At We Are Explorers, we rarely feel like we have to make noise and fanfare about women going outside, because for us, it’s as natural as a Southerly Buster bringing a cool afternoon change.


For us, women simply being outdoors isn’t an accomplishment, but rather very much the norm. Half of our staff are women, we have more female contributors than male ones, and around half of our readers are women too. 

But we also know that it’s worth celebrating the unique experiences of women in the outdoors and just how far women have come in the outdoor scene (while recognising that there’s still a way to go).

So for International Women’s Day (the holiest day on the secular calendar), we asked our female contributors and staff ‘What does it mean to be feminine in the outdoors?’. 

Here’s what they said. 

Sian Brain

Digital Campaign Producer & Paddler

The outdoors is feminine after all! Mother Earth, sea shells, springtime and flowers, giant mama trees, a cool breeze on warm skin. Being feminine in the outdoors to me is slowing things down. It’s laying on the grass and looking at the blue sky, heavy clouds, expansive stars and connecting with what is around you, your breath, being vulnerable, being a human.


Aimee O’Keefe

For me, being outdoors has always been the one thing that removes me from the underlying, imminent pressures of femininity that I feel. 

Ever since I was a kid, I’d run outside, climb trees, play in the mud, and get dirty. I’d feel most like myself when I was outdoors, whether it be swimming in the ocean, running through the bush or on my own little Aussie suburban bushland adventure. 



Perhaps it’s the removal of the importance of image when you’re immersed in nature, which is so much bigger than how you look or feel. Perhaps it’s the strange power of nature to mute your thoughts and preconceptions. 

Or perhaps it’s just how it should be. Existing despite gender norms and societal expectations of how a female should be, act, and look. The outdoors is simplicity at its finest, in its raw, purest, and most authentic form. And this radiates. 

So, to me, being feminine in the outdoors means being free. 

Free to be nothing but myself, free to wear a dress if I feel like it, free to get dirty and swim naked in lakes, free to get my nails done at the next town, free to wear no shoes and have dirty feet, free to get annoyed if coffee spills on my favourite shirt, free to shave, or not. Just free. Because when you’re lucky to find yourself immersed in the beauty that is the outdoors, all that matters is existing.


Anna Wall

Senior Digital Campaign Producer

With each turn of the earth, we witness the growth, life and constant evolution of nature. Being feminine in the outdoors is about embracing these wild, natural parts of us all. It’s about dirty soil-covered feet, bathing in rivers, and feeling the freedom, grounding, and revitalisation that comes from connecting with the earth.


Sarah Schmitt

Contributor, Mum, & Hiker

It’s the freedom to become undone, to be wild. To untangle from the world I inhabit day to day and the roles I play – mother, wife, daughter. To tune in to my body, how it feels, how strong and resilient it is in spite of my age, size, and what the world wants me to hear about what I’m capable of achieving.

How Two Mums Made Space For Adventure (& Walked The Cape to Cape Track), Sarah Schmitt, trail, ocean

Kate Donald

Contributor & Long Distance Hiker

Wearing a dress hiking has been a total game changer to taking back femininity in the outdoors!

Emily Barlow

Contributor & Hiker

There’s an innate sense of femininity in nature. To get subtle goosebumps from a warm breeze, to lie flat on the earth watching the sky, to swim naked in a freshwater hole, or laugh at the sheer crazy beauty of where you are; this is to embrace the gentle, inspiring feeling of being feminine. I always feel completely at ease in the outdoors, more connected to my (predominantly female) friends who adventure with me, more creative, more confident, and more excited to learn new skills.


Photo by Julia Bergin

Alissa Ward

Contributor, MTB Rider & Hiker

From the day I got my first proper bike with the money I’d saved up myself, I remember playing on my childhood streets with the boys. There weren’t many girls on the street, or at least not many that wanted to play outside and learn to ride our bikes downhill with no hands. 

It wasn’t until I moved to Australia, some 15 years later, that I really started exploring the outdoors and stepped into my version of femininity. At first, it was mostly exploring with male friends that I’d accumulated, and me always trying to keep up with their much longer legs and being wildly out of breath at every break we took. 

But then, something flipped. I finally decided I didn’t need to prove myself by keeping up with others to have a right to be there. Now I just show up exactly where I’m at in life. Some days that’s feeling bloated and exhausted and trailing way behind, but still getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the sky change colours. Whether it’s a moody Tuesday and I’m in a funk or I’m the strongest I’ve ever been while climbing new peaks, I think being feminine in the outdoors is mostly just about showing up and creating that representation. 

I think of myself as incredibly lucky to have the privilege and dedication to spend my time exploring more, pushing myself further, learning where my capabilities are, and owning my shortcomings without feeling the need to be a master of all skills. 

Navigating femininity in the outdoors is something I often shy away from talking about. But then I think about all of the amazing women I’ve connected with, the empowering experiences I’ve had with them and embracing what it means to keep showing up, and I understand why it’s so important to discuss.

Delila Bevan Zavadsky

Contibutor & Ocean Lover

Acknowledging the cyclical nature of the environment, and having respect for this, feels feminine in nature to me. This comes in the form of approaching the outdoors in a gentle manner and accessing it when it is wanting to share itself.

Alice Wisse

Contributor, Hiker, & Bird Watcher

For me, being feminine in the outdoors is all about getting dirty, being brave, feeling strong, climbing high, camping alone. In short, it’s about throwing off everything society says women can’t do or shouldn’t be and melding with the landscape, simply, as me.


Eva Davis-Boermans

Contributor & Surfer

To me, being feminine in the outdoors simply means being visible and participating. That act in itself, whatever that might look like to you, shouldn’t be underestimated. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a girl or a woman surfing somewhere or hiking a trail or trying snowboarding or learning to skate, and instantly felt more able to do that thing myself. 

From being a nine-year-old grom poring over surfer girl magazines, to now checking the waves and feeling a sense of relief when I spot a woman already in the line up. Just witnessing other women in the outdoors is so powerful. It makes me want to get out there and do more of the things I love.

There’s no one version of femininity, and they’re all valid and important. So whatever yours is, bring it outside and put it on display. You never know who’s watching or who you’ll inspire simply by existing. 


Brooke Nolan

Contributor, Hiker, & Wild Swimmer

The outdoors is probably the only place I feel feminine. I usually feel clumsy, uncomfortable, and self concious. But in nature I feel free. I feel wild. And I feel capable. There’s nothing more feminine than simply feeling like the best version of yourself.

Amy Fairall

News & Features Editor

Being feminine in the outdoors is allowing yourself to flow with nature, not fight against it. It’s existing in nature without barrier or resistance and understanding that you’re totally at its mercy. It’s allowing yourself to be folded into nature and led by it, rather than attempting to challenge, coerce, and control it. 



It’s letting the salty tug of the ocean drift you over the crest, it’s mimicking back bird song, it’s enjoying the shade and company of a tree, it’s bidding the sun good morning and good night. 

Femininity in the outdoors is knowing that attempting to conquer nature is futile, as we are a part of nature too.