Here are some general guidelines about a typical Forest Therapy Walk:
There is a large variety of trail conditions available around Melbourne and beyond into regional Victoria. No two Forest Therapy trails are the same and a given trail will change with the weather and the seasons.
The walk will last for between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the duration you have requested. Most walks commence in the morning, but mid-morning, afternoon, or early evening walks can be arranged at appropriate times of the year.
Most walks follow a loop trail, finishing at or close to where we began. However linear trails or a combination may also suit the trail.
Depending on the location and whether we are in a formal garden, nature reserve, local parkland, national park, or bushland we will be potentially walking along a mixture of pavements, boardwalks, gravel, dirt, or grass paths. Generally, we do not go "bush bashing" as this is damaging to the environment and potentially risky.
It is highly recommended that you visit the nearest toilet facilities before the walk commences as it will be nearly 2-3 hours before we return to our starting point and most trails do not have toilets along our chosen trail.
The walk can include some uneven surfaces and moderate slopes, both up and down, but does not include any climbing, scrambling, or water crossings. Walks are generally graded as an Easy bushwalk.
Over the time of our walk, we will usually walk only about 1 to 2 kilometres from start to finish, including wandering off the path during the walk and the short return to the car park area.
Most parks, especially urban ones, are popular for picnics, walking, bird watching, or cycling (especially on weekends) and we can anticipate sharing the park with other people, including their dogs (hopefully on a leash), and the diverse fauna of the area. During the warmer months, we may encounter snakes so it is advisable to always practice safe trail navigation and follow the recommendations of your guide when walking both on and off paths.
Your Forest Therapy Guide will provide you with an explanation of the history, meaning, and benefits of Forest Therapy as a public health practice, but this walk is not designed as an educational or therapy session. Nature is your therapist, with the Forest Therapy Guide as your facilitator.
A Forest Therapy walk is not an energetic, exercise walk. It is a very slow, relaxing meander through nature that is suitable for all persons of all mobility levels. It is done mostly quietly and with no technology to distract us. It is very much a matter of the journey being the focus, not the destination.
The walk will consist of a number of activities that your Forest Therapy Guide will offer to you to participate in. These activities are designed to assist you with slowing down and reconnecting with nature through your senses and creativity and are not mandatory or prescriptive. Please feel free to stay within your own comfort levels, although there is nothing offered that is difficult or risky.