As the year draws to a close, my ‘Top 9’ photos on Instagram has reminded me what a great year 2016 has been.

I’ve been back to the Grampians on an awesome overnight hike (with the best campsite I’ve ever seen), (finally) hiked in Wilson’s Prom and walked along secluded beaches that you can only reach by foot (or boat), and have pretty much been obsessed with the Otway’s and the Great Ocean Road (here, here and here are just some of the times I’ve been).

And you know what’s best? All of these bushwalking spots have been within a few hours of Geelong and Melbourne too – and there’s still a lot more to explore!

Recently, my hiking boots have been packed away in the cupboard while I wait for surgery (only a few weeks to go!). Once I’m recovered from the surgery, I’ll be super keen to get back into hiking. I’m realising now more than ever how much I love to hit the hiking trails and how crucial it is to my happiness and mental health. I haven’t even felt like writing, or planning hiking trips, lately.

But…there’s nothing like looking forward and setting some 2017 goals to end the pity party.

Here’s my ‘Top 5’ hiking goals for next year:

  1. Hike the Overland trail in Tasmania. Not only have I never been bushwalking in Tasmania (crazy I know!) – but I’ve never done a 6 day hike either. To be honest it scares me to think about the realities of hiking 6 days in a row….but fear isn’t enough to stop me wanting to do it. Originally planned for 2016, it will most likely be late in 2017 that this becomes a reality (due to Winter weather), but this will give me plenty of time to ensure I’m well prepared.
  2. Finish the Great Ocean Walk. I have 2 sections to go, and plan to do them solo. This also scares me a bit – but I’ll use my fear to propel me forward (which, remembering how tough some of those hills are on the Great Ocean Walk, I’ll need all the propulsion I can get!).
  3. Buy a food dehydrator – and learn how to use it. That way, while doing the multi day hikes listed above, I’ll be eating some of my fave foods and know what has gone into my meals and snacks.
  4. Get super fit and lose some weight. While lack of fitness, or extra weight, has never held me back – I think a lot about how much easier it would be, and how much more I would enjoy it, if I was fitter and lighter. I’ve spent a lot of time talking and thinking about pack weight – which is crazy when you consider the extra weight I’m carrying without even having my backpack on!
  5. Have fun and explore more. Which is what it’s all about after all, right?

In true I Heart Hiking style, I’ll share all this along the way – in the hope that it encourages others to get out on the hiking trails.

When setting goals it’s really important to remember – not all of us can conquer world famous mountains, beat land speed records (I have definitely resigned myself to this one…), or do multi day hikes. It’s about being the best you can be, stretching out of your comfort zone, and trying new things. It’s about getting out, enjoying nature, and giving it a go.

Now it’s your turn to dream big – what are your 2017 hiking goals?

Bio: Sam is a daydreamer, storyteller, and hiker. She loves getting outside, and you’ll often find her on the bushwalking trails close to her hometown of Geelong. You can follow along with her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If you have any questions that she can help with, or would like to chat about possible sponsored opportunities, advertising, or affiliations (that will benefit her audience) please drop her an email at

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