How We Travel
Nature Trail’s tour service offerings provide a choice of 3 distinct tour types:
- Hiking Tours
- Road Touring (with a choice of specialised interests)
Nature Trail’s hiking tours are delivered at a easy pace to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of our tour guests. The grade of hiking track can vary from Grade 1 (Very Easy) to Grade 4 (Very Difficult). For safety reasons, the grade of track is made known in our tour flyer and we vet applicants for suitable fitness and hiking experience before accepting a guest booking.
Whether the duration is a few short hours, half a day or a full day; every hiking tour we deliver has been thoroughly planned, reconnoitred and an appropriate route and schedule decided to allow sufficient time to approximate the timings on our tour flyer. Our focus is to experience Nature, the joy of the features of the World Heritage Area, its stunning vistas, waterfalls, gorges, flora and wildlife by chance. We do not rush like on club bushwalks, rather we provide informed and researched commentary at select times and allow time for rests and photography en route.
Road Touring with Nature Trail includes transport by our luxury restored four wheel drive P38 4.6L v8 Range Rover, we call ‘Excalibur’ with all the trimmings and kitted up for touring. We transfer our guests to hiking locations, and to deliver our range of road tours.
It seats four guests in comfort and includes the necessary provisions for a given tour. Two design features that add to the scenic benefit of travelling in this classic Range Rover are its sunroof and the low-sill window relative to the high seating position, making the visibility exceptional and ideal for sightseeing.
Since our tour vehicle has capacity for just four tour guests, when numbers exceed this we invite tour guests to utilise their own vehicle or to hire a suitable car in a ‘tag-along’ convoy arrangement.
OUR TOUR STYLE
Nature Trail’s tour style is professional, well-planned and organised and delivered in a generally relaxed was. For all our tour types is all about enabling visitors to the Blue Mountains Region and beyond explore the beautiful natural landscape in a safe, relaxed and enjoyable way and with an emphasis on customer service.
Our focus is on interpretative guiding – taking time to describe and explain what we seen and encounter en route so that all our tour guests derive the best outdoor eperience wwe can offer for a chosen tour type, area, route and schedule.
Nature Trail’s tour leadership style is primarily described as an ‘affilliate leadership style‘, which is characterised by as personable, supportive and encouraging of team harmony on any given tour. Sometimes we find also that a limited ‘coaching leadership style‘ can be valued by some tour guests who find a touring experience at times outside their comfort zone or stressful.
As a tour leader responsible for usually little know strangers in an outdoors and often remote field setting, unexpected situations can eventuate (emotional experiences, disputes, incidents and emergencies, etc ). It is at these times that our trip leader has the wisdom and interpersonal skills to adopt a secondary more ‘authoritative leadership style‘ as appropriate to take and effect direct action in the interests of a tour group’s safety and welfare.
At Nature Trail we share and communicates ideas, information and knowledge about the places we visit. We seek to provide engaging and meaningful experiences to our guests. Our aim is to foster insightful appreciation and respect for the natural, cultural and historical heritage of the Blue Mountains region and places beyond.
As a commercial tour operator, Nature Trail does not adopt the pacesetting leadership styles typical of bushwalking clubs, nor the autocratic styles of bootcamp personal trainers.
We responsibly adhere to Australia’s outdoor Leave No Trace seven principles, being:
- We plan ahead and prepare for each tour – many times over
- We hike and camp on durable surfaces
- We dispose of waste ecologically sustainably
- We leave what we find
- We minimise campfire impacts – no-one will know that we were even there!
- We respect wildlife – we hike quietly and stay well clear of wildlife presence
- We are considerate of our guests and others we encounter on tour.
Nature Trail’s hiking policy is to safely and professionally adhere to well-formed tracks and to access only safely fenced lookouts.
SMALL GROUP SIZES
Nature Trail is a small independent family-owned tour operator. We focus on bespoke to tours personably offered to smalll groups and led by one trip leader.
For our Hiking Tours this means number limits from minimum 1 guest to a maximum of 6 guests. This is to ensure manageable safety and quality of experience.
For our Road Touring, the inherent lower risks mean that our number limits can extend from minimum 1 guest to a maximum of 10 guests.
Please note that we can fit up to 4 tour guests in our dedicated luxury 4×4 tour vehicle ‘Excalibur’ and we also welcome more to join us if they have their own vehicle that can ‘tag-along’.
Our tour leader can happily provide commentary to both vehicle via a guest’s smartphone on speaker. We also provide a UHF radio communications kits between vehicles when remote and beyond cell phone reception.
All Nature Trail tours include transport pickup & return in our tour vehicle from and return a locations within the Upper Blue Mountains (Wentworth Falls to Mount Victoria), whether it be at an accommodation facility or at a tour guest’s requested rendezvous point of choice. We offer such transfers at no extra cost.
Since Nature Trail is based in Katoomba, we are only a 5 minutes drive from Katoomba Railway Station, so we often arrange to collect our tour guests from this station as they arrive from Sydney, and we meet them right on the railway platform.
We do not travel to Sydney since it is 100km from Katoomba, and it would just be too expensive to do so, compounded if we had to pick up and return to Sydney (four trips each way with multiple motorway tolls). Plus anyway Sydney traffic is typically very heavy and generally causes time wasting gridlock delays. So sensibly, our policy is not to travel to Sydney. There is a regular hourly train service directly from Sydney’s Central Station to Katoomba Station.
OUR WALKING PACE
On all Nature Trail Hiking Tours we hike at an easy pace (roughly 2kph) and easy going to enable quality time for guests to savour the Nature they pass through, to regularly pause to take photos, to be informed by interpretative insights into the landscape and to take regular rest breaks for our guests’ safety, comfort, and enjoyment.
This applies similarly to all Nature Trail’s Road Touring when out of the car(s) and walking around a village or attraction.
No hurry on a Nature Trail tour, we’re on holidays and we emphasize the journey experience as well as the destination.
This is an advanced servicce offering that we explain in detail under our Treks menu heading.