The We Are Explorers team went on a hike with Dan Jee, better known as Hikeandseek, to find out how he started an adventure community.


We met Dan at Evans Lookout near Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. It’s a quintessential Blue Mountains lookout, with huge sweeping views across the Blue Gum Forest.

Dan had his signature wide brim hat on and a backpack that had an air of Mary Poppins magic about it (he had everything in there!). Apart from that, he was decked out in new hiking gear from Arc’teryx and was pretty stoked about it.

We Recorded A Podcast On This Hike: Listen to Inside Out – Part 1 just dropped!

We caught up with Dan thanks to Arc. If you’ve seen their jackets, you’ll know they’re pretty bomber, but what you might not know is that their ethos is pretty cool too. 

Arc’teryx are on a mission to support the adventure community in Australia, and champion those that are helping others get outside. 

Which is what Dan does. He’s an adventure tour guide who’s been sharing the outdoors with others since he started his Instagram account way back in 2013. 

On this day he took us to a little slice of paradise called the Grand Canyon Track. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s one of the most popular tracks in the area. But Dan took us to a lesser known part of the track which leads to the exit of the canyon (the perks of going with a guide!). 

‘Before we even start,’ Dan begins, ‘we need to always pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the land, to the elders past and present of the Gundungurra and the Dharug people, of whose land this hike is on.’ 

‘We’re very lucky to have this land to hike upon and see so much beauty. We’re very thankful to them for it.’

Dan’s passion for the outdoors is infectious. 

It wasn’t always this way though.

Starting A Community

Before 2013 Dan had never really hiked at all. He was a self proclaimed introvert who spent a lot of time playing video games. 

A minor injury disrupted the routine of Dan’s life and stopped him from engaging in the only outdoor activity he took part in, soccer. 

Forced to find a new way to stay fit he started driving out of the big smoke to explore new areas and began solo hiking. 

‘Those that live on the Central Coast will know a place called Chittaway point. I just drove my car along there one day. There were a few black swans floating around and the reflection of the sky was perfectly glazed on the top of the water.’

‘I took a photo of that moment, in 2013, it was a wow moment. That’s the first photo I put up and it pretty much symbolises the beginning of my adventures. One defining moment that showed me that I love nature.’


Dan’s first Instagram photo at Chittaway point


And slowly the Hikeandseek community began. 

Dan continued to share his adventures online and eventually began taking out friends and colleagues, and even strangers who reached out to him on Instagram asking for help, as they took their first steps into nature. 


First Solo Hike, Dan Gee, @hikeandseek, blue mountains, wentworth falls, waterfall

Dan’s first solo hike!


‘I realised quite early on that what I took for granted and thought was a skill everyone could have, was something maybe not everybody did, and maybe I can use these skills for a bigger purpose. That’s when I felt that guiding is something that I could do.’ 

‘Lots of people would say there’s no way I could have gothere without you. How do you even find these places? These things rang in my head.’ 

Man on a Mission

Guiding is more than just a personal passion for Dan. He’s a huge advocate for helping others discover the outdoors just as he did, and he’s on a mission to teach others respect for nature and for the Traditional Owners of the land

‘I really want to teach the people that come with me, the respect and the awareness they need to have for what they see.  Not just “oh this place looks great, I’m gonna admire it”, but what are you going to do to protect and preserve it?’

Sharing the outdoors with others can be a double-edged sword, and Dan has received some backlash from those who want to keep beautiful places a secret. 

‘Because there’s home ownership [near natural places], people view places that they see as their own, their special place that should be kept a secret. 

‘But here we are, not as Traditional Owners, squabbling about who can and cannot go somewhere.’

‘My vision as Hikeandseek has always been to share what knowledge I have with people, however limited it may be, to help them see beauty and connect with nature and help them to respect it. To help them to see why they need to care for it.’ 

Leave No Trace principles are a big part of Dan’s tours. He even carries a glove with him so others on his tour can pick up rubbish if they don’t want to get their hands dirty. 


Northern Blue Mountains Guiding, Dan Gee, @hikeandseek,

Your Friendly Adventure Guide

Up until recently Dan was taking mates and small groups out on hikes for the love of it. 

It wasn’t until Covid that he decided to give it a red hot go to make this a living. 

But how does one even become a guide? 

There are TAFE courses in guiding or orienteering courses offered by companies around Australia. You can also get a gig with a tour company that’s already established. 

Read more: How an Outdoor Qualification Can Lead to Your Dream Job

Dan applied directly for the NSW National Parks Eco Pass program after years of honing his skills.

‘There was a lot of self research and work to do behind the scenes. Each park has their own set of rules, so you have to learn about the parks that you go to and what to look out for and talk about.’ 

‘NSW Parks set out a long list of requirements they want from you including an annual business plan that shows how prepared you are in every scenario, that includes things like Aboriginal cultural awareness which is a big part of the NSW Parks licensing.’ 

We Recorded A Podcast On This Hike: Listen to Inside Out – Part 1 just dropped!