How a simple idea exploded into an Australia Wide Hiking Challenge!

How a simple idea exploded into an Australia Wide Hiking Challenge!

Updated: Mar 26, 2024Veronika Larisova

Like most people, my journey into the mountains started with the basic tourist trails. The ones with plenty of signposts, well-worn tracks and man-made steps. It was great to be out there in nature, feeling truly alive in the mountains and experiencing the exhilaration of the climb and the spectacular views from the top. My partner (Annica) and I were soon thirsty for more adventure and started to look for more places to go and maybe find some people that could show us the way.

We often met other hikers on the trails and exchanged the usual banter. “Almost there mate”… “Not far now, and there’s free beer at the top”… “It’s a lot easier coming down, eh?”. It occurred to us that there were so many lovely people on the trails, but we’d likely never see them again. So, we decided to put a call-out on social media to see if anyone was interested in joining us on a challenge to see how many peaks we could climb in a year. We hoped to find 10 friends to hike with.

The premise was simple. Climb 22 peaks in 2022. Each time you claim a peak, you do a ‘summit salute’ and post the photo. We update the scoreboard at the end of each month and celebrate our wins.

Over 3,100 people participated in the Challenge!

What happened next was off the charts! We attracted over 2,000 members to our Facebook group in the first 5 weeks! By November 2022 we had over 3,100 members. Our pastime quickly turned into a passion and we were totally hooked. Climbing with friends was even more fun, and we learned so much from each other’s experiences, which made it even better. 

The incredible positive impact this challenge created for people was soon very evident from the feedback we received, which blew me away every time. It made a real difference in people’s lives and completely transformed people’s mental, physical, spiritual, emotional well-being and social lives. Some of our members even found love in the mountains! Bolstered by all this positivity, we decided to continue the Challenge and scale our impact by expanding the challenge to the whole of Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

It's easy and accessible for everyone.

This year’s challenge is called the 52 Peaks Challenge. And to make it accessible to everyone, we split the challenge into four stages. Once you complete one stage, you can choose to stop there or move on to the next stage. It’s entirely up to you!

To make it easier for more people to get out there and share these amazing experiences, we also researched and collated hundreds of peaks and trails all across Australia and New Zealand and made lists of all of the peaks, along with detailed stats and maps to help with planning and preparation. We also built an online scoreboard, so you can upload all your peaks and see your ranking. But remember, this is not a race. It’s a personal challenge. It’s about fun, friendship and adventure, and making the most out of life. 

Find your tribe and made friendships for life in the mountains. 

When done right, hiking and climbing is highly addictive. Our passion has become more of an obsession; over the last 12 months, we’ve climbed well over 70 peaks. We found our tribe and made friendships for life in the mountains and had such an incredible year, and we’re so excited and privileged to be part of this in 2023 and beyond. 

If you are interested in fun, friendship, and adventure and would like to find out more, head over to the ‘52 Peaks Challenge’ to register your membership and get ready for possibly the best year of your life!


Find out more and register for the challenge at:


  Paul & Annica
  Creators of 52 Peaks Challenge
  Follow them at @52peakschallenge


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