Out of my comfort zone with Wild Women on Top

I arrive for my adventure challenge and I’m greeted by Trek training leader Jo Vartanian.  I’m not sure I’m up for the challenge. It’s cold, a little bit wet and that Point looks like a mountain from here.

Then I meet the other Wild Women on Top (WWOT) trekking ladies Michele, Christine, Mary, Karen, Barbara and the energy that’s coming from them makes me think that maybe I can do it.  I psyche myself up.  I can do this.

I’m ready for a wild workout in nature – a hike to the top of the Illawarra Escarpement, all the way to Sublime Point.

I’m new to the group and one of the first things I learn is it’s not just about the trekking.

“WWOT is about health, fitness, community and getting women out there in nature,” WWOT Trek training leader Jo Vartanian says.

“It’s about setting challenges and goals and taking yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone. We try to make the weekly treks a little bit challenging.”

And it is challenging it is.

We trek up the hundreds (okay maybe only one hundred) tiny wooden steps, leading us to ‘ttwo metal staircases that feel like they’re at right angles to the sky above us.

The view is amazing. A beautiful panorama from the Seacliffe bridge to Port Kembla and beyond. I get lost in the view and forget about how high up we are.

Christine tells me camaraderie is a big part of the appeal of WWOT.

“We all have families and things going on but you don’t often get to something for yourself so it’s nice to meet up with others ladies and put yourself first instead of others,” she says.

Barbara loves the texts before the treks telling you to bring a mug.

“You know when that happens that there will be tea and Jo makes the best cookies to go with it,” she says.

Mary likes the inspirational text they get before every trek.

“Quotes like ‘come out of your comfort zone because nothing ever grows there’ and do you know no two quotes have ever been the same in two years!”

Jo says it’s not hard to put in the effort to lead the group, the ladies have a great attitude.

“I think it’s a really positive, ‘can do’ attitude group rather than ‘its too hard’ attitude,” she says.

“We try to really promote positivity, and to build a really inclusive group and all the ladies really come on board with that.”

And she’s right.  We give it our all, doing the sit ups and push ups, and stair runs and we can’t wipe the smile from our faces.  It’s great to be alive.

The Sublime Point walk is the newest outing on the WWOT Illawarra intinerary, added to the trekking programme in January.

“We were already trekking to locations in Sutherland, Stanwell Park, Otford, Waterfall and Heathecote and all of these Wollongong girls kept telling us to come down to Austi,” Jo says.

“Austi is a really great location and so we did.”

On our trek we pass teenagers in full make up, two mums and their toddlers and a man with a 20 kilo pack training pack.  He’s determined to make it to the end of the Trek that wiped him out last year.

All the WWOT girls have packs on too. I have to admit when Jo started weighing all of our packs, I was a little embarrassed to hand over my pack with its water bottle, muesli bar, notebook and rain jacket. Especially when some of the other ladies packs weigh in at around 10 kilos.

I needn’t have worried it seems this walk is for everyone and it’s not the size of your pack that matters. Wild Women on Top in the Illawarra is all about having a go and challenging yourself. Whether you’re the youngest at 35 or the oldest at 62.

Wild Women on Top Quick Facts

“Wild Women on top make life-changing adventures happen. Become an adventure goddess today.”

Wild women on top having trekking groups in the Northern Illawarra and the Sydney Coast.  They also host and train ladies for treks across Australia and around the world.



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