Want to get out and about and experience the great outdoors with your kids, but not sure which trails to hit?
If you are looking to explore Sydney’s spectacular backyard, get the kids off those screens and expose them to nature and all the benefits it brings then check out Soulful Hikes. The brainchild of former corporate warrior Karishma Desarda, they offer a range of customised hikes (and other activities you can tag on) that cater to a range of interests and demographics – including kids.
She took time out from planning the next outing to share a little about her passion project.
Where did the inspiration come from for Soulful Hikes?
I was in the corporate sector for a long time, but it wasn’t really my true passion. Initially I started leading small groups of people in the community on hikes, which grew over time. People I took on hikes also started sharing with me how the hikes helped them deal with a particular life situation. That was the spark – and I decided to turn it into a business.
What is Soulful Hikes all about?
Soulful Hikes is all about getting people outdoors and investing in more experiences instead of more things!
Soulful Hikes is all about getting people outdoors and investing in more experiences instead of more things!Karishma Desarda
In terms of kids I’m passionate about getting them off electronic devices and into the great outdoors. We are also trying to give back to the community by contributing to people’s mental and physical health and also building a sense of community so they feel connected to each other. It’s also giving out the message to look after one’s self and do some self care, especially for mums and busy professionals.
Tell us why our kids need to hike?
Time spent outdoors has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, elevate mood and can even help your body’s immune response – so this is a benefit for people of all ages.
For kids, hiking is more than just fresh air, it can be an opportunity to learn about nature, challenge themselves – and even learn to enthusiastically walk for a few kilometres!
Who are your kids hikes aimed at?
Our kid friendly hikes are aimed at a time poor audience or any parent who wants to get into the outdoors with their kids, either in a group, or with someone who is more experienced.
In terms of the age range, our kids themed hikes are for any age really from young bubs to 18 year olds, and are designed to be family friendly – so the parents come along. I think it can be quite isolating being a mum, so coming along on a hike can also help make friends, connect and create a community. All you need is sensible shoes, a hat, sunscreen and water.
We also do themed hikes, like a ‘Hike with Peppa’ experience where the kids get a Peppa outdoor activity sheet to complete on the hike, as well as a Peppa Pig Mini Award Medal for completing the hike and also a small gift from Peppa.
You can also celebrate your kids birthday in a unique and special way outdoors, which consists of a guided hiking tour which ends in a themed pop up picnic or high tea. This can include custom invitations, complimentary photos from the party – or an experience after the hike where the kids can do an art class, cupcake decorating or pottery painting.
How fit do you need to be to come along on a Soulful Hike experience?
All our hikes are beginner friendly and we also adjust the pace of our hikes depending on group fitness levels and we also take regular breaks to allow rest time and time to click your photos and selfies.
Kid-friendly hikes are anywhere from 1 to 2 hours long.
What about your other hikes and experiences?
Besides the dedicated kids hikes we also cater for anyone else who wants to get outdoors. Our activities are perfect for beginners, busy mums, professionals, singles who are trying to improve their fitness levels, or want to socialize and make some new friends! Our hikes are also helpful for those going through a difficult phase in their life and looking to get outdoors to begin their healing journey.
Our corporate hikes are also taking off, which are team building and bonding experiences that offer something different for that market. There are also hikes that end in a pop up picnic, yoga with a guided hike, a glamping experience – you can even dine in an igloo!
Where do you hike?
We are spoilt for choice when it comes to locations to hike in and around Sydney – there is so much green space right on our doorstep.
We break up our hikes into coastal and bush zones, but you are also free to suggest a place where you want to hike. This could range from hikes on the harbour like the stunning Manly to Freshwater (return) or a bush-themed hike exploring Lake Parramatta Reserve.
Our hike inclusions cover experienced guide with current first aid certificate, first aid equipment, public liability insurance cover, photos of the event in our facebook community
You can also keep track of what Soulful Hikes are up to, by following them on Instagram.