Grading Walks on Aussie Bushwalking
Grading bushwalks is a difficult and imperfect process. The difficulty of a walk depends on a variety of factors including physical requirements, navigational requirements and terrain experience; a suitably fit person may still struggle with a walk if they have limited bushwalking experience or have not been taught how to navigate correctly. Unfortunately, incorrect choice of tracks can place walkers in serious danger.
All of Aussie Bushwalking's tracks are contributed by users, so we suffer the additional difficulty that the person evaluating a walk may not be able to accurately measure it.
We encourage using the Australian Walking Track Grading System as the basis for all walks on the site. This grading system is endorsed by the Australian Parks Forum as a voluntary industry standard, hence most walks have already been graded by the appropriate body and those grades can be simply sourced from their websites or pamphlets. For other walks the Aussie Bushwalking community must make their own evaluation.
Here are the details:
|Grade 1||Grade 2||Grade 3||Grade 4||Grade 5|
|Distance||Less than 5km.||Less than 10km.||Less than 20km.||May be greater than 20km. Distance does not influence grading.||May be greater than 20km. Distance does not influence grading.|
|Gradient||Suitable for a person in a wheelchair.||Generally no steeper than 1:10||May exceed 1:10||May have arduous climbs and steep sections. May include long steep sections exceeding 1:10.||May have arduous climbs and steep sections. May include long steep sections exceeding 1:10.|
|Quality of path||Broad, hard surfaced track of path suitable for wheelchair use.||Generally a modified or hardened surface.||Formed earthen track, few obstacles. Generally a modified surface, sections may be hardened.||Generally distinct without major modification to the ground. Encounters with fallen debris and other obstacles are likely. Walkers may encounter natural obstacles (e.g. tides).||No modification of the natural environment|
|Quality of markings||Track head signage & route markers at intersections.||Track head signage & route markers at intersections.||Track head signage & route markers at intersections and where track is indistinct.||Track head signage and route markers.||Signage is generally not provided|
|Experience required||Users need no pervious experience and are expected to exercise normal care regarding their personal safety.||Users need no pervious experience and are expected to exercise normal care regarding their personal safety. Suitable for most ages and fitness levels.||Users need no bushwalking experience and a minimum level of specialised skills. Users may encounter natural hazards such as steep slopes, unstable surfaces and minor water crossings. Responsible for their own safety.||Users require a moderate level of specialised skills such as navigation skills. Users may require maps and navigation equipment to successfully complete the track. Users need to be self-reliant, particularly in regard to emergency first aid and possible weather hazards.||Users require previous experience in the outdoors and a high level of specialised skills such as navigation skills. Users will generally require a map and navigation equipment to complete the track. Users need to be self-reliant, particularly in regard to emergency first aid and possible weather hazards.|
|Steps||Steps with ramp access.||Minimal use of steps.||Steps may be common.||Steps do not influence grading.||Steps do not influence grading.|
This can be summarised as:
- Grade 1 is suitable for the disabled with assistance
- Grade 2 is suitable for families with young children
- Grade 3 is recommended for people with some bushwalking experience
- Grade 4 is recommended for experienced bushwalkers, and
- Grade 5 is recommended for very experienced bushwalkers
More information on the Australia Walking Track Grading System can be found at: