Back in May, I discovered a Facebook group called "Women on Walks," a group for women who enjoy walking in and around Melbourne, in a safe and happy environment.
Each month, there are two walks. One held during the week and one on the weekend. The following month, the one that was held during the week is repeated on a Sunday for those who aren't lucky enough to be retired/unemployed/taking a break.
Weekday walks have the group meeting at 9.30am for introductions and set off at 9.45am. On the weekends, the start time is usually 9.00am. Full details can be found on the events page.
During each walk, there is a morning tea stop (bring your own water/snacks) and usually, a bathroom break factored in. Towards the end, there is the opportunity to join the group for lunch and/or a coffee at your own expense.
Walks are around 10 - 12km and everyone is welcome. Well, as long as you are a women. Apparently, some men have tried to join the group and have been politely turned away. Can't blame them for trying - I'm sure an equivalent men's walking group would be nowhere near as exciting when it comes to great conversation and chat!
The group is run by the lovely Annie, who diligently takes a practice walk when planning the next ones and ensures that coffee/lunch spots are up to scratch. So far I've met a lovely bunch of ladies, all ages and from various walks of life. Some mothers and daughters share the day and there is usually at least one fur-baby accompanying us. It's a fabulous way to get a bit of exercise, discover new spots around our city and make new friends.
To date, all walks I've been on have been classed as "easy." Although in October, a slightly more taxing hike down in the Mornington Peninsula is planned and that will be 14.5km. If you're wondering what the difference between a "hike" and a "walk is, well the answer appears a bit grey, but seems to depend on the surface being walked upon and where you are. Walking tends to refer to the stuff we do every day on hard, relatively flat surfaces in urban areas, whereas hiking is done in nature and on more natural, uneven ground.
As an example of what you can expect, here is a brief rundown on a walk I attended back on Friday 12 July 2019. The Albert Park Lake, St. Kilda, Fitzroy and Acland Street walk set off at 9.45am on a wet and wild day in St Kilda. Bad weather needs to be factored in when it's the middle of winter, so dress accordingly. The weather didn't deter us as we set off through the St Kilda Botanical Gardens and made our way to Albert Park and then strolled around the lake. Some beautiful wildlife and plenty of opportunities to stop along the way to take photos. We then made our way back up to St Kilda and wandered down Fitzroy Street, through to Acland Street taking in the buildings, street art and other points of interest. Meeting Ron Barassi along the way, much to the delight (if the squeals were anything to go by) of some of our fellow walkers was an added bonus. Coffee and/or lunch for those that wanted to join in was then enjoyed at a local café before returning to our starting point.
Out and about around Albert Park Lake and St Kilda