As February began, it was time to beat the winter blues and dust off our walking boots for our first steps challenge of 2023 – ‘South West Liver Buddies Walk THE BIG LAP Australia’. Taking on a virtual route further afield than ever before from our home in SW England, this month-long team challenge combined our daily step counts and tracked them around a map of Australia. With the goal set, we were encouraged to get more active in our daily lives to improve our physical and mental health while giving each other some friendly motivation along the way. The more the we walked, the more of ‘Australia’ we explored.
The challenge was planned and navigated by Liver Buddies Josie and Malcolm Eddy. They kept us updated with posts on the group’s progress and location pictures for some sightseeing en route…
Week 1: 8 – 14 February 2023
It’s steps challenge time! Let’s get going and see how many steps we can clock up between us over the next month.
A great first day as we start the challenge – 25 Liver Buddies and staff from the South West Liver Unit (SWLU) have exercised a total of 150k+ steps taking us virtually 80 miles from Cairns in Queensland down the coast to Kurrimine Beach. Well done everyone! After Kurrimine Beach we continue our journey south, stopping to watch platypuses in Broken River at Eungella National Park and kangaroos eating seaweed and mangove seedpods on their morning beach visit at Cape Hillsborough. We learn how sugar cane is turned into sugar in Farleigh Mackay, visit Capricorn Caves and end the day near Rockhampton.
During the first week together we have exercised 1.4+ million steps (700+ miles) between all participants. Getting nearer day by day to that BBQ with Dr Fagan in Brisbane!
Week 2: 15 – 21 February 2023
Excellent exercising during our second week of the challenge – we have logged another 1.4M steps totalling nearly 1400 miles since we left Cairns. We board a boat at Rockhampton to explore the southern islands of the Great Barrier Reef. After spending a couple of days there we move on to Maleny Botanic Gardens and then to Rainbow Beach, famous for its multicolour sand. Keen to reach Brisbane, we continue on our journey for our long-awaited “barbie”.
Week 3: 22 – 28 February 2023
Arriving in Brisbane, we finally track down the elusive Dr Fagan who left SWLU Derriford last year for the distant shores of eastern Australia. We spend time relaxing and exploring the cultural heritage and delights of Queensland’s capital Brisbane, enjoying a well-earned BBQ before continuing on our way into New South Wales towards Sydney. During our third week of the challenge we have logged an incredible 1.2M steps, totalling over 2000 miles to date. Heading out on a day trip whale-watching we visit Mulgumpin (place of Sandhills), the aboriginal name for Moreton Island. We finish this week’s exercising arriving in Sydney. Fantastic effort everyone!
Week 4 + 3 days: 1 – 10 March 2023
Before leaving Sydney, we explore the city’s beautiful harbour with its famous Opera House. We then take a detour inland to view the majestic Blue Mountains before rejoining the coastal road to Jervis Bay with its beautiful sandy beaches. We travel on down to Melbourne to explore the capital of Victoria state. Increasing our pace, we finish our adventures in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.
Our virtual journey has taken us from Cairns in Queensland down the coast through New South Wales and Victoria, ending in Adelaide, South Australia. Collectively the Liver Buddies and SWLU staff have completed over a third of The Big Lap Australia, exercising nearly 7 million steps which equals a staggering 3400+ miles. A fantastic achievement!
A big cheer and thank you to everyone who took part in this challenge.
Join our online community group to chat to others in a similar situation.
BY TAMSYN ALLEN