Explorer Kate Donald ditched the concrete jungle years ago for the open skies and sprawling nature of the countryside. But she knows not everyone has this option, so she’s compiled a list of ways to live an outdoorsy life in the city.

Melbourne Born and Bred

I grew up in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, where catching up over coffee, and going shopping was a regular weekend past time. That was, until I fell in love with hiking. I quickly became addicted; obsessed over meticulously planning trips and the thrill of exploring new places.

It became my entire being, so much so, that I moved to the mountains to make them my permanent home. Not everyone has the luxury of leaving the city behind, due to family, study, work or commitments that tie you to the big smoke. So how does one live an outdoorsy life without moving away from the city?

Read More: 11 Adventures in Melbourne’s City Limits

1. Discover Your Surrounds

No need to travel far to reap the rewards of time spent in nature. There are plenty of reserves, state forests, and national parks just outside of the city boundaries, with some accessible by public transport. We Are Explorers has made it easy to explore ‘microadventures’, with article destinations marked on an interactive map. Simply search your location, zoom in, scroll around, and discover new places to explore nearby.

Read More: Your Complete Guide to Adventures Near Sydney


2. Ditch The Cafe Catch Up

One of the greatest lifestyles changes I made to spend more time outdoors was altering the way I caught up with friends. Rather than catching up for a coffee, a beer or hitting the shopping malls, we swapped it for an outdoor activity.

Hitting the trail, rather than the same old café, will not only get the heart pumping and clear the mind, but stimulate some really deep conversations out in nature. Your usual, everyday catch up has the potential to become a life-long memory instead.

Read More: A Trail Runner’s Guide to Exploring Adelaide


3. Try an Indoor, Outdoor Activity

There are heaps of cool indoor centres in major cities to try a new activity without having to travel hours to reach them. Think climbing or bouldering gyms, indoor skydiving, trampoline parks, indoor snow resorts, white water centres – the options are endless. These centres are a playground for adults, to step outside of the comfort zone, in a safe environment. They come at varying price tags, from $20 for a bouldering session, to $100 for an indoor skydiving experience.

Read More: The Best Bouldering and Climbing Gyms in Brisbane


Hey Sydney, Here's Another Bouldering Gym For Ya!, photos thanks to 9 Degrees Bouldering Gyms, woman, climb, route

Photo thanks to 9 Degrees Bouldering Gyms

4. Find a Community

They say ‘you are who you surround yourself with’ so find a group of people with similar interests to stay motivated.

When I was at uni, I joined a ski and snowboard team to meet new people and score rides up to the snow. There were always epic events planned; I’m talking backyard rail jams, big air bags, and of course, plenty of snowboarding.

Facebook groups are an awesome place to find adventure buddies. The ‘We Are Explorers Community – AUS & NZ’ Facebook group is a great place to start.

Read More: Coolest Water Activities in Perth


5. Make The Most of Your Day

During summer, the days are so long it’s easy to get exploring before or after work. Wake up an hour earlier and catch sunrise on the beach, in the forest, or on top of a mountain.

Alternatively, rather than going straight from the office to the couch, put your phone away and take a stroll outside to wind down. It may feel like an effort at the time, but I guarantee you’ll thank me later.

Read more: How to Squeeze More Outdoors Time Into Your Workday


The Great Walk West Is Open!, photo courtesy of the City of Parramatta, people, hiking, sunlight

Photo courtesy of the City of Parramatta

6. Explore Your Backyard (Literally)

Utilise that little slice of heaven called the backyard. I’m not saying ‘set up a tent in the backyard’, realistically, who’s doing that when there’s a comfortable bed just metres away?

Whether you’ve got a sprawling backyard and garden, a balcony or a courtyard, turn it into an oasis. Add some pot plants, vegetable boxes, hammocks; the more comfortable and alive you make it, the more enticing this outdoor space will be.


7. Prioritise Happiness

Living in the city makes it feel like there’s an event every single weekend; a birthday, a new bar opening, an engagement party. But take some time to prioritise the things that make you happy. If that thing is getting outdoors, allocate at least one weekend a month to feed your soul with nature.

Escape the city; utilise those days off to really explore somewhere new for the weekend. Who knows, you might fall madly, deeply in love with a place, and never return to the city.

After month long lockdowns, there’s a reason so many people are moving to the country. For me, country living made getting outside so much simpler, with miles of open space to explore. If the goal is to live an adventurous life, and you have the freedom to live and work anywhere, leaving the city to live rurally was the number one best decision I ever made to living a life outdoors.