International Hiking Day 2022
Teva celebrates International Hiking Day by chatting with dedicated adventurer and award-winning tour guide Scotty Connell about the wonders of the Kimberley, his top hiking spots, essentials to pack, and why the Kimberley Foundation is the backbone behind everything he does.
There really is nothing quite like the great outdoors. The smell, the feel and the freedom that comes with stepping out into nature, away from the chaos that is town and all that comes with it. In the Kimberley we have a saying that a ‘day can feel like a week and a week can change the way you feel forever.’ It’s so true, you’ll know what we mean if you visit.
I’m Scotty Connell and I live with my beautiful wife Taminga and our family of six little people in the far north of Western Australia in a region called the Kimberley.
We are one of the least densely populated wilderness areas on the planet and we have less than 50,000 people covering an area of over 424,000 square kms. It’s a world class tropical savannah to explore, nurture and cherish.
I was raised in Broome and Taminga is a Gija/Bunaba woman. We both love nothing more than getting out and exploring our backyard.
Hiking in a place like the Kimberley brings about a sense of awe and wonder for what God has hand crafted to perfection for us to enjoy. His spirit that hovers over the land, the sea and the sky is so alive and tangible, you can feel it in your every breath.
For fun, I hike off into the bush on multi-day hikes, I always am nervous packing the night before. It’s a strange sensation, knowing you’re going to do something you’ve done so many times but it’s the anticipation that keeps me awake through the night before I go. I do not leave the house without my Teva boots and a few pairs of good socks.
The terrain is very harsh, a lot of rocks, steep hills and gorges that I have to swim through. I’ve found my new TEVA Grandview GTX boots to be the most comfortable, versatile and user friendly (straight out of the box) boots to date. I’ve worn Teva boots for over a decade now, they’re consistently the most durable, long lasting and safest footwear available.
The following day as I walk away from the highway, river, town or whatever it may be, it’s like every step liberates me to a point where I feel totally at one with what is going on around me.
For work, I run a private safari business called Kimberley Spirit Tours. I take small groups often families and even just couples around the Kimberley and showcase the various waterfalls, rock art sites, rivers, fishing and lots more out of the way secret spots that we have on offer. No two safaris are the same. Each and every one I make up on the fly.
They’re accommodated safaris meaning my guests each night stay in safari tents, station stays and riverside chalets which are often said to be a highlight as people didn’t expect the level of professionalism that goes into running these very remote glamping style setups. Each and every day we hike, swim, explore and relax in a different location that feels so far away from the rest of the world it’s hard to believe it’s real.
Taminga is an artist. She is from one of the Kimberley regions oldest family’s and is very proud of her aboriginal heritage and culture. Her art is now seen on aircrafts all over Western Australia just like her late grandfathers art was put onto the Qantas planes in the early 2000’s.
She tells stories of her passions, spirituality and dreaming on canvas and it brings her a great sense of clarity and joy as she does commissions for corporate companies and lots more people who are interested in her story.
Now that I’ve got ‘what puts food on our families table’ out of the way, I can tell you about something very special that my wife Taminga and I are passionate about, the Kimberley Spirit Foundation.
It’s a non for profit which gives back to the next generation of Kimberley kids. We do weekly food delivery’s to support kids in need, community outreach visits, guests speaking at lectures and seminars around the country all in the hope of raising awareness about the terribly high youth suicide rate in the Kimberley.
Taminga and I both grew up in different parts of the Kimberley and were directly affected by this horrible reality and dreamed of making a difference. These days my safari business and Tamingas Art business - Kimberley Spirit Arthouse (and our supporters) solely fund the work we do on the ground.
You want to come to explore with us? The most important gear you will need when you visit us is a great set of hiking boots, a big hat, water bottle, a good set of adventure pants and a big smile.
Our top 5 areas you must hike when you visit are:
• Purnululu National Park
• Mitchell Falls
• Mirima National Park
• Bell Gorge
• El Questro Wilderness Park
There’s so much to do in the Kimberley it really will take you a lifetime to see it all so don’t try and rush it. Even locals will never see it all.
Written by Scotty Connell