Bushwalking’s perennial popularity – Latest SportAus survey results

Sport Australia has released its latest AusPlay survey results including data collected in the past calendar year (2019), before COVID-19 started in Australia. AusPlay provides statistics nationally and by State on participation in sport and recreational activity. The data of relevance to the bushwalking community shows in part:

  • Walking ranking– Not surprisingly recreational walking continues to be the no. 1 activity (43% of adults) out of the total of 133 activities considered. Walking has increased in popularity by 14.4% over the past 20 years. (HikeWest comment: The distinction between Walking and Bushwalking for many will be a very blurred one; many recreational ‘walkers’ likely do not identify as bushwalkers only because they do not participate in organised ‘bushwalks’, but they nevertheless enjoy walking on trails in nature.)
  • Bushwalking ranking– Nationally, Bushwalking (/hiking) continues to rate in the top eight of the 133 activities and is in the top seven in WA, only two places behind Cycling. For ‘middle-aged’ adults (age 35-54)  Bushwalking is the sixth most popular activity nationally.
  • Participation– In 2019, 6.3% (1.3 million) of Australia’s adult population participated in Bushwalking compared to 11.5% in cycling and 1.4% in mountain biking. In WA, Bushwalking participation was a little lower, at 5.3% (~121,000) of adults.
  • Long-term increase in participation – The longer term data shows an overall increase of 1.2% for adult participation in bushwalking over the past 20 years compared to a 3.4% increase in cycling and a smaller 0.1% increase in mountain biking.
  • Gender participation – In WA there is almost equal gender (15 and over) participation in Bushwalking between females (49%) and males (51%). Nationally the ratio is female 53% : male 47%, contrasting with an activity such as mountain biking where the ratio is 15% female : 84% male.
  • Non-sports versus Sports activities– Nationally in 2019, around 32% of adults participated in non-sports related activities compared to 19% in sport-related activities.

See the AusPlay National and State results released 30 April 2020.


Posted 4 May 2020.

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