Spending a day in the natural world

January 8, 2023 BY

Moving: State parks, forests and reserves can provide a space for walking, riding, socialising and learning. Photo: FILE

NATURE is all around us and can provide great, accessible and inexpensive day trip destinations over the holidays.

Parks Victoria’s Siobhan Rogan said the natural landscape of gardens, parks, forests and reserves can offer plenty of things to do.

“There are plenty of different activities you can do depending on what you feel comfortable in so long as it’s done safely,” she said.

“Beyond just walking, people can take a horse or dog to spaces where they’re welcome… people have a particular fondness for their animals so it’s a great way to spend time with them.

“Bike rides, even if they’re regular bikes, mountain or trail bikes are also ideal because many parks do connect to other spaces that allow those trails to continue a great length.

“There’s lots of opportunities to tick off a bit of a bucket list of things to do and see and feel a sense of achievement at having done that.”

Ms Rogan said there are many benefits to visiting the state’s natural resources.

“There’s been so many studies about actually allowing ourselves to take in the environment, and how that helps our physiology and our mental space,” she said.

“There’s the physical activity side of it but many people say to us they’ve gone on a walk out there and they’ve heard the wind, felt the rustle of the trees and have just been chuffed at the experience.

“Nature really is good for our health. Even socially when walking the dog, it’s a great talking point to meet new people and engage with them.”

Beyond being a space for other activities like rock-climbing, barbecues, four-wheel driving, many natural reserves are also equipped with installations for those looking to learn something new on their trip.

Ms Rogan said between signage, groups and QR codes, parks can now double as outdoor education sites.

“In most places there’s interpretative panels and signage about what you can see and the sorts of experiences that are there,” she said.

“For example, we can describe the walk as well as the sorts of plants and animals that might be on the way and how to take care of the bush when you’re travelling through it.

“There are also booklets usually created by nature groups on the types of species often with links to websites so people can really endeavour to learn and understand even more.

“I think the best opportunity is walking with a person or group who really knows the place with an interpretative walk or tour.”