It’s late 2018 and Ciara and I are about to launch Walk on kunanyi, offering Hobart’s only dedicated kunanyi / Mt Wellington guided walks, with small groups, specialised interpretation, gourmet catering and celebrating all that the mountain has to offer, not just the view from the pinnacle. We believe that Hobart needs an iconic walk, currently there are very few walking tour offers in Wellington Park and we want to get visitors out of the bus and off the beaten track, feel safe and surprise them with the history and natural wonders that are tucked away just behind Hobart.
A bit about us
It’s probably worth while sharing a bit about ‘us’ at this point, I’m Andy a Tassie boy who has grown up loving travel, adventure sports and have studied geology and education. More recently I’ve managed the drinking water catchments on kunanyi / Mt Wellington, and implemented sustainability policies in the renewable energy industry, currently I contribute to business strategy and enjoying my family life in Hobart.
I grew up in Tassie on 5 acre property just out of Hobart where adventuring and catching lizards were my main aim. I absolutely love the outdoors and have spent four seasons working as a Trek Leader on the Overland Track walk in central Tasmania. I have done numerous multi-day walks around the world. My love for the outdoors and curiosity about life, led me to study Zoology and Philosophy at university, and later I completed a Masters in Business Management with Entrepreneurship. I’ve spent the last five years specialising in product development and am now excited to use what I have learnt to help bring Walk on kunanyi to life.
Daring to dream
Let’s go back to the start, It’s 2017 and I’m catching up with Ciara an old workmate who has changed employers, nothing unusual really, as we would often catch up for a cuppa and chat about work, trail running and life in general. However, on this occasion, we revisit another favorite topic, business innovation and a book called the lean start up. What sort of business would we start if we dared to dream? After spending some time pivoting from an idea in the energy industry, we land on the tourism industry as a way for us to share a common passion for Tasmania’s wild places and to step away from corporate culture. Using some design thinking tools like lotus blossum, we generated heaps of ideas and came up with some real gold. Lot’s of which is soo good I can’t share, as its part of the grand plan.
We have an idea but will people like it?
Following some market research we land on a guided day walk business on kunanyi / Mt Wellington. We discover that it is the third most popular destination is Tasmania and that almost all tourists plan to do some forming of hiking / bushwalking, with day walking the fasted growing segment. People are travelling to seek out natural and cultural experiences, slowing down and reconnecting. I’m reminded of the 1901 quote from John Muir the Scottish-American naturalist, more better known as the “Father of the National Parks”, which resonates through the ages with such relevance for today “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
Our purpose and values
We are both very purpose / values driven and want whatever we create to authentically echo our own shared values. We exist to:
- To share and celebrate the Tasmanian outdoors and culture.
- Instil the importance of sustainability and to give back to the Tasmanian environment.
Our values guide our decisions, and comprise 5 Gs:
- Great sustainability practices in all aspects
- Guests and guides are our glue
- Genuine and authentic
- Give back
- Great fun
Rolling up our sleeves
Putting our skills in business strategy, sustainability, guiding and natural resource management to use we developed all the boring procedures and back office processes and submitted our permits. Ciara and I discovered that our strengths and weaknesses interlock well, we constantly bounce ideas off each other and she is the natural CFO while I’m forever networking.
A little help from our friends
Our good friends from the awarding winning business Wild Pedder helped out massively, sharing lots of industry insight and procedural advice. And put us on to other key industry sources such as Destination Southern Tasmania many of you know as Hobart and Beyond. We have discovered that the tourism industry is super friendly down here. There is a genuine push towards helping each other, whether it be with information, contacts or advice. It has been a joy to become part of this fabric.
Finding the right walks.
It was tough, but we had to head out and hit our favorite trails and walk them in a different light, considering what are our timings? where to stop for breaks? what is the track surface/gradient like? We’ve picked a range that still takes in the ‘must sees’ yet provides full and half day options for all walkers.
Bringing it all together
After months of setting up procedures, suppliers, and working with my amazing wife Sarah (aka A Lined Design) on our premo branding and website we start to bring it all together. However, at the 11th hour I’ve taken a pretty serious hit to my brownie point account, as we changed our name from Walk on Wellington to Walk on kunanyi following some feedback from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. Our branding and website design is so much more than we could have imagined, and we think it really stands out from the rest of the field.
We are getting close to launch time, lots of test walks and a dress rehearsal weekend are planned, all with a hope to take our first steps in fulfilling our vision of offering walking tours on kunanyi / Mt Wellington that celebrate all that the mountain has to offer. We might just have the right formula to create Hobart’s iconic walk from the shores of the Derwent to the mountain’s summit.