Put any hiker on a relatively flat track along the coastline and ask them to walk 25 kilometres in two days, and they'll do it easily. Adult hikers, that is.
But what happens when you put a four-year-old to the challenge?
We first put the idea of an overnight hike to Abbey last year, when I was pregnant, thinking it would be a good Dad-daughter activity. Various circumstances - work, bad weather - meant it was put off until we found ourselves with a few free days these holidays.
She's a great day-walker so we thought she'd enjoy a new challenge.
And enjoy it she did!
Steve and Abbey tackled a small section of the Great Ocean Walk (along the Great Ocean Road coastline here in Victoria), doing the 12.5km stretch from Aire River to Johanna Beach. They camped overnight at Johanna Beach and walked back to Aire River the following day.
They saw three of these little guys along the track, and patted one. Abbey thought this was one of the best bits, as did I - seriously, how many people get to pat an echidna in the wild?!
Another favourite for Abbey was convincing her Dad to tell her various made up princess stories - requests such as "Tell me one about a mermaid princess!" and "Now a princess who gets caught in an earthquake!"and so on were quite constant I believe.
As were jokes that appeal to a four-year-old sense of humour. Jokes like, "Why did the chicken drive a car? Because it liked driving cars!" and "Why did the chicken live in a treehouse? Because it liked living in a treehouse!" etc. etc.
|There's Johanna Beach!|
That night they watched the stars and slept in the hiking tent, and after a little sleep-in the next morning they headed back the 12.5km to the car.
You have to love visiting a beach that's so deserted, yours are the only footsteps to be seen.
I'm told the toughest part of the hike was the sections of walking on sand. A bit hard on the legs - not to mention sand in boots!
This is an experience to be remembered. And we're super proud of our little munchkin.
[A little disclaimer if I may: Abbey is a super energetic kid who is used to walking long distances, and Steve is an experienced hiker who knows the positives and the dangers. This post is partly to show some of the amazing Great Ocean Walk and partly to talk about what kids can achieve if it's something they love to do and find interesting. We chose this part of Victoria for her first overnight hike carefully, our reasons including: there is phone reception and easy access to civilisation if it all turned pear-shaped, and it provided her with some fun during and after each day's hiking (like most kids she loves a play at the beach!).]