Australian Bushwalking Track Classifications

Carnarvon Gorge Ampitheatre Class 3 Track 3 Track"/>Following large scale search and rescue operations, where some people walked on tracks outside their capability, it was decided to develop a uniform standard for walking tracks across Australia.

Land managers use this standard to develop the tracks and facilities under their jurisdiction, which means hikers, from all states and international, can quickly ascertain the standard of their proposed hike.

Release Of Standard For Walking Track Classification

When the Australian Standard was released in September, 2001, the Chief Ranger of Parks Victoria, Mr. Neville Byrne, said the standard means an overseas visitor can expect an appropriate level of sign-posting and facilities whether they embark on a scenic trip along the Bibullman Track or they tackle the Great South West Walk in Victoria or the Overland Track in Tasmania.

Six Classes Of Bushwalking Tracks

The Standard has a six-level classification of track types commonly found throughout Australia. This has been reduced from 12 different systems that once operated in the country.

Class 1 TrackTracks cater for people to be able to walk easily.The tracks can handle large numbers of visitors.Caters for reduced mobility, including wheelchairs.Interpretative signage and facilities.Steps are included where required.No previous experience in the bush is needed.Users are expected to care for their own personal safety.Class 2 TrackTracks are constructed for people to walk easily.A hiker can expect large number of visitors.Caters for all fitness levels, with low gradients.No previous experience is needed.Some interpretative signs are provided.Class 3 TrackTracks are constructed to enable people to walk in a slightly modified natural environment.There may be some natural hazards on the track, such as steep slopes, basic water crossings and possibly sections of unstable ground.A moderate level of fitness is required.No previous experience in bushwalking is needed.Walkers need to be responsible for their own safety.Class 4 TrackTracks are defined with few facilities.The natural environment has been generally left undisturbed.Tracks provide walkers the opportunity to experience the environment on their own.Hikers may need minor skills at navigation.Hikers must have basic first aid skills and be prepared for various weather conditions.Class 5 TrackClass 5 tracks are generally in remote areas providing hikers with the opportunity to experience the natural environment in an undisturbed manner.Navigation skills and associated navigation equipment such as compass and GPS may be requiredThese tracks are for hikers with experience in the outdoors.Hikers will have to be self reliant and be able to cope with first aid as well as various weather conditions.Class 6 TrackThese tracks are the most remote and difficult; usually little more than a foot-pad through the bush.High levels of bushwalking experience are required.Navigation skills, and appropriate maps and navigation equipment will be required.Hikers need to be self-reliant and cater for their own safety, which includes first aid knowledge and equipment.The weather can be an issue on these tracks, so hikers must be able to cater for any sudden changes.As an example of track classifications in Australia, the hike though Carnarvon Gorge to the Big Bend campsite is classified as a Class 3 under the Australian Standard AS 2156.

These classifications are a guide only. Further detailed information should be sourced before heading out on any track walk in the Australian bush.