Hiking Australia – 10 great walks

Hiking Australia – 10 great walks

overland track
Photo: World Expeditions / Great Walks of Australia & Graham Michael Freeman

A walking holiday is one of the best ways to get fit while seeing some of Australia’s stunning countryside.With beautiful beaches, pristine national parks and stunning outback country, it’s possible to enjoy a walking holiday in every state of Australia. Hiking Australia is fast becoming a popular genre of holiday activity, especially for travellers who want to increase their fitness levels.

From families to over 50s, there are great walks to suit walkers of all ages and fitness levels. Most walks can be done as hike-it-yourself adventures or guided trips. Don’t procrastinate, dust off the hiking boots and put your best foot forward hiking Australia. Here are 10 great walks to choose from.

1-Heyson Trail, SA

hiking australia
Photo: Wild Bush Luxury / Great Walks of Australia & Graham Michael Freeman
larapinta trail
Photo: Tourism Australia & Maxime Coquard

Walking the 1200km Heysen Trail is one way to experience South Australia’s diverse landscapes.

From Cape Jervis to Parachilna Gorge in the North Flinders Ranges (500km north of Adelaide), the trail follows tracks and roads through coastal areas, bushland, rugged gorges, forests, vineyards, farms and historic towns.

Highlights include the Barossa Valley and Wilpena Pound.

The southern section – from Cape Jervis to Spalding – offers ideal walking conditions for beginners while the northern section – from Spalding to Parachilna Gorge – is challenging for experienced walkers.

2-Larapinta Trail, NT

hiking australia
Photo: World Expeditions / Great Walks of Australia & Graham Michael Freeman

Stretching along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges, the 223km Larapinta Trail is a walk through the heart of Central Australia with jaw-dropping scenery of gaps, gorges and chasms.

Climb Mt Sonder (1380m) for wonderful views of the West MacDonnell Range. You can do the whole track or choose shorter one or two-day walks, as many sections of the trail are accessible by 4WD.

Camping in the outback is an experience to remember. This is hiking Australia at its best.

3-Great Ocean Walk, Vic

great walks
Photo: World Expeditions / Great Walks of Australia & Graham Michael Freeman
great walks
Photo: Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk / Great Walks of Australia & Graham Michael Freeman

Of all Australia’s great walks, the Great Ocean Walk is one of the most picturesque. You can easily step on and off sections of the picturesque 104km Great Ocean Walk in Victoria.

The trail stretches from the resort town of Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles. It passes through two National Parks, deserted beaches and offers views over a marine sanctuary where you might spot frolicking dolphins.

A popular way of experiencing this route is on a luxury guided walk staying in a luxury eco-lodge where gourmet meals are prepared each night.

4-Overland Track, Tasmania

great ocean walk
Photo: Tasmanian Walking Company / Great Walks of Australia & Graham Michael Freeman
great ocean walk
Tasmanian Walking Company / Great Walks of Australia & Graham Michael Freeman

Tasmania’s Overland Track is a six-day walk through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It connects Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.

There are plenty of side tracks that reveal picturesque waterfalls, dolerite mountains, lakes and diverse ecosystems along the way.

Bushwalker’s huts, rainwater tanks, camping platforms and bushwalker’s toilets are located at each of the five overnight stops on the track.

If you had to choose only one of these great walks, this iconic experience in Tasmania is the one to put at the top of your list.

5-Cape to Cape Track, WA

hiking australia
Photo: Jesse Desjardins

From soaring Karri forests to windswept limestone cliffs and pristine beaches, the Cape to Cape Track offers picture-perfect scenery.

The seven-day route from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin stretches 135km along Australia’s Southwest coast and offers views of coastal heath, ancient dunes and granite cliff lines.

In spring, the hillsides are covered in wildflowers; blankets of purple scaevola and pink pimelia make this walk a highlight.

6-Fraser Island Great Walk, QLD

larapinta trail
Photo: Tourism Australia

The 90km route around the world’s largest sand island is an adventure for all the family.

Following old logging roads and tramlines and the pathways of the island’s original inhabitants, the Butchulla people, the track passes crystal-clear lakes, sand dunes and towering rainforests.

The island’s freshwater lakes and creeks are a sanctuary for birds such as brahminy kites, pied oystercatchers and white-bellied sea-eagles.

There’s also the opportunity to spot sugar gliders, brush-tail possums and flying-foxes at night.

Fraser Island is a Queensland gem and a World Heritage site that should be on your bucket list.

7-Gold Coast Hinterland Walk, QLD

larapinta trail
Photo: Tourism Australia & Jamie MacFadyen

The lush 54km Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk traverses the ancient landscape of the Gondwana Rainforests.

It’s a magical walk that links World Heritage-listed Lamington and Springbrook National Parks.

Highlights of the picture-book trail include walking along the rim of an ancient volcano and through the lush rainforest past babbling brooks and waterfalls where you can spot platypus, bandicoots, wallabies, pademelon and pygmy possums.

This is a lush and lovely walk in a beautiful area of Queensland.

8-Freycinet Peninsula Circuit, Tasmania

hiking australia
Photo: Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman
larapinta trail
Photo: Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman

The 30km Freycinet Peninsula Circuit travels from Hazard Mountains to Wineglass Bay and takes around two days to complete. But there are plenty of shorter sections within Freycinet National Park that are part of this circuit.

The views of red granite cliffs, bays and sandy beaches are well worth the effort. With fine weather and good tracks with little mud, the circuit is popular with families and beginners.

It’s a beautiful hike and perhaps one of the best in Tasmania, Australia’a island state.

9-Six Foot Track, Blue Mountains, NSW

hiking australia
Photo: Tourism Australia & Andrew Smith

The 42km Six Foot Track follows the route of the original 1884 horse track that was carved through rock and bush, between Katoomba and Jenolan Caves.

Walkers cross mountain ranges, rainforests, eucalypt forests and open grazing country.

There are spectacular natural features such as caves, sheer sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and forested valleys.

The entire walk takes about three days. Several tour operators run guided trips on this track.

10-Australia Alps, Vic, NSW and ACT

larapinta trail
Photo: Tourism Australia & Oliver Strewe
larapinta trail
Photo: Tourism Australia & Paddy Pallin

The 650km Australian Alps Walking Track winds through the high country of Victoria, NSW and ACT.

Ten weeks of walking through rugged remote alpine country is not for the faint hearted and anyone attempting the entire walk needs to be experienced, self-reliant and have good navigation skills. But you can still enjoy scenery from the Man From Snowy River country by walking shorter sections on the Baw Baw Plateau, Bogong High Plains and in the Jagungal Wilderness Area.

11-Hiking Australia

Safe walking checklist

Choose a walk that is suitable to your experience and fitness.

Pack clothing and equipment to suit changeable weather and track conditions. Always carry a tent on overnight walks.

Leave details of your trip with a family member or friend to alert authorities if you fail to return as planned.

Your equipment list should include a good quality tent, warm sleeping bag, waterproof clothing, warm clothing in layers, sturdy boots, woollen socks and gaiters, gloves, warm hat. Don’t forget your sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. Other items to pack are a first aid kit, map, compass, whistle, toothbrush, torch and batteries, lightweight, nutritious food.

Alternatively, there any many companies that organise guided luxury walking holidays where the equipment and food is included.

Practice minimal impact walking techniques by leaving only footprints.

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