Grade 1 (Easy)
Opportunity for large number of walkers, including those with reduced walking ability to walk on well marked and even tracks. Tracks are man made and may have a few steps. Should not be steep. Suitable for beginners. Distance should not exceed about 10km.
Grade 2 (Easy-medium)
Easy walk, mostly on tracks of low gradient. Opportunity to walk easily in natural environments on well marked tracks. Tracks should not be steep. Distance should not exceed about 15km.
Grade 3 (Medium)
Medium walk with some hilly sections and/or rougher terrain. Opportunity to walk on defined and distinct tracks with some steep sections requiring a moderate level of fitness. Suitable for fit beginners. Distance should not exceed about 20 km.
Grade 4 (Medium-Hard)
Steeper, rougher terrain and may have off-track sections (no more than one quarter of the walk) or a longer distance track walk. Opportunity to explore and discover relatively undisturbed natural environments mostly along defined and distinct tracks. Tracks can be steep. There may be short sections of rock scrambling involved. Leaders should have map reading abilities and/or ability to use a compass. Distance depending on circumstances. Not suitable for most beginners.
Grade 5 (Hard)
Off-track or difficult terrain. Opportunity for walkers with advanced outdoor knowledge and skills to find their own way along often in distinct tracks or off track in remote locations. May include steep sections of unmodified surfaces. There may be rock scrambling, creek walking and crossing involved. Distance should not exceed 30 km, but may be short and difficult. Not suitable for beginners.
Grade 6 (Very hard)
Strenuous off-track walk or very long distance. Opportunity for highly experienced walkers to explore remote and challenging natural areas without reliance on managed tracks. Terrain may be steep, uneven and no track. There may be rock scrambling, creek walking and crossing involved. Distance covered is unlimited, but may be short and difficult. Only for experienced walkers and not suitable for beginners.
Grades courtesy of John Cooper of The Bush Club
Exposure is assessed on the hardest part of the track / pass
1: No Exposure.
2: Some simple climbing involved
3: Climbing with tape or rope neccessary for non-climbers. Still free climbable.
4: Belay advised for non-climbers. Aids for climbers.
5: Belay required for experienced climbers.
Track Conditions are assessed on the worst major section of the track / pass
3: OK, but needing some trimming or erosion repairs.
4: A number of sections in poor condition.
5: Overgrown, badly eroded or no track.
1: Maintained Tourist track.
2: Marked track.
3: Unmarked track.
5: Off track.
Navigation is an overall assessment of the track / pass
1: Easy. Track and offshoot tracks are signposted.
2: Easy-Medium. Track is and offshoots are well marked (cairns / tape).
3: Medium. Simple route finding is neccessary.
4: Hard. Route finding can be difficult.
5: Challenging. GPS or map and compass necessary.