You can see a lot of scenery out a car window. But there is no better way to get out into country and experience a place than walking. Guidebooks can sometimes take some of the magic out of exploring because they lay it all out for you. The guide writers have done all the hard work and you just need to put in the muscle power.

In some ways, the Daywalks Around Victoria guide put out recently by Open Space Publishing ticks all the boxes to make it dummy proof: good maps, very intricate track notes, and it seems to be the first Australian guide where each described walk can be downloaded for free as a GPX file for use in a hand-held navigation device, or opened directly in Google Earth.

And that’s all a good thing – it makes walking far more accessible to folks that aren’t hard core adventurers. But having road-tested 2 walks in the book, it also has the simple beauty of having maps that are good enough to provide the guide, leaving the notes themselves perhaps for the more obscure walks with difficult or off track sections. And because it covers a number of areas that aren’t obvious contenders for day walks, it will probably broaden many people’s thinking about good places for walks.

The book has been put together by Glenn Tempest, and features 36 daywalks that cover a really thoughtful and representative cross section of the bioregions found in Victoria. From semi-desert to mountains, each well researched and often with a nice note from Glenn at the end explaining his thoughts about the area.

And while they are day walks, they are not all accessible as day trips from Melbourne, meaning they can be dropped into longer touring and walking trips. Its a great guide, beautifully put together, with some outstanding photography that captures some gorgeous aspects of Victoria. And it has wanders in ‘human’ areas rather than just ‘wilderness’ or remote places.

You can order it directly from OSP or find it in outdoor and bushwalking stores. Highly recommended.