By the time Erin Hibberd hit 30, he weighed 163 kilograms. He’d tried dieting, but it hadn't worked—he loved pizza and beer too much. He’d tried exercising, but that hadn’t worked either—he mostly hated the stuff. But everything changed when his colleagues convinced him to join them on a bushwalking trip through the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in central Tasmania.
“I was looking out over a place called Dixon’s Kingdom on the world’s largest stand of native Pencil Pines, these 2000-year-old trees, and some wires in my brain just joined,” says Hibberd. “I’ve never been able to disconnect them – I came out of that place changed.”
Over the subsequent four years, Hibberd went bushwalking every weekend, losing 72 kilos in the process. Wanting to share his passion with others, he registered Wildside Tours in 2011 and began hosting guided bushwalking tours on weekends. In 2017, he resigned from his office job and threw everything he had into Wildside.
Recently, Hibberd partnered with Lake St Clair’s beautiful Pumphouse Point and is now the hotel’s official bushwalking guide. He was born not far from Lake St Clair, in Tarraleah, and knows the area intimately.
There are around seven different hike options in Tasmania’s Central Highlands region, ranging from a half-day to four days. On the half-day, you might visit Platypus Bay and see native Tasmanian vegetation including buttongrass and ancient rainforest ferns, plus wombats, black cockatoos and wedge-tailed eagles. A full-day might take you to the summit of Mount Rufus just in time for lunch. And the multi-day hikes might take you into the Walls of Jerusalem, where it all began for Hibberd.