On bushwalking my way to better health

When I worked in restaurants, I didn’t think twice about watching my weight.

I was too busy to worry about that, and tasting was my job. No way around it…so hand over that seared foie with caramelized pineapple and no one gets hurt, okay?

Besides, I was already pretty lean due in part to my 12-hour shifts in front of grill (my personal sauna, as I called it). My biceps were defined thanks to being the biscuit maker and butter churner day in and day out, and my legs were rock hard since the only sitting I did was when I would pass out on my bed after a long day of running around the kitchen.

My oh my, how things have changed! Thanks to the time I put in as a taster, recipe developer, and writer, I’ve softened around the edges (physically and emotionally). Because believe it or not, there really is such thing as too many cheesecake tastings in one day. But since quitting my job and going on holiday in Sydney, I have been making a concerted effort to get moving more often than not.

When you live in Australia, there’s no excuse for not getting outside everyday; the weather is pretty much always perfect! Having been here since February, I’ve had a chance to go surfing in Byron Bay, *bush walking in the Northern Territory, and snorkeling on the South Coast in Central Tilba.

Most recently my partner, a few of his colleagues, and I awoke at the crack of dawn and drove over to Dharug National Park, in order to walk to Old Great North Road. The Old Great North road was a massive civic engineering project built on the backs of convicts in the early 19th century. The walk consisted of mostly flat roads, with scenery such as stonework built by hand by the **lucky convicts (some even worked in chains), deep valleys and cliffs, and pastoral landscapes down below. But don’t peer too far off the edges, or else…

Thanks for the heads up, National Parks.

Thanks for the heads up, National Parks.

One of the many beautiful views.

One of the many beautiful views of the Hawkesbury River


A wall hand built by these guys…


Anyone else getting the hipster vibe from this National Parks sign? He looks like he’s one PBR away from ‘doing art’ and hacky-sacking in Brooklyn.

We walked for hours. Six, to be exact, and 15 kilometers to drive the point home at how much I walked.

This is me towards the end…

At this point, all I could think about was how much I wanted a burger.

At this point, all I could think about was how much I wanted a burger.

Most of the people in our group of six were around 50 years old, so about twice my age. For lack of a better word and with brutal honesty, they annihilated me. Fit, and use to doing much more challenging bushwalks, they kept coming up with ways to make this ‘gentle’ walk even harder. At the time, my pride didn’t really exist and all I could really think or care about was the lunch I was going to have later that day, so I went along with their diabolical plans to make the incline steeper.

And thank the baby-jesus, we made it to the pub right before they closed. We tucked into a picnic table out back of the Settler Arms, and enjoyed a schooner of their homemade ale and mediocre grub. Hunger is the best sauce, they say, and I was living those words as I devoured my steak sandwich (no burger on the menu, sadly).

The sandwich and the gorgeous scenery surrounding me was just enough to keep me distracted from the aches in myscles that had been laying, dormant for months. 


All in all, this was a beautiful walk with good company. It is a great walk for children, beginners like me, and even experienced hikers with a penchant for historical trails.

Have you been on any notable bush walks in Australia? Tell me about them in the comments!

*Bush walk: the Australian word for hiking. Also means walking through undeveloped land or territory.

**Sarcasm in action.


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