Code of conduct: Attending hikes with Trail Hiking Australia

What’s involved in attending hikes?

It is our mission is to encourage you to get outdoors and go hiking, to meet like minded people, to provide a central source of trails information and to support you in discovering your next adventure.

Members, attending hikes are asked to agree to abide by the following Code of Conduct and Risks and Waiver of Liability. These guidelines  are designed to enhance members’ enjoyment of events, keep attendees safe, and preserve the natural beauty of the trail for all to enjoy.

Occasionally, we will update these guidelines. It is important that you check back before participating in events to ensure you still agree to these terms and conditions.

Code of Conduct:

1. What is an acceptable profile pic?

All members must display a ‘REAL HEAD SHOT OF THEMSELVES’ and use your ‘REAL FIRST NAME’ rather than a random photo, avatar or alias name. This is in the interest of member’s safety for you personally. We conduct serious adventures at times and identification is therefore important if any real trouble were to occur. The following is an example of what is acceptable


Anything other than a clear a close up photo of you will not be accepted. Images of animals, artistic impressions, group shots with your friends or scenery will not be accepted. Should you have any queries or concerns please contact us (Dougal or Darren) to discuss.

2. Personal Etiquette

  • Always be polite, courteous and respectful of other members.
  • No profanity or rude behaviour.
  • Be considerate of other hikers and their experience.
  • Bring a positive and enthusiastic attitude.
  • Make sure you express your gratitude to your organisers and their assistants, people you carpool with, and anyone else who makes the experience possible. They are all volunteers
  • Pitch in yourself and help out if you can or better still, organise your own hikes.
  • Anti-social, dangerous or reckless behaviour endangering yourself or others whilst on an adventure will not be tolerated by any member.
  • Do not discriminate on age, gender or race.
  • You must be physically capable and aware of the risks with the activities you have RSVP’d for.
  • You are responsible for providing PPE (personal protection equipment), first-aid and other medicine.
  • Please let the organiser know if you suffer from any medical conditions that could effect you on the adventure (asthma, diabetes, pre-existing physical ailments etc.)

3. RSVP etiquette

All our hikes have limited numbers for safety, management and environmental reasons. Not showing up to events or pulling out at the last minute is not fair to other members as it prevents them from joining. Its also not fair to event organisers who have put in a lot of effort to organise the hike. To minimise this occurring our RSVP policy is as follows:

  • Managing your RSVP: Members who RSVP YES to events are required to change their status if they are no-longer able to attend. This should be done at least four days prior to the event so that other members have the opportunity to attend.
  • Wait list: If you are on the wait-list it is your responsibility to keep an eye on your attendance status as you may be automatically moved to the attending list if others drop out.
  • Late change of status: Members changing their status AFTER RSVP’s have closed will be marked as No-Show unless extenuating circumstances can be explained to the host(s).
  • Late notice pull-outs: Many of our hiking events are no phone coverage areas. If you are feeling ill or unable to attend on the day you should message the event organiser as soon as possible so they are not waiting for you at the start of the hike.
  • Failure to communicate: If you fail to notify the event organiser before the hike commences you will be marked as a No-Show. Failure to communicate your intentions prior to the event or providing an unsatisfactory reason after the event (such as ‘something came up’) will likely see you removed from future hikes or the group.
  • Repeat No-Show’s: Members who are marked as No-Show’s on more than three (3) occasions will be removed from the group. You may be removed earlier than this should you only have ‘no shows’ in your history.

4. Leave No Trace principles

Always practice the principles of Leave No Trace.

  • Plan Ahead & Prepare
  • Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly (pack it out)
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimise Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Others

5. Inactivity policy

  • We encourage active attendance at all events.
  • If you have not visited the actual Trail Hiking Australia Meetup website for a period of time the Meetup website flags you as inactive.
  • If this inactive period reaches 4 months you may be removed from the Trail Hiking Australia group at the discretion of the organisers. This is to ensure that the group size is reflective of those members attending Meetups and so that people who are not active are not receiving unnecessary emails from the group.
  • If you are removed from the group for inactivity you can re-join at any stage if you wish to be an active member.

6. Group sizes

We are well aware that other groups allow 30 and sometimes 40 people on their hikes. We DO NOT. Our cap is set at 16 for any hike and we do this for some very good reasons.

  • Trail Hiking Australia follows the national bushwalking code of conduct which clearly stipulates that group sizes should be capped at 16.
  • Land managers also request that we cap group sizes at 16.
  • Leave No Trace also request that we cap group sizes at 16.
  • We respect the code of conduct, the land managers, the environment and the safety of all members and for this reason we will not be increasing the sizes of our groups. I have had discussions with the land managers and if they continue to see large groups on trails they will be legally enforcing smaller group sizes and potentially fining those who do not comply.
  • If something were to happen to a member of the hiking group, whilst on a hike and the incident ended up in court, then the first thing the courts will do is refer to the code of conduct and the land managers for their recommendations and hike organisers could see themselves slapped with a hefty law suit or prison time for placing the group and members at risk.

7. What to expect on a hike (and what you need to bring)

Hike difficulty and expectations:

  • Our regular hikes typically last between 4 and 6 hours and range from 10 to 18 kilometers in length, with potential elevation changes between 200 and 700 meters. Some hikes may be longer or more challenging.
  • Be aware that hiking uphill and downhill is significantly more difficult than walking on flat terrain.
  • To assess your fitness level, try walking 5 kilometers on flat ground in your neighborhood and aim to complete it within 1.5 hours without breaks.
  • Consider climbing stairs to simulate the feeling of elevation gain. Twenty flights (60-100 meters) can give you a good idea of the effort involved.
  • Start with easier hikes labeled “EASY” before attempting more advanced trails.
  • If you’re not sure of anything, contact the organiser or other attendees.

Preparing for your hike:

  • Physical fitness: Ensure you are physically capable of handling the chosen hike’s distance, duration, and elevation gain.
  • Proper gear: Sturdy hiking shoes with good tread, appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, and a backpack with essentials like water (half a liter per person per hour), sunscreen, food, torch, navigation tool, and first-aid supplies are crucial.
  • Inform the organiser: If you have any medical conditions that could impact you during the hike, notify the organiser beforehand.

Trail etiquette:

  • Always stay with the group leader and follow their instructions.
  • Walk as a group and never leave anyone behind.
  • If the group is moving too slow or fast, communicate with the leader to adjust the pace.
  • Wait for all members  of the group at every trail junction.
  • Inform someone if you need to leave the trail or leave the hike for an emergency to avoid confusion and concern.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of the trail.
  • Respect wildlife and stay on designated trails.

Additional considerations:

  • Children are welcome but must be members and supervised by a parent or guardian at all times. We are not a babysitting service, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and the safety of your companions.
  • Bring a camera to capture the beautiful scenery and wildlife you might encounter (respecting their privacy, of course!).

By following these guidelines and bringing the recommended gear, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience for yourself and others.

Additional information: The following links will help you with Preparation, Safety, Navigation, understanding the Skills and Gear required for an enjoyable outdoor adventure. Download a free copy of my Hiking Guides for additional information.

8. Interpersonal relationships

Private Interactions: While members are encouraged to connect and build relationships within the group, it is essential to maintain a respectful and considerate approach. Any private interactions that involve or arise from group connections should adhere to the same standards of politeness and respect outlined in this code of conduct.

Conflict Resolution: In the event of conflicts or misunderstandings among members, it is encouraged to address the issues openly and constructively. If conflicts persist and affect the overall harmony of the group, organisers may intervene to facilitate resolution.

Confidentiality: Respect the privacy of fellow members. Any information shared in private should be treated with confidentiality, and members are discouraged from sharing private interactions that may compromise the well-being or reputation of others within the group.

9. Leadership conduct

Leadership Interactions: Leaders and organisers are expected to maintain professionalism both within the group’s platform and in private communications related to group activities. Any behavior that contradicts the values and guidelines of the group may result in appropriate action, including reconsideration of leadership roles.

10. Reporting concerns

Open Communication: If any member feels uncomfortable or observes behavior inconsistent with this code of conduct, they are encouraged to report their concerns to the group organisers, (Dougal and/or Darren). Reports will be handled discreetly, and appropriate action will be taken based on the severity and nature of the concern.

11. Membership and attendance fees

Trail Hiking Australia is free to all members as a not for profit initiative.