A TEAM of 11 walkers from Bass Coast Shire Council will be taking part in the Great Aussie Hike this Saturday, May 1, walking 30km from Bruthen to Bairnsdale.

Bass Coast Shire CEO Ali Wastie, who is on the team, said she was really looking forward to the event.

“While some of us have trained more than others, we’re all feeling pretty confident that we can finish in under eight hours with smiles on our faces. The weather is predicted to be 21 and sunny, perfect conditions for walking and taking in the beautiful surrounds of East Gippsland,” Ms Wastie said.

Participating in the hike will also provide an important opportunity to support the region’s local businesses.

“As we pit stop in townships, we will stock up on snacks and enjoy the fundraising barbecues on offer. Some of our team members are even taking the opportunity to really enjoy the weekend with their families, staying in accommodation in Bairnsdale and Metung,” Ms Wastie said.

“We are all really looking forward to getting out into the East Gippsland community, spending some money and helping our neighbours who have been hit harder than most over the past 18 months following the bushfires and then COVID.”

Ms Wastie said another benefit of participating in the Great Aussie Hike was the opportunity to reconnect with others in the organisation in a real-life environment away from computer screens and telephones.

“Over the past 14 months, we’ve all had very different experiences working from home – some of us had our entire lives at home with us while we home-schooled and worked, while others live alone and found the time quite isolating,” Ms Wastie said.

“Connection with our colleagues and teammates plays such an important role in our health and wellbeing and this event will provide an excellent way to re-connect after so long spent apart.

“It will also present a really fun challenge, to complete something out of our comfort zones and to help others cross the finish line,” Ms Wastie concluded.