Confession time. I’m not a big “group activity” person. Well, there is the one exception, usually associated with the popping of a cork on a few bottles of French bubbly.
So when a friend suggested adding a day trek to her 50th birthday celebrations at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast, a cruisey stroll through the bush to somewhere called Pidgeon House Mountain sounded like a fun way to burn a few kilojoules before the next cheese platter.
Women Want Adventure have every detail covered. If you get a little spooked about hitting a bush trail alone, then this will get you scrambling for a backpack.
Our chosen experience for this weekend would be a Grade 4 bushwalk. Challenging, but not too difficult.
Still, I did wonder if the old ski-knees would be up for it. After all, it was a massive 5km round trip walk. Totally do-able, even though I’m one of those who only need to look at a Katmandu catalogue and my quad muscles go to jelly. I’ve long admired those who get to a Friday, grab the bare essentials, and then disappear off the grid for a few days. Good on them.
But for this weekend, it was nice to know we’d be back within reach of a good red and hot shower by day’s end.
Do not fear, if you have no idea and none of the gear. Active wear or jeans and joggers are more than fine. You are in good hands with people like Tracy, our patient and good-humoured Women Want Adventure tour guide.
Our 8 am meeting point is at the Heritage Bakery at Milton, not far from Ulladulla. There we down a double-shot, and maybe just one of those delicious ham and cheese croissants for the road.
Our actual starting point for the walk is a 45-minute drive away, via a short stretch of dirt road, so that cute little 2WD traffic rocket is probably best swapped for something 4WD. Or just hitch a ride with Tracy, like we did.
As the more experienced trekkers will tell you, it’s not about the distance. It’s all about the ascent, and Pidgeon House Mountain has lots and lots of steps, as well as a few vertical ladders to lift you up to one of the South Coast’s most magical 360 degree vistas.
The lookout is cosy and on weekends when the air is clear and still, it can get a little crowded. But it seems the protocol dictates a more than reasonable five minutes at the top, for happy snaps and selfies.
So what kind of Women Want Adventure? On this particular perfect sunny July day, our group of 12 comprised of a couple of super-competitive gym mums and their less fitness-inclined friend. A gorgeous 30-something pro-photographer looking to escape the big-smoke for a day who was more than happy to help us with our Insta framing. And three crazy 60-something plodders who were not shy in dropping the f-bomb when the incline warranted it. A hilarious bunch all round.
Our little adventure doesn’t come close to resembling anything like hard-core trekking, but as you edge towards the summit, it’s pretty clear the experience isn’t about the physical. Yes, you’ll rediscover the joy of lactic acid overload in your legs. Yes, you do get the heart rate up to that “just give me a minute” huffy-puffy moment. But for most of us, this adventure is more about clearing the head, filling the lungs with fresh air, and stepping away from the usual domestic goddess slog of washing, housework and the kids’ sport runs.
Women Want Adventure offer up a wide range of outdoor experiences to make your weekends count. You can be as adventurous as you dare, or just indulge in some happy dawdling, sharing a few of life’s lessons with new mates.
Whether its a coastal day trip of somewhere that requires a passport, all levels of fitness are catered for, with qualified female team leaders. Just like Tracy, who also happens to make a delicious Anzac biscuit.
Oh, and I forgot to mention – morning tea and lunch is provided, just BYO your sense of adventure.
Alison Drower is a Canberra-based multi-media journalist/manager, with more than 30 years in broadcast news, sport and entertainment, including SCA and Mix 106.3. Whilst never having a grand plan for her own career, Alison is most proud of helping others get a start in the media world.