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Victorian YHA Bushwalking Group

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


The majority of general enquiries we receive could have been answered here, so check through our FAQ list first to see it contains what you need to know. Short answers are included with some of the questions, more detailed ones are further down.

Do I need to be a YHA member to go on a bushwalk?
No you don't need to join YHA - our walks are open to everybody, whether they are a member of YHA or not.  Non-members pay an additional booking fee of $2 per walk.  YHA membership is worthwhile if you become a regular walker, but we recommend that you try a few bushwalks first to make sure you enjoy the activity before paying the membership fee.

Do I need to do anything special to join my first bushwalk with YHA?
No - there isn't any need to register or do anything special if you haven't walked with us before.

If you haven't bushwalked at all and are a little nervous on how to get started, have a thorough browse through all the pages of this website and if possible drop in at a Clubnight for a chat with any experienced walkers present. Lot's of people just start out by turning up to a Sunday walk. Begin with one of the easier-grade ones and let the leader know it is your first walk - there are almost always a few new people on any given Sunday walk.

If you've bushwalked before but not with us, you probably have suitable equipment and a good idea of what to expect. It is still suggested to try a few Sunday walks first to see how you match up against our walk gradings. If you want to start with a harder walk or pack-carry, the leader will want to have a chat with you first to make sure you do have the necessary experience and fitness for their trip. There is no mandatory system of qualifying walks to go on a pack-carry, however leaders of hard extended walks are entitled to request that you demonstrate your suitability on one of the club's weekend pack-carries beforehand.

How do I book for / join a Sunday walk?
There are no advance bookings required (or accepted) for Sunday walks, just turn up on the day. The standard city meeting point is Flagstaff station plaza on the corner of William and Latrobe Sts at 8.45am. If any walk has a change to the the usual meeting time or place, the details will be included with its entry on the program.

It is not necessary to send a trip enquiry or otherwise contact the leader beforehand unless you want to know some further information about the walk such as how difficult it is, expected return time or an alternate meeting point.

Note: If the walk is anything but a Sunday walk, you do need to book well beforehand.

How do I book for trips other than Sunday walks?
You must contact the leader of the trip by either:
a) Phone (most leaders prefer during the evening 7-9pm)
b) Email (include your contact details), the leader will send you a booking form.
c) Submit an enquiry or booking form online from the Walks Program page if a trip has this option.

Leaders' contact details are provided in the full program; to receive this you need to join our email list. or collect a copy from Clubnight.

If you have not walked with us before or would like to know a bit more about a walk in order to decide whether it is suitable for you, it is recommended that you speak to the leader first then follow it up with an email.

Bookings should be made by the Monday beforehand for weekend trips or the Wednesday for Saturday walks. Accommodated trips usually have limited numbers, so bookings several weeks in advance are recommended.

How do I get a copy of the latest program?
Our program is available online see the Walks Program and Events Calendar. Note that our online program does NOT include full contact details of the leaders. If you would like a copy of our program with the phone numbers included, you can get a copy at Clubnight , or by joining our email mailing list .

I don't have a car - will this be a problem?
Car pooling is organised for all of our trips, it is rare that there are insufficient vehicles to provide transport for everyone.

For Sunday walks, the leader will identify who is able to drive and assign passengers to them at the city meeting point. Drivers are expected to return passengers back to the city after the walk unless there is a mutually convenient drop-off point elsewhere.

For weekend or Saturday walks, the leader should confirm the car-pooling at least a couple of nights beforehand and provide contact details for the respective drivers and passengers to get in touch and arrange their individual departure times and meeting points. Where possible a driver will be assigned passengers that live nearby or along the route they will take to the walk. If a driver and passenger(s) aren't close by, it is expected that the passengers take public transport or otherwise to get to a meeting point that doesn't require the driver to make a large detour.

What is the club's average age group?
Other than the university-based clubs, YHA Bushwalking is the only Melbourne-based bushwalking club with a substantial number of their members in their 20's, 30's and 40's. The average age is 30-35, with the typical range from early twenties through to mid-sixties. There is no age limit for our activities; if you are fit, agile and young-at-heart, then come along.

What should I bring on a walk?
That depends on whether you are going on a daywalk or an overnight trip. It also depends on the weather conditions and time of year. For details, see What to Bring or contact the leader of the particular walk you are interested in.

Am I really after YHA Victoria or YHA Australia instead?
We are a bushwalking (hiking) club, run by volunteers with day jobs elsewhere, not a commercial tour operator or travel agent. While many visitors from interstate or overseas participate in our activities, if your time in Melbourne is numbered in days rather than months, or if you are looking for details on travel and/or accommodation in Victoria or Australia in general, you should be contacting YHA Victoria or YHA  Australia (note that state-based YHAs are amalgamating into a single body YHA Australia). They can help you with YHA hostel accommodation, or arrange tours or outdoor activities at the most popular areas of Victoria.

How do I become a member?
There is no membership for the bushwalking club itself, but members of the YHA receive a discount for every booking fee or may purchase a trip card, excluding them from booking fees on all trips for a year. YHA membership forms are available at the YHA Membership and Travel Centre, 83 Hardware Lane Melbourne or you can sign-up online using the Membership page of the YHA Australia internet site. The cost is $42/year ($32 if under 26). As well as cheaper booking fees for our bushwalking trips, membership entitles you to other benefits such as discounts at many outdoor activities shops and popular tourist attractions.

Is there a minimum age limit?
We don't allow anyone under 18 on a walk unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please be aware even then that our walks aren't designed to be "family-friendly" and are not recommended for young children. The most successful examples of under-18s on a walk are where a parent is already a regular walker and then introduces their teenage sons or daughters to the activity.

Can I bring my dog on a walk?
No. Apart from many of the areas we walk in prohibiting pets anyway, if we allowed one person to bring their dog, we'd have to allow anyone else who wanted to do the same, which would destroy the amenity of the group. So, no domestic animals on trips, seek out a dog-walking club instead.

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This page faq.htm, designed by Nellie Goldflam, last updated Feb 2012