Kate Grarock’s solo hiking adventures have landed her on Alone Australia.

Mar 23, 2023 | Health and Fitness, People of the Illawarra

Dr Kate Grarock is a passionate environmentalist, ecologist and mum. In her spare time she shares her love of hiking and packrafting on her popular YouTube channel.

Though not originally from the Illawarra, Kate attended university in Wollongong and has developed many relationships in and around the local area.

Her love of solo adventuring has seen her land a spot as a contestant in the upcoming season of Alone Australia. It’s the first Australian version of the extreme reality television show, where contenstants are dropped into the wilderness and left to be the last person standing.

One of her goals is to “Share my love of the Australian wilderness and all the beautiful things it does for me and my mental health. If people spend time in nature and develop a relationship with nature, they’ll do more to protect it…just finding that connection to nature that we’ve forgotten”.

kate grarock hiking illawarra

Developing a passion for being alone outdoors.

Do you want to be more “outdoorsy”, but don’t know where to start?

Keen to start hiking, but don’t know what gear you need?

Maybe you want a sneaky preview of a trail you’re thinking of trying or you’d like to learn a few handy survival skills before you head out on your first solo hike?

Even if you simply want someone to pump you up on the idea of getting back to nature – Kate is your girl! The infectious enthusiasm she brings to all her YouTube content really does convey the awe and wonder she experiences when she’s out hiking.

Kate grew up in South Australia and spent time hiking the Grampians National Park with her family. She even dipped her toe into the world of solo hiking here at the age of 14! After completing an overnight hike while on a school camp, it planted a seed deep within her that never left.

Leaving school early to join the Navy at age seventeen gave Kate the opportunity to gain some basic first aid skills and during the five years she spent in the Navy, she enjoyed the preparedness activities that left her wanting to learn more. Although that time in the military gave her valuable experience, she believes that her discipline and resilience come from within.

When Kate was only 19, her Mum died and she returned home for the funeral. Following this, she sought comfort and solace hiking some of the places she had been with her mum. The therapeutic benefits of being immersed in nature for her were (and still are), tangible.

Hiking alone and pushing the boundaries.

Her passion for solo hiking grew in a big way after finishing her studies at Wollongong Uni. A few people challenged her and questioned the safety aspects of hiking alone, particularly as a woman in very remote locations. According to Kate, she takes the safety side of solo hiking seriously, but also enjoys sticking it to the doubters. Over the years she has been hiking solo, she has enjoyed the challenge of pushing her physical limitations further and further.

In November 2016, Kate set out alone to hike the Great South Coast Walk (Sydney, NSW to Mallacoota, VIC), covering 700km over 25 days. Along the way she took photos and some short videos on her iPhone to document her travels. She says one of the highlights of her trip was popping out on top of the escarpment at Austinmer to experience the stunning views of the Illawarra.

kate grarock alone

Sharing her passion for hiking with others

When the first Covid lock-down happened, Kate decided to put a video together to share with her family and friends. She was hesitant about creating a YouTube channel because she was wary of the negative comments that some people might post. Fast forward a couple of years and these days, it is the positive comments that form a massive part of the “bug” that keeps her wanting to create quality content and share her love of hiking and nature with more and more people. 

Kate has such a friendly, entertaining way about her. When you watch her videos, you actually feel like you are out on the trail too, sharing the experience. Picture a young, female, somewhat less intense Crocodile Hunter crossed with an intelligent, educational version of Russell Coight – she certainly gets you wearing a lopsided smile while watching. Her love for nature and enthusiasm for sharing it are contagious. It comes through the screen and draws you into her adventures.

The footage that Kate shares of her solo hikes features breathtaking scenery, a few survival tips, and some snippets of educational material about edible plants and local animals she encounters along the way. Her videos document her hikes, both solo and with friends, the gear that she uses and recommends, plus lots of instructional videos for those wishing to start off on some hiking adventures of their own.

As an absolute beginner, some of my favourites are “How to go to the toilet outdoors – how to poo in the woods while camping and leave no trace” and the essential “How to make a great coffee on the trail”. With this knowledge, I’m all set… What more do I need to know??

If you want to dive a little deeper, Kate offers one on one consultation via video or phone. She offers coaching in hike planning and specific gear advice.

Where are the best places to go hiking in the Illawarra?

I asked Kate for a few hot tips for people wanting to explore nature in and around Wollongong. The Wodi Wodi track starting at Stanwell Park is a favourite, but you may want to work up to this one –  it’s 6kms and quite steep in parts. She loves Warilla beach and all around Windang Island. Just out of Wollongong, be sure to check out Carrington Falls, Fitzroy Falls and Drawing Room Rocks

kate grarock hiking tours

What’s next for Kate Grarock?

In 2023, Kate is getting involved with a women’s hiking group to help inspire women who are interested in nature, but who have no experience. This is a great option if you’re keen to get started as she wants to promote hiking as something that is accessible for everyone, no matter what level you’re at.

These days, Kate says the balance between getting the footage and the time spent editing it, versus simply enjoying the hike is quite the challenge.

“But then it becomes this beautiful thing that captures my memories from the hike, and I can watch them again. I want to produce high quality content, but not at the cost of the experience itself”.

I’m really looking forward to watching how Kate’s adventures evolve now that she also has a one year old in tow. I can’t imagine that will slow her down much at all.


Kate is one of ten participants on the debut Australian season of Alone, which is set to air on Wednesday 29th March on SBS. The eleven episode series will document her experiences in the Tasmanian wilderness as she attempts to outlast her fellow survivalists in a bid to win $250,000. Kate has had to remain tight-lipped about the show and is yet to see the edited footage. Competitors really are all alone and have to document their own experiences on camera throughout the ordeal.

Armed with only 10 items, contestants are required to find food, build shelter and maintain their wits without any human contact other than some strategic medical checks. The aim of the game? Outlast the others.

Kate is super excited to see the show aired on television and as yet, she doesn’t know whether she won. We’re also super excited to watch how she takes on the challenge.