NPA recognises that walks grading is a contentious issue among the bush walking community given the high level of subjectivity involved. We have therefore chosen to use the guidelines of the Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs NSW as these are both practical and directly linked to the insurance policy under which all NPA members are covered.

In line with previous NPA guidelines it is still necessary to add a descriptive element of potential hazards when proposing walks and these should be listed accordingly in the walks description. There is also a sub-heading to describe the walk terrain and for walks classified above Grade 3 we request that ascent and descent figures are also included.

Grade 1 - Opportunity for large number of walkers, including those with reduced walking ability to walk on well marked and even tracks. Tracks are man made and may have a few steps. Should not be steep. Suitable for beginners. Distance should not exceed about 10km.

Grade 2 - Mostly on tracks of low gradient. Opportunity to walk easily in natural environments on well marked tracks.  Tracks should not be steep. Distance should not exceed about 15km.

Grade 3 - Walk  with some hilly sections &/or rougher terrain. Opportunity to walk on defined and distinct tracks with some steep sections requiring a moderate level of fitness. Suitable for fit beginners. Distance should not exceed about 20 km.

Grade 4 - Steeper, rougher terrain & may have off-track sections (no more than one quarter of the walk) or a longer distance track walk. Opportunity to explore and discover relatively undisturbed natural environments mostly along defined and distinct tracks.  Tracks can be steep.   There may be short sections of rock scrambling involved. Leaders should have map reading abilities and/or ability to use a compass. Distance depending on circumstances.  Not suitable for most beginners.

Grade 5 - Off-track or difficult terrain. Opportunity for walkers with advanced outdoor knowledge and skills to find their own way along often in distinct tracks or off track in remote locations.  May include steep sections of unmodified surfaces.  There may be rock scrambling, creek walking & crossing involved. Distance should not exceed 30 km, but may be short & difficult.  Not suitable for beginners.

Grade 6 - Strenuous off-track walk or very long distance. Opportunity for highly experienced walkers to explore remote and challenging natural areas without reliance on managed tracks. Terrain may be steep, uneven and no track.  There may be rock scrambling, creek walking & crossing involved. Distance covered is unlimited, but may be short & difficult. Only for experienced walkers and not suitable for beginners.

Agenda

  1. A grading Special or T.I.E. (Take It Easy) may be added to any grade where suitable. This is a shorter, slower paced walk for people with lesser fitness. May be some rougher terrain. This is for some older or less fit people who may like to do some harder walks, possibly including off track but at their own pace.
  2. Exploratory walks may take place in the higher grades, but participants should be advised that the walk is exploratory.
  3. National Park party size limits where applicable are to be complied with.
  4. Some variations to the definitions above may be needed to cover some walks, & participants should be advised of this.