This month we sat down with Oscar Bedford, one of our longstanding guides. Oscar grew up in the north west of Tasmania in a remote area on a 60 acre bush block, and his childhood years were spent exploring the bush, hunting, fishing, building, hiking, and camping. Having travelled to a few places around the word – Cambodia, Thailand, Norway, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Oscar says nothing beats being back in Australia.
1. First up: Do you prefer trekking mainland Australia, or Tasmania?
I couldn’t say I prefer one over the other as they are both just amazing in so many different ways. Tasmania will always be home to me and I can’t wait to be back there.
2. Why did you want to be a guide? When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
I knew from the age of ten that I wanted to spend time outdoors. I would take family friends hiking up Cradle Mountain and just loved seeing the reaction on their faces; getting such joy from the views and landscape, from an area that seemed so normal to me. I knew that guiding was something I wanted to do as a career when I saw my brother traveling the world, guiding in different countries and experiencing destinations on a deeper level than normal visitors do.
3. What are the biggest misconception people have about the job?
That guiding is as much of a holiday for us as it is for the clients. While clients see us work very hard, preparing meals and setting up for the night, some may not realise that the role can be stressful and draining. We are constantly looking at ways to mitigate risks, ensure a seamless trekking and camping experience, cater for client needs and wants, and make decisions that are in the best interest of the group’s safety and enjoyment. This means that we are always ‘switched on’, regardless of what time of the day or night it is.
4. What is the best part of your job?
The best part of being a guide is having the ability see so much of Australia and world; bringing joy, excitement and helping people experience the land and have an amazing holiday. There’s a huge sense of satisfaction in that.
5. What advice do you have for people who feel they aren’t experienced enough to go on a multi day trek.
Don’t think that you can’t do it. Of course you can – all you need is knowledge, and with knowledge comes understanding. Talk to others who have done treks that are similar, research your trek, and prepare for it – physically and mentally. That way you get the experience you need, which should alleviate most (if not all) of your concerns.
6. Why is group travel sometimes a better option than trekking independently?
Group travel has many benefits from meeting new people who share the same values and enjoy the same adventures. It takes the guess work out of planning – knowing that the little and big things will be handled for you by a trekking company. From food to transport, first aid and access to areas – it’s all taken care of.
7. If you had to pick out three unmissable trips to go on, what would you pick?
- Rafting Franklin River would be my number one trip. The area is so remote, inaccessible by car and challenging to walk through, that rafting is the only way to see and experience this part of Tasmania.
- The Bungle Bungles in WA is out of this world. When I first saw it, I could have believed I was in another country.
- The South Coast Track in Tasmania is as far south as you can get in Australia. Trekking along pristine beaches and over rugged ranges and though the cleanest mud… you can’t beat it.
8. Is there anywhere in Australia you are busting to explore?
I’d love to explore Arnhem Land in northern Australia, but there are so many places I’d love to see. Even Tasmania has so much to be explored – and I’ve lived there most of my life!
9. After 7 years working as a guide, what keeps you interested in guiding?
The adventures to be had, the people I get to meet and the friends I have made.
10. What was your most memorable guiding experience?
Meeting my fiancé on a Larapinta 9 day private group trek 🙂