Time Trek Australia

Project Introduction

With the aim to visualize the history and formation of the universe in a physical and understandable way, I introduce the Time Trek, a 13.7 km fun run that corresponds to the 13.7 billion year history of the Universe. With astronomical, geological and biological milestones along the route, this fun run offers a concrete experience of the flow of time, and allows trekkers to visualize these hard to comprehend time frames.

— Observatory, Botanical Gardens Brisbane



Back in 2011 I was reading an issue of the International Journal of Astrobiology, (as you do on a lazy Sunday afternoon) and I stumbled across Time Trek. A 13.7km fun run that represents the 13.7 billion year history of the universe set up by J & K Lehto in Finland. I was instantly intrigued as this was something I had thought about a lot myself, how does one picture a billion years? I can picture 1 year, or even 10, as I have lived through a 10 year period, I can picture what happened. But a billion years, might as well be gibberish, because my feeble little mind simply can’t comprehend that time-frame. But I can picture Kilometers.

What a novel idea. I knew I had to walk one of these myself. But, there was one problem. I can’t get to Finland! So I set out to map out a route near me, place all the markers that J & K Lehto had suggested and simply gave it a go. You can see the route I took here.

Beginning at the UQ University in Brisbane, trailing through the Southbank entertainment precinct; and finally ending at the observatory outside the City Botanic Gardens. This walk was amazing – I had to share it.

Step 1 was to make sure I had permission to share this idea publicly; I wasn’t my idea after all. So I got in contact with the scientists who made the first one and asked if they mind if I brought the idea to Australia. After a couple of quick emails – permission was granted, and I got to work setting up the project site to organize my thoughts. You can see it here.

The route has been mapped out in Google maps and is available right now for anybody to give it a go in Brisbane. Simply open up your phone and get started!