Booking Terms and Conditions
Travel Booking Terms and Conditions of Hiking Trails Pty Ltd
We are Hiking Trails Pty Ltd, a company registered in Australia, ACN 635 598 033.
Our address is 428 Morses Creek Road, Wandiligong, Victoria, Australia 3744.
Our business specialises in booking self-guided walking adventures for the Kumano Kodo in Japan, working with partner businesses. We also act as a reseller for other walking holidays including the Great Walks of Australia, and walking holidays in the UK and Europe. For the latter, we act as a ‘reseller’ and the Terms and Conditions and policies of those Walk Operators will also apply to your booking.
We are an online travel service, meaning that our service is optimised towards booking via website and email correspondence. Our websites include www.hikingtrails.com.au and www.hikingjapan.com
These terms and conditions are your contract with us for the provision of any Travel Services you book with us.
In these Terms and Conditions, Hiking Trails Pty Ltd are referred to as “we”, “us”, “our”, "The Company" and includes our directors, employees, beneficiaries, and agents. The purchaser, or user of any Service are referred to as 'you'.
In this document, "you" and "your" include the lead-named person on the confirmation invoice (who must be at least 18 years old at the time of booking) and all persons on whose behalf you make a booking.
These are the agreed terms;
- "Travel" ; means any adventure/holiday/travel/activity constituted in the services we offer.
- "Travel Services" ; means our service in providing and/or selling a travel booking and/or travel package.
- "Third Party" : is any other business or services other than hiking Trails Pty Ltd, engaged or contracted to deliver part or all of your Travel Services.
- "Walk Operator" : is the primary business delivering the walking holiday experience for your Travel Services.
- "Recreational Services" : means services that consist of participation in a sporting activity or a similar leisure-time pursuit; or any other activity that: involves a significant degree of physical exertion or physical risk; and is undertaken for the purposes of recreation, enjoyment or leisure.
- "Force Majeure Event" : refers to an event(s) or circumstance(s) which includes, but is not limited to, acts of God, natural threats (such as bush fires, impassable snow and unsafe sea conditions), fire, earthquake, flood, typhoon, landslide, avalanche, windstorm or other extreme weather events, civil commotion, riot, blockade or embargo, breakdown, union dispute, epidemic, pandemic, lack or failure of courses of supply, passage of any law, order, regulation, ordinance, proclamation, demand, requisition or requirement or any other act of any government authority, outside of the reasonable control of either parties whether or not foreseeable, which renders performance impossible.
- "Reseller" : means we are not the primary Walk Operator, but act in the capacity of reselling the Travel Services of a Third Party Walk Operator.
- "Self-Guided" : means that the experience does not include a Guide, but and Customers will navigate the walk at their own pace and following the direction of maps, itineraries, signage and landmarks.
The contract between us
- Hiking Trails Pty Ltd Travel Services vary. Whatever service you choose, the terms of this contract will apply unless we indicate otherwise.
- The contract between us comes into existence when we send our invoice to you. You will have undertaken to pay for your booking, and we will have undertaken to provide you with the Travel we describe on our website and in email communication in regard to your booking.
- If we are unable to accept your booking, we will of course return your payment to you immediately.
- When you make a booking with us, whether or not through our website, you have the benefit of our full compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
- For you to make a booking, we require your deposit and a completed booking form, as provided on our website. Our confirmation invoice will be sent to you by email. We may decline your booking for any reason and we do not have to give you the reason. If that happens we will return your money to you immediately and in any event within 14 days.
Your authority to book for others
If you make a booking on behalf of others as well as yourself, you guarantee that you have the authority of each of those other people to enter into the contract and that you and they have agreed to be jointly and severally liable to us. You now accept personal liability for the acceptance and compliance of each of those people, with these contract terms.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all of the details on your travel documents are correct and notify us of any discrepancy or misunderstanding immediately. We shall also look only to you for making payments as they become due, ensuring the accuracy of the personal details and other information supplied by other members of your party and for whatever liaison communication is necessary between you and each other party to keep them fully informed.
As lead member of your party, we will deal only with you in our correspondence.
What is included in the price of a Travel package?
- The specific inclusions on your Travel Package booked by us for you will vary with specific requests and which walk is booked.
- The inclusions will be itemised in your emailed quotation.
- For Kumano Kodo Japan walks this generally includes; accommodation, most meals, self-guide maps and Pilgrim Credentials, a personalised itinerary, a pre-walk briefing, and baggage transfer whilst on the walk.
- For Australian walks this generally includes; accommodation whilst on the walk, most meals, guiding, and in some instances local transfers.
- For UK and Europe walks this generally includes; accommodation whilst on the walk, most meals, baggage transfer whilst on the walk, and in some instances local transfers.
What is NOT included in the price of a Travel package?
- Return flights and train fares and bookings to the travel destination;
- All other costs incurred before the meeting point and after you arrive at the end point;
- Travel insurance or any other insurance personal to you;
- Passport and visa costs;
- Vaccinations and medication, before, during and after the Travel;
- Food, drink and alcohol, over and above what we include in the Travel;
- Local bus and other local transport costs or advance booking;
- Additional activities other than those agreed in your Travel;
- Gratuities you choose to give, in addition to any we give on your behalf where we consider appropriate.
- Any items not specified as included in your emailed quotation.
Our Prices and Pricing
- When you make your booking, we shall ask you for a deposit of $500 AUD per person towards the total cost. Deposits are non-refundable, except as mentioned below, but in some cases may be transferable to another Hiking Trails Pty Ltd Travel. The balance of the price must be paid at least eight weeks before your departure date. If the balance is not paid on time, we shall cancel your travel arrangements and retain your deposit.
- Any booking made less than eight weeks prior to the departure date must be accompanied by full payment at the time of making the booking.
- We shall not change the price of your booking once we have accepted your booking.
- In regard to our booking third party Travel Services or experiences on your behalf, we reserve the right to collect or commission from the third party operator, and/or charging you a non-itemised booking fee.
- Prices quoted are in Australian Dollars (AUD).
- Prices quoted for Japan, Europe and UK walking holidays do not include Australian GST, consistent with 'GST and international travel' guidance on the Australian Taxation Office website.
- Prices shown on this site are listed as a guide only. All components are subject to availability at the time of booking and to Operator pricing at the time of booking. Prices vary with season and dates, catering to specific dietary requests, the nature of accommodation, the number of guests sharing rooms, specific requests for ensuite rooms, and demand.
Most of the accommodation that we book is twin share and our walk prices are based on twin share (two people sharing one room). Solo travellers are always welcome and if a single room is requested, a supplementary price will apply. Requests for single supplement must be stipulated at the time of booking.
Any special requests relating to your travel arrangements must be sent to us at the time of booking in writing. While we try to meet your reasonable requests, we do not guarantee that they will be fulfilled. If we are able to confirm a special request, we will do so by confirmation in writing to you at least eight weeks before your departure date.
Changing your booking
If you wish to change your booking, you must notify the Hiking Trails Pty Ltd in writing as soon as possible. Once the Company receives your notice, the change will take effect subject to the following:
- one amendment can be made to your original booking, up to 90 days prior to the date of departure, at no change fee, however any increased costs of your travel package as a result of the change will be charged.
- a $200 AUD per person fee will be charged for any further amendments made by a guest 90 days prior to the departure date.
- for booking changes made between 60 and 90 days prior to departure, there is a $350 AUD per person charge to change the departure date; and
- we do not accept changes to bookings within 60 days of departure.
Changes to your walk departure date, or transfer of booking to a different walk experience may incur additional costs payable by you for any difference in pricing. We will do our best to change your booking to your preferred date, but it may not always be possible.
Transferring your booking
If you would like to transfer your booking from one person to another, the following terms apply:
- The transferee must satisfy any special conditions or qualifications applicable to the Travel.
- You must inform us about your intention to transfer your booking to the transferee at least 14 days before the departure date in writing or through email.
- You and the transferee will accept that you and he/she will be jointly and severally liable for full payment of any outstanding sums due in respect of the booking as well as fees, charges or other costs arising from the transfer.
- Our administration charge for a transfer made more than 14 days before departure is $125 AUD per person. For transfer made within 14 days before departure the administration charge is $250 AUD per person.
- We will not refund or compensate you if changes made to your booking, or re-booking, leave you paying for parts of the Travel Service which you do not use or no longer require.
Cancellation by you
If you wish to cancel your booking, you must notify Hiking Trails Pty Ltd in writing as soon as possible. Once Hiking Trails Pty Ltd receives your notice, cancellation will take effect subject to the following:
- the date of cancellation is the date that the Hiking Trails Pty Ltd receives written notice of the cancellation; and
- if the cancellation is made:
- more than 90 days from the scheduled departure date, a fee of $350 AUD per person will be charged with the balance payment refunded to you;
- between 90 and 60 days prior to departure, you will be charged 50% of the full trip cost with the balance refunded to you; or
- within 60 days of departure, no refund is available.
Cancellation by the guest will also take effect if:
- you fail to arrive at the pre-arranged meeting place at the time stipulated by the Company; or
- your payment of the balance of the booking is not received by Hiking Trails Pty Ltd by the required time as stipulated as the 'Due Date' on your tax invoice from Hiking Trails Pty Ltd.
No refund will be paid if you:
- voluntarily leave your walk after it has commenced, including (without limitation) for reasons of bereavement, injury or illness; or
- are directed by the Hiking Trails Pty Ltd to leave or not commence your walk in accordance with these terms and conditions.
We strongly recommend that all guests obtain suitable travel insurance.
When selecting a travel insurance product, please ensure that it provides cover against, at a minimum, personal accidents or injury, medical expenses, Force Majeure Events, emergency repatriation and personal liability, cancellation for any reason including bereavement, delayed flights, lost luggage and personal effects.
We strongly recommend that all guests obtain suitable travel insurance.
If we cancel your Travel or make changes
Because we make travel arrangements far in advance, we sometimes have to change an arrangement and occasionally even cancel a Travel Service.
For the Kumano Kodo specifically, from time to time, changes are required for specific accommodation, as our accommodation partners look to best balance accommodation, demand and special requests across the limited Minshuku, Ryokan and guest house accommodation available on the Kumano Kodo. Generally, these changes when they occur are within the same village and to the same or similar type of accommodation originally booked, and occasionally to a nearby alternate village. If changes happen after your booking is confirmed, we will update your personalised itinerary and let you know, and advise you of any implications to your booking.
Additionally, as we use Third Party travel providers and services for components of your booking, from time to time, they will make changes to your booking, or services included within your booking, beyond our control.
If either of these scenarios occur, the following terms apply:
- We will always inform you as soon as possible about any change. If that happens you may:
- accept the change; or
- accept our offer of alternative travel arrangements of a comparable standard; or
- cancel your booking, whereupon we will give you a full refund of all money paid.
- We will not compensate you for minor changes outside our control. Examples are changes to train or bus services or times, or changes to accommodation or meals due to weather, travel disruption or similar.
- Provided your final payment has been made we will cancel your travel arrangement only in circumstances where we have no choice but to do so.
Hiking Trails Pty Ltd books travel and trips for our customers in Japan, including during the Japanese ‘typhoon season’ which is typically May – October, and most often the typhoons on Japan’s main island of Honshu are most prevalent in August and September. There is a chance if you’re travelling in Japan though the typhoon season, that these weather events may disrupt your travel.
When typhoons land, they often cause very significant short-term disruption, and many services including transportation shutdown for the duration. Hiking Trails Pty Ltd follows and recommends the general Japanese advice during these typhoon events, which is; Stay indoors until the typhoon has passed, and until you have been advised that it is safe to venture out again. This will often cause disruption and adjustment to your travel plans, including your booking with us, including not being able to access sections of the walk, proceeding accommodation, or delayed start or completion of your walk.
Our focus during typhoon events will be your safety, and assisting you in adjusting your travel plans. Unfortunately, we cannot and do not offer full or partial refunds or credits for missed, unused, or altered travel plans due to typhoons. The nature of our business is that we will have made non-retrievable and non-refundable payments for your booking in advance of your travel.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover these and other unforeseen events. We will of course assist in providing documentation to support any travel insurance claim you need to make.
Other Weather Events
Hiking Trails Pty Ltd books travel and trips for our customers in Japan and other outdoor destinations, including coastal and mountainous, that are at times subjected to natural disruptive weather events such as; fire or extreme fire risk, flooding, high winds, power and other service outages. There is a chance if you’re travelling in Japan or to another destination, that these weather events may disrupt your travel.
Our focus during extreme weather events will be your safety, and assisting you in adjusting your travel plans. Unfortunately, we cannot and do not offer full or partial refunds or credits for missed, unused, or altered travel plans due to weather events. The nature of our business is that we will have made non-retrievable and non-refundable payments for your booking in advance of your travel.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover these and other unforeseen events. We will of course assist in providing documentation to support any travel insurance claim you need to make.
If you have a complaintYour point of contact during the Travel will be the Walk Operator:
- For Kumano Kodo walks booked through Hiking Trails Pty Ltd; Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau of 1-20 Minato, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, 646-0031, Japan, or phone +81 739-26-9025.
- For Tasmanian Walking Company Pty Ltd or Australian Walking Company Pty Ltd; Australian Walking Company Pty Ltd. PO Box 7686, Launceston TAS 7250, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 1300 767 416.
- For Australian 'Great Walks' other than those operated by Tasmanian Walking Company Pty Ltd or Australian Walking Company Pty Ltd, the Walk Operator details will be included in your booking information.
- For Europe and UK walks operated by Hillwalk Tours walks booked through Hiking Trails Pty Ltd; Hillwalk Tours, 27 Galway Technology Centre, Mervue Business Park, Wellpark Road, Galway, H91 WV02, IRELAND, or phone +353 91 763 994.
If you have a problem during your Travel, it is most important that you immediately inform the relevant provider as well as our representative. If you complain only after you have returned home, we shall not be able to investigate the problem - for your benefit and ours. If that happens, you may lose your right to compensation.
If you feel our representative has not resolved to your problem, please write to us within 14 days of your return giving us full details of your Travel and concise details of the complaint and any subsequent history.
Limitations on our liability
We want you to enjoy a great travel experience with Hiking Trails Pty Ltd. We shall do our best to make this experience special for you. Nonetheless, we must make clear the limitations in law.
If we fail to provide the Travel set out on our website or in our brochure and to which these terms apply, we will pay you appropriate compensation. We are not liable if any failure is due to:
- Your own carelessness or negligence in any aspect of your behaviour whilst on Travel;
- Medical emergencies;
- Laws, culture and standards of service and behaviour in any country we may visit;
- Weather, natural disaster, politics, foreclosure, civil uprising, pandemic, changes to law, terrorism, disruption to travel or transport services for whatever reason, or force majeure.
- Changes we reasonably make to an itinerary or to accommodation or any other aspect of the management of your booking;
- Some third party unconnected with the provision of travel arrangements where we could not reasonably have foreseen or avoided those circumstances;
- Any other unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control;
- A specific event or series of events which we or our contractors or providers could not reasonably have foreseen or prevented;
We and you are subject to international conventions, when they apply. This may limit the amount of a claim you may make, against us or anyone else.
The services and features included in your booking are those specified in our website. If you choose to buy other goods or services during your Travel, those are not part of our service, even if our representative helps you to buy or arrange them. Accordingly, we are not liable to you for any happening in connection with that service or goods.
It is a condition of this contract that you take out a policy of travel insurance for every trip outside Australia. You alone are wholly responsible for arranging your insurance. The period of cover should start no later than the date you make your booking with us.
Health and Fitness Requirements
It is your responsibility to read through the itinerary carefully and ensure you have adequate fitness for the proposed trip.
Guests must be in good health and have the appropriate physical and mental fitness to maintain a good walking pace for the duration of their walk. Some training and preparation work is required prior to departure. The more physically and mentally prepared you are, the more enjoyable your walk will be. As a general indication, prior to the trip all guests should be able to safely complete a 15-20km day walk on varied terrain including bush trails and inclines, whilst carrying a 7-10kg backpack. Specific trail distances and features can be found in guest trip notes and on the walk specific pages of our website.
Passport, visa and immigration requirements
It is extremely important that you obtain and carefully check travel and immigration documents required for each country you visit. You alone are responsible for obtaining required travel documents for your party. We do not accept responsibility for any delay or problem which may occur in this connection. If we have local representation at the time of any such problem, we will assist you as far as reasonably possible to resolve it. However, for the benefit of other people on that holiday, it will not be possible to delay or change travel arrangements or events which will affect others in the tour group.
Help we need from you
Your information pack will provide details about your chosen Travel, but the following are contractual matters:
- Most Hiking Trails Pty Ltd Travel require reasonable physical fitness and appropriate footwear. You should be prepared to walk up to 20+ kilometres a day, sometimes on uneven or slippery surfaces, often including multiple ascents and descents.
- Hiking by nature is a strenuous, physical activity often in remote locations, Hiking Trails Pty Ltd makes no claim to your individual fitness or appropriateness for this activity or Travel, and you should consult your own independent physician or medical advise prior to booking.
- To satisfy the majority of our clients, we apply "no smoking" rules in the same way that they are applied by law in Australia. Please note however, that smoking is permitted in some countries we may visit so we cannot prevent third parties from smoking in a bar or restaurant.
- If we provide medical help to you, whether or not you specifically ask for it, we will provide receipts for all costs (for your insurer) and you now agree to repay us that cost on your return from the Travel.
- If at any time, it is our opinion (given by any of our staff or representative) that you are acting in a way which may cause accident, injury, discomfort or extreme displeasure to any other member, we may exclude you from the programme for the remainder of the Travel. You will understand that this extreme action will not be taken lightly but may be necessary to protect the health, safety or enjoyment of other travellers.
Terms and conditions of Third Party providers
Many of the services we provide, including options which may occur from time to time during your Travel, are provided by third parties and not directly by us. Each has their own terms and conditions. Whilst the law provides that we are liable to you in the round, for any failure connected with such a provider, our obligations do not cover every contractual term.
Accordingly, instances may arise where you have no redress, for example, in the purchase of locally produced services including but not limited to accommodation, meals, travel services or similar. This may include where third parties services vary the service from what was requested and booked for you by Hiking Trails Pty Ltd.
- For Kumano Kodo walks booked through Hiking Trails Pty Ltd the terms and conditions and policies of Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau of 1-20 Minato, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, 646-0031, Japan will also apply to your booking.
- For Tasmanian Walking Company Pty Ltd or Australian Walking Company Pty Ltd walks booked through Hiking Trails Pty Ltd the terms and conditions and policies of Australian Walking Company Pty Ltd will also apply to your booking.
- For other Australian 'Great Walks' other than those operated by Tasmanian Walking Company Pty Ltd or Australian Walking Company Pty Ltd, the Terms and Conditions and policies of the specific Walk Operator will also apply to your booking.
- For Europe and UK walks operated by Hillwalk Tours walks booked through Hiking Trails Pty Ltd the terms and conditions and policies of Hillwalk Tours will also apply to your booking.
When components of your travel and / or hike are booked for you by Hiking Trails Pty Ltd with or through external operators such as but not limited to accommodation, meals, transfers or local support, these have been booked in good faith by Hiking Trails Pty Ltd for you, and Hiking Trails Pty Ltd should not be held liable for the non-delivery or altered delivery of products or services for whatever reasons by third-party Operators.
- If any term or provision of this agreement is at any time held by any jurisdiction to be void, invalid or unenforceable, then it shall be treated as changed or reduced, only to the extent minimally necessary to bring it within the laws of that jurisdiction and to prevent it from being void and it shall be binding in that changed or reduced form. Subject to that, each provision shall be interpreted as severable and shall not in any way affect any other of these terms.
- Any obligation in this agreement intended to continue to have effect after termination or completion shall so continue.
- No failure or delay by any party to exercise any right, power or remedy will operate as a waiver nor indicate any intention to reduce that or any other right in the future.
- The parties agree that electronic communications satisfy any legal requirement that such communications be in writing.
- For the purposes of the Privacy Act 1988 each party consents to the processing of his personal information (in manual, electronic or any other form) relevant to this agreement, by the other and/or any agent or third party nominated by that other, and bound by a duty of confidentiality.
- In the event of a dispute between the parties to this agreement, then they undertake to attempt to settle the dispute by engaging in good faith with the other in a process of mediation before commencing arbitration or litigation.
- So far as the law permits, and unless otherwise stated, this agreement does not give any right to any third party.
- Any communication to be served on either of the parties by the other shall be delivered by hand or by e-mail. It shall be deemed delivered; if delivered by hand; on the day of delivery, or if sent by email to the address from which the receiving party has las sent email; within 72 hours if no notice of non-receipt has been received by the sender.
- The validity, construction and performance of this agreement shall be governed by the laws of State of Victoria and the parties agree that any dispute arising from it shall be litigated only in that State.
These Terms and Conditions were last updated 29 August 2023.
Exclusion of Liability
You acknowledge that walking in a wilderness area of a National Park or mountainous natural landscape is potentially a dangerous activity and you are undertaking such an activity at their own risk. You acknowledge and agree that you will undertake the walk freely, voluntarily and absolutely at your own risk and with a full appreciation of the nature and extent of all risks involved in the walk. You acknowledge that Hiking Trails Pty Ltd is supplying you with Recreational Services (as defined in these Terms) for the purposes of applicable laws.
You agree to the fullest extent permitted by law to waive all of your legal rights of action against us and fully release Hiking Trails Pty Ltd and its officers, directors, employees, servants, agents or consultants from all liability arising from or connected with death or personal injury howsoever arising out of or in relation to the participation by you in a walk including without limitation, liability for a negligent or tortuous act or omission, breach of duty, breach of contract or breach of statutory duty on the part of Hiking Trails Pty Ltd, its officers, directors, employees, servants, agents or consultants. This waiver shall bind you and your legal personal representatives.
You hereby agree to indemnify and at all times hereafter keep indemnified and hold harmless Hiking Trails Pty Ltd, its related entities and its and their officers, employees, guides, servants and agents or any of them (Indemnified Persons) from and against all costs, claims, actions, demands and liability whatsoever and howsoever arising from or in any way connected with the walk and your participation in the walk (including any transportation to or from the area in which the walk is to take place) including such costs, claims, actions, demands or statutory duty or otherwise on the part of the Indemnified Persons, and including any liability in respect of or related to my/our death, personal injury, or loss of or damage to any property owned or possessed by me/us, but excluding any liability which cannot be excluded by applicable laws. Hiking Trails pty Ltd holds the benefit of any rights accruing to the Indemnified Persons under this paragraph on trust for the Indemnified Persons, and you acknowledge and agree that Hiking Trails Pty Ltd can enforce such rights in its own name or in the name of the Indemnified Persons as their trustee.
WARNING UNDER THE AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER LAW AND FAIR TRADING ACT 2012
Under the Australian Consumer Law (Victoria), several statutory guarantees apply to the supply of certain goods and services. These guarantees mean that the supplier named on this form is required to ensure that the recreational services it supplies to you-
- are rendered with due care and skill; and
- are reasonably fit for any purpose which you, either expressly or by implication, make known to the supplier; and
- might reasonably be expected to achieve any result you have made known to the supplier.
Under section 22 of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012, the supplier is entitled to ask you to agree that these statutory guarantees do not apply to you. If you sign this form, you will be agreeing that your rights to sue the supplier under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 if you are killed or injured because the services provided were not in accordance with these guarantees, are excluded, restricted or modified in the way set out in this form.
NOTE: The change to your rights, as set out in this form, does not apply if your death or injury is due to gross negligence on the supplier's part. Gross negligence, in relation to an act or omission, means doing the act or omitting to do an act with reckless disregard, with or without consciousness, for the consequences of the act or omission. See regulation 5 of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Regulations 2012 and section 22(3)(b) of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012.