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New research shows Australian males are craving an outdoors lifestyle, yet too few say they have enough time available.

Three-quarters of Aussie males are yearning for the Great Outdoors and about half of them reckon they have forgotten how good it made them feel to spend time connecting with nature. This is according to new research of 1000 men undertaken by the Great Northern Brewing Company. Hemmed in by claustrophobic workplace environments, and inundated with ever-changing technology, why wouldn’t Aussie men want to get back to their grassroots? The outdoors lifestyle is the elixir of life; the health food that sustains a nation of like-minded outdoors adventurers. It matters not whether you are soaking up the sweet smells of a tropical rainforest, watching sheets of lightning light up a mangrove-lined Territory river while thunder rolls overhead, or simply sitting around a campfire of gidgee coals drinking beer and yarning. No-one works 24/7. For those people who don’t get outdoors enough, there is a need to make the time to do so. It’s a unique lifestyle, one that is free and available to all Australians. It’s part of our heritage, and it is our culture. There is nothing to compare with the rush of adrenaline that comes when a silver barra comes thrashing out of the water on the end of your line. Don’t you miss the chill that runs down your spine when a big croc surfaces just metres from your boat? We are hunter gatherers by nature, and nature is calling. It’s the surge of a weekend adventure that makes a week of work bearable. Great Northern’s research found that 72 per cent of men wish they could spend more time fishing, camping or hiking. Most say they don’t have time, and time is a major hurdle for all of us. All I can say is make the time.

The research also found that, when looking at the time spent in the great outdoors, almost half of all men surveyed (48 per cent) agreed they had forgotten how good it made them feel to spend time connecting with nature. Fishing enthusiast and Darwin resident, Scott Lathlean, said getting outdoors helped him find his Zen. “I think it helps keep our sanity and going out and spending a bit of time with nature gets us back to our roots and allows us to reflect on what is amazing about this country,” he said. Personally, I couldn’t imagine letting a week or two go by without towing my boat to a favourite Top End inland waterway, or launching into a mangrove estuary. People find it hard to fathom but, much as I love to catch fish, just being out there, watching the birdlife, the buffalo, the wallaroos, and maybe catching a fleeting glimpse of a cautious dingo, makes the day regardless of fishing success. Trolling past a floating bed of lotus lilies, through the shade of thick, overhanging eucalypts, and wafting the fresh scents of a floodplain strewn with tropical greeneries are nature’s elixir, and it just makes you feel good. Often the highlight of a day on a billabong is tying up under a paperbark canopy, and sharing lunch and a coldie with my mates. One beer is all you need to toast the experience, and the feeling of wellbeing, for there’s fishing work to be done in the afternoon. It’s no surprise to me that almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of men surveyed said one of their favourite childhood memories involved interacting with the natural Australian environment. Furthermore, the research found a correlation between time spent outdoors and life satisfaction. Of the 27 per cent of men who said they were satisfied with the amount of time spent outdoors, 75 per cent said they were happy and satisfied with their lives.

In contrast, among the 24 per cent of men who wished they could spend more time outdoors, only 11 per cent expressed satisfaction with their lives. Statistics verify that the average male is still very fond of the outdoors, but that he is basically malnourished when it comes to escaping the urban grind. The research showed that 70 per cent of Aussie men consider a connection with the natural environment fundamental to their own identities. Among many of these men, a favourite childhood memory involves an outdoor activity. And yet a staggering number of men, a whopping 89 per cent, don’t get outside enough; so much so that swathes of grown men have forgotten how incredible it feels to be outdoors in a raw environment. The folks at Great Northern Brewing Company haven’t forgotten. Everything from the flavour profile of their beer to the beer’s identity reinforces the spirit of escape, and a connection with the world outside. Not only did the company originate out of Cairns – a city immersed in nature – but they make a beer aimed primarily at men who crave the outdoors experience. And that’s a lot of men. Sometimes you come to realise that the journey is far more important than the destination. The urban grind and the constant seduction of technology gets us trapped in a whirlpool of self-defeating servitude. The truth though is that, no matter where you are, or what you do for work, it’s not that difficult to get away for a day or two. It just feels difficult. Fifty-four per cent of men say their ideal weekend includes getting outside and sharing in a cold beer with their mates at the end of the day, which is how life should be. Work up a hard-earned thirst in an outdoors adventure, and enjoy a Great Northern Super Crisp while enjoying the mateship so necessary to the wellbeing of any red-blooded Aussie male.

Here’s cheers to that!

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