WA Wanderers Take it Outdoors

The founders of WA Wanderers – a bushwalking group for men – explain what led them to form the group and just what it is all about.

When Andrew and Brian relocated from Adelaide to Perth in late 2007 for work, they looked around for a bushwalking group and discovered a gap in the offerings for gay men in Perth with an inclination for exploring the outdoors.  So, inspired by the success of the Sapphic Trampers, they decided to find out if there was any interest from the local men in forming a group.  

“We wanted to meet new people in Perth,” says Andrew, “and we also wanted to get out an about to explore our new state, so it made sense to do both at the same time.  For more than 15 years we were members of a bushwalking group in South Australia called the Happy Wanderers, and through that we met lots of guys who wanted to be social and do something active.”

Responses to an ad in Out in Perth in mid-2008 indicated there was a demand in the Perth gay men’s community, so they organised a first hike through Bold Park on a sunny and warm late winter day.  At that first meeting, Tom, who had been an active member of the Christchurch New Zealand Lambda Day Trampers bushwalking group, volunteered to create and look after the new group’s website.

Then came the big challenge – getting the word out that there was now a group for gay men to explore Perth’s outdoors.  The website has helped with this, as has a regular ad in the Out In Perth Community Directory.  Some five years and sixty hikes later, numbers have increased from three on the first walk to an ever-expanding mailing list of over 90 people, with walks regularly attracting between 10 and 20 walkers.

“The group is a varied mix of men of various ages and levels of fitness,” says Brian.  “We are trying to get a good mix of walks to cater for different abilities and interests.  Some people are happy with a leisurely walk along the beach, while others are keen to try something more challenging.“

The next step in the evolution of the group was the realisation that we needed to become an incorporated group in WA so that we could avail ourselves of insurance for leaders and walkers alike. This culminated in our incorporation as WA Wanderers Mens Bushwalking Inc. in December 2012.

Past WA Wanderers walks have included trekking through the John Forrest National Park in the rain; tramping the hot limestone hills of the Yanchep National Park, a annual walking trip to Rottnest Island as well as weekends away further afield such as Dunsborough and the Porongurup’s.

The WA Wanderers enter their eleventh year in 2019 and invite others to join them. We usually walk the third Sunday of every month, departing at 9am from a designated meeting point, where walkers show up at 8:30am to gather before arranging car pools to the day’s walk.  BUT please check our events calendar as dates and times vary.