evident when we see our teams spend the whole course chatting and laughing together,” said Ms Kelly.
“Getting outside and going for a walk – even for 20 minutes – is so important. The Great Aussie Hike provides a wonderful way to promote this vital mental health tool. Even better, our partnership with Beyond Blue ensures everyone’s steps help make a difference. We’re lucky to have such a stunning backdrop to explore – no one complains about a visit to Daylesford!”
“Hiking and being outdoors in nature is great for our physical and mental health, it reduces stress, gives us vitality and boosts our mood,” said Beyond Blue’s Clinical spokesperson, Dr Grant Blashki.
“There’s no better way to spend a day than with a few friends, hiking in the great outdoors and helping others at the same time. Funds raised by the Great Aussie Hike will help us deliver our support service, which is available to anyone free of charge. The earlier people get support the quicker they will get back to feeling themselves again, so events like this can make a real difference in someone’s life.”
The Great Aussie Hike is a celebration of the Aussie spirit, a testament to the power of connection, and an opportunity to explore the beauty of the Daylesford region while supporting the important work of Beyond Blue.
For information on Great Aussie Hike or to register, visit greataussiehike.com.au
Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au/get-support
This article is based on a media release from The Great Aussie Hike.