The walking group is one of Nillumbik U3A’s longest running groups and with good reason. We are blessed, in this region, with a proliferation of readily accessible walking tracks, affording excellent views and with many having an interesting history which few residents are aware of. But our leader Rob Gardiner is doing his best to change that, particularly in relation to the Aboriginal history of the area. Impressively, he is still managing to come up with new walks after many years on the job.
With the great outdoors as our classroom, we don’t have space restrictions so there has not, as yet, been a need to restrict numbers. There is no requirement to walk every week (though the opportunity is there even through term breaks). The term breaks afford us the opportunity to travel further afield – sometimes with an enjoyable lunch involved – as there is no need to get back for other classes.
When Rob is off walking somewhere else in the world, other members of the group step up as leaders – in particular Graham Clark. I personally find it a rewarding activity exploring on an occasional basis to find a new walk and researching the history. However, it also serves to remind me of the time involved and the effort required to do this week after week and makes me appreciate Rob’s commitment to our group even more.
We are a social group – an important feature of the walk is the coffee stop afterwards. While we have favourite coffee shops, we also make new discoveries as well.
We even have enjoyable weekends away to Gardivalia, the Gippsland Garden Festival, thanks to the efforts and hospitality of Jan Holland.
With the frosty mornings we’ve had recently, it’s been necessary to rug up and sturdy shoes are always recommended. However, in spite of this, some of our members still manage to look stylish – a feat I personally find impressive – as evidenced by the photo of Ros Camera and Heather McGain, both regular walkers.
When the sun is shining, the river is flowing, the wattle is blooming (as shown in the photo above, which was taken at Tikalara Park on a recent walk), and the company is convivial, what’s not to love?