In September 2023, our Emu Trekkers guide Brad Phillips was one of the few Australians to complete the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in Chamonix, France. We sat down with Brad to hear more about his wild (perhaps crazy) experience.
Brad, last week I logged onto Strava and saw that you had gone for a run. But this was not your average run. You ran 181km in 40 hours in the European Alps and climbed almost 10,000m of elevation. That is the equivalent of around 4 marathons back to back, ascending more than the entire height of Everest. Can you tell me a little bit about this race and what inspired you to take on such a crazy adventure?
I certainly had plenty of time to think about that while I was out there. The UTMB is such an iconic event and the premiere ultra marathon in the world. It's a 100-mile trail running race with 10,000m of elevation gain and you have 46.5 hours to complete it. Crazy for sure!
I have a few reasons for wanting to do it:
- Firstly, I love being outdoors in nature and the trail around Mont Blanc has always been something I've wanted to experience. Now there's a far more civilised way to do that by taking a 10-day hiking trip but this is the express experience if you like.
- Secondly, when you get into any sport that you love you tend to seek out the pinnacle event or experience in that sport and this race is definitely the pinnacle of trail running.
- Finally, I think our bodies are remarkable things and allow us to accomplish so much. Seeing whether I could do this and get fit enough and strong enough to complete a race this hard was appealing to me.
Since Emu Trekkers hikes began in 2017, our mission has always been to offer adventurous hiking tours around Sydney and Australia and use the proceeds to support the education, healthcare and welfare of disadvantaged children and youth. Or put simply: Hike Australia. Help Kids.
We’re extremely proud to announce that thanks to more than 2,600 adventurous people from over 40 countries, we’ve been able to donate a total of $150,000 to help kids.
The donated funds are split between two organisations doing incredible work.
Emu Trekkers is excited to recommence our hiking tours, following a period of hibernation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to taking new and old guests into the outdoors, to explore the wonders of Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
While some of our trips remain unavailable due to damage caused by fire and flood, we are steadily increasing the number of tours available, and the frequency of those tours. Our two-day Six Foot Track tour is one to keep an eye out for. It offers an awesome opportunity to explore one of Australia's most iconic trails, and to experience off-grid accommodation in an Ecolodge and some wine tasting along the way.
Should you have any questions as to which trips are likely to be available in the future, please get in contact us. We are also available for private and bespoke tours upon request.
We look forward to seeing you soon and being part of the recovery!
by Tristan Harley, CEO of Emu Trekkers.
There is no denying that the previous financial year (July 2019 to June 2020) was an incredibly tumultuous period that will forever be etched in our memories.
We would like to express our wishes to all those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, as well as those impacted by the bushfires and floods that hit our region in the summer of 2020. We thank all those who have helped preserve our communities and environment during these times.
Over the past months, Emu Trekkers has been deeply saddened and concerned by the impact the Australian bushfire crisis has had on our environment and our communities. These fires have resulted in tragic loss of life, immense destruction of our natural flora and fauna, and damage to our houses and infrastructure. Emu Trekkers’ operations have also been impacted, requiring many cancellations of our trips during the peak tourism period.
Like many others in the community, Emu Trekkers is keen to play a role in the recovery of our communities and our natural environment.
Since August 2018, we have proudly supported UNICEF Australia with their mission to promote and protect children's rights around the world, and we have today donated a further $10,000 to UNICEF to help their efforts supporting children and their families affected by the devastating Australian bushfire crisis.
By Tristan Harley, CEO of Emu Trekkers.
Over the past month or so, Emu Trekkers has been deeply saddened and concerned by the impact the Australian bushfires are currently having on our environment and our communities. These fires have already resulted in tragic loss of life, immense destruction of our natural flora and fauna, and damage to our houses and infrastructure. With no significant rain forecast, it is still unclear what further impacts will arise.
We would like to thank all those who have been working tirelessly to help fight these fires. Witnessing the community rally together during these tough times is one of the few positives to emerge from these events. We would also like to send our love and support to all our volunteers, community partners, friends and family who live and work in these regions and have been affected by these fires.
At Emu Trekkers, we firmly believe that we need to take more decisive action to address climate change and mitigate its impacts. We are disappointed by the lack of leadership we have seen from our government on this issue, not just during these fires, but over the course of many years. For too long, the warnings of our scientists have gone unheeded. That Australia was recently ranked last in Climate Policy is a reflection of our failures as a community to respond to these urgent issues.
By Jody Hammond
Woohoo! Here at Emu Trekkers we are both proud and humbled to be awarded the gold prize for adventure tourism at this year’s NSW Tourism Awards, announced last week.
Acknowledging the great work of our volunteers, the NSW Business Chamber recognised our passion, skills and the work we do to raise money for children’s charities. While we were announced as winners of adventure tourism, there was also talk of how we are at the forefront of what may become known as social tourism.
There are more than 50 volunteers of all ages in our team. In their ‘other lives’, they are doctors, designers, marketers, lawyers, scientists, engineers and retirees, among other things.
Behind the scenes, we have volunteers doing the marketing and PR, business development, bookings, volunteer co-ordination, walk provisioning and website design and management. At the front end, our volunteers are leading walks from the Spit to Manly in Sydney, Blue Mountains (overnight and day walks) and the Royal National Park overnight. In the two years since we launched, we have gone from offering one walk to five different overnight treks and walks. As the judges of the tourism awards noted, a “wonderful tourism product” with a “high ethic” and “charitable foundations”.
We combine our expertise to run a not-for-profit business that puts smiles on so many faces – from our participants to the beneficiaries of our donations to ourselves. As our volunteer Tad put it: “I always enjoy hearing the stories and perceptions of people that come from all over the world. In return, I share my knowledge about the bush, history and life in Australia. The train ride back is quiet as we all rest our tired legs and take in the sense of accomplishment. I'm super proud of the entire Emu Trekker organisation for being awarded Best Adventure Tourism by the NSW Tourism Board.”
This week Emu Trekkers has been recognised as a finalist in the 2019 NSW Tourism Awards in the Adventure Tourism category!
“The NSW Tourism Awards are the most prestigious awards in the tourism industry, with a long history of celebrating and recognising business excellence, innovation and outstanding customer service by tourism operators” NSW Business Chamber CEO, Stephen Cartwright said.
Managed by the Tourism Industry Division of the NSW Business Chamber and supported by Destination NSW, the NSW Tourism Awards celebrate and acknowledge tourism businesses that demonstrate outstanding achievement throughout the year.
We are so excited to be shortlisted as a Finalist. It has been an enormous year of growth for Emu Trekkers with more exciting chapters ahead. In 2019, we raised $60,000 to support the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and UNICEF, introduced 1064 participants to the beautiful Australian outdoors, and collectively hiked over 15,000 kilometres.
With our team being made up of volunteers from all walks of life and a diverse range of skills with a passion for adventure and the outdoors with all proceeds going to charity, we are just so proud to be in the running to win!
There’s plenty of reasons why volunteering as a guide with Emu Trekkers is awesome. But one of our favourites is all the new skills we get to learn.
The World Heritage listed Blue Mountains are just two hours from Sydney and home to some of the best hiking in Australia. We guess there's a reason we run so many hikes there right?! Here is our pick of the best hikes in the area.