Up here….Walk this way…..
Australia has many great walks or hikes to discover. Way too many to mention all of them in this post. So I asked a number of other travel bloggers to tell me about their favourite hikes. Here they are. Come walk this way with them and me on a Great Australian Hike.
Great Australian Hikes in New South Wales
Mount Kosciusko, NSW
The view from the highest mountain in Australia
One of Australia’s most iconic hikes is the 13-kilometre return trek to the highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko. Add to the thrilling experience by taking the beautiful Kosciuszcko Chairlift from Thredbo to enjoy the expansive views over the Thredbo Valley. Once you hop off at the top you will have a well formed and relatively steady climb to the peak of Mount Kosciusko. Alternately you can begin the walk from Charlotte’s Pass which will save you the lift ticket cost but will include an additional 5.6 kilometres of walking.
Allow yourself a full day to complete the Kosciusko hike as there is plenty to see along the way and the views from the top are well worthwhile a stop for a picnic lunch if the weather is clear. The return hike if you are short on time can be completed in about 4-5 hours if you are starting from the chairlift.
Along the way, enjoy the sweeping alpine views and depending on the Month keep an eye out for the pretty wildflower displays and snow-melt waterfalls. The trail is well formed with a raised metal track and sealed road the whole way.
The Kosciuszko walk is a very popular one with all types of travellers so it is recommended to head off as early as possible to enjoy the summit in relative peace and quiet. From the Summit viewpoint take in the 360 vista of the surrounding Snowy Mountains in all their beauty. It truly is a spectacular place to visit and a must-do for all adventurers.
Remember the Snowy Mountains are an alpine environment and the weather can dramatically change, very quickly. Ensure you have sun protection and layers of clothing to cater for all weather events even in the middle of summer.
By Karen from Big Adventures For Little Feet
Kiama Coastal Walk, NSW
Wild and rugged coastline on the Kiama Coast Walk
The Australian Coast is a great place for a hike. The wild and dramatic coast south of Sydney is home to one of the best walks in New South Wales: the Kiama Coast Walk. Kiama is a small town worth a weekend away from Sydney and one of the best things to do there is to take the long coastal walk. The walk is 22 km long, from Minnamura River to Gerringong. Whilst experienced hikers might be able to complete it in a day, the recommendation is to split it over three days, for a more leisurely walk. Another great option is to do the walk over two days, splitting it at Kiama Blowhole. This way, both days are roughly equivalent in distance and difficulty, and you can easily use the local train at the start and finish of each day. The walk isn’t technically difficult. There aren’t too many steep sections and the track varies a lot, with a mix of coastal path, boardwalk, rock and beach walking. Starting at the northern end, at Minnamura River, the track follows the coast past homes with extraordinary views. The highlight of this section is Bombo Quarry, a fantastic sunrise photography spot. The southern section, from Kiama to Gerringong, has less houses and is much less exposed and wild. Both sections are beautiful but if you only have a day to dedicate to the Kiama Coast Walk, this is the one to go for!
From Delphine at LesterLost
Royal National Park Coastal Walk, NSW
Spectacular coastline in the Royal National Park
Royal National Park on the southern fringes of Sydney is famous for its spectacular coastline. The best way to immerse yourself in this stunning landscape is to hike the 26-kilometre long Coast Track. Starting in the laid-back seaside village of Bundeena, the track meanders up and down between the towering headlands and the tranquil sandy beaches before finishing at Otford lookout, right across the road from the Otford Pantry cafe.
Most hikers take two days to complete the track, with an overnight stop at North Era beach. In recent years, most of the trail has been converted to the boardwalk which makes it possible to do the Coast Track in one long day.
It is also possible to complete shorter sections of the track as half-day walks. The popular Bundeena to Marley Beach walk (9 km return) covers the northern quarter of the track. Palm Jungle Loop trail (11 km loop) offers a sample of its southern end. Or you can explore the middle section of Coast Track by hiking from Wattamolla to Curracurrong Falls (7.2 km return) – one of only three waterfalls in Australia that flows directly into the ocean.
Contributed by Margarita Steinhardt / The Wildlife Diaries
Drawing Room Rocks, Berry, NSW
Fantastic views from the top of Drawing Room Rocks
The short but moderately challenging Drawing Room Rocks Hike is located just outside Berry in the Shoalhaven District of New South Wales. The hike itself is a bushwalk on a well-trodden path. It ascends to a picturesque lookout with unique rock formations and sweeping views of the whole Shoalhaven region. All the way to the sparkling blue of the Pacific Ocean.
To locate the hike’s starting point (which is an adventure in itself), you’ll need to locate Broger’s Creek Road. When the road splits, stay on the right side of the fork which will take you to a small area where you can park whilst you undertake the hike.
The walk itself will take around 2.5 hours for the return journey, but it can be challenging as it is unrelentingly uphill. The view at the top is worth it. With eroded rocks that appear to be natural tables and chairs for weary hikers to rest on as they take in the vista.
There are no facilities at any point on the hike or at the top, so make sure you’re well-prepared with water and snacks.
Contributed by Emma from Emma Jane Explores
Grand Canyon, Blue Mountains, NSW
Enter a different world on the Grand Canyon Loop
If you were to ask the locals for their recommendation of the best hike in the Blue Mountains, there’s a good chance they will all respond with the same one; the Grand Canyon loop in Blackheath. Commencing at the spectacularly scenic Evans Lookout, this well-maintained track is listed by NSW Parks and Wildlife as a Grade 3. While it isn’t the most challenging of Blue Mountains tracks, the descent down into the canyon itself means a big climb out on the other side.
The loop itself is approximately 6 kilometres, but the walk between the car and the track will add another 1.5 kilometres. It takes an average of between 3 and 4 hours.
Stepping down into the canyon is like entering a different world. The track follows the path of Greaves Creek through rainforest and sandstone walls, waterfalls and rock pools. Then you reach a large sandy floored rock overhang known as The Rotunda, once used as an Aboriginal shelter.
Lucky walkers may catch a glimpse of the Australian native Lyrebird, or hear its song echoing through the vegetation as it mimics incorporates any sound it has heard into its song. Reptiles are also common along this track, keep a watchful eye out for the Eastern Water Dragons basking in the sun by the water.
Contributed by Holly from Globeblogging
Great Australian Hikes in the Northern Territory
Kathryn Gorge, NT
Stunning views over Katherine Gorge from Baruwei Lookout
Katherine Gorge, also known as Nitmiluk Gorge is one of the best areas in the Northern Territory for hiking. You can easily visit on a weekend or day trip from Darwin and enjoy the gorge and nearby waterfalls. Head to the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre where you can park and choose from a variety of different trails ranging from easy to difficult.
Baruwei Lookout Walk is one of the most popular since it is only 1.8 kilometers long. This trail takes most people only an hour or so. This walk is one of the best in the area since it is short and takes you up to a viewpoint over the dramatic Katherine Gorge – stunning!
For something a little longer, consider the Baruwei Loop Walk which is a longer extension of the lookout walk. It is 4.8 kilometers long and takes most people around 3 hours to complete. You’ll visit the lookout before looping back around to the beginning.
Those after a challenge can’t pass up the opportunity to hike the Jatbula Trail. This 60-kilometer-long hike takes most people around 5 days to complete and is best suited for experienced hikers.
By Bailey from Destinationless Travel
Valley of the Winds, Kata Tjuta, NT
Valley of the Winds
If you are heading to the Northern Territory, whether it’s on a road trip from Adelaide, Darwin or by flying directly to Alice Springs, spending some time in Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park is a must do.
Kata Tjuta is home to one of the best hikes in Australia, the Valley of the Winds walk. The full circuit is a 7.4km loop that takes about 4 hours to complete. However, if you are not up for the full experience, you can make it shorter by just going to the lookouts and making your way back. If you are into hiking though, you will love doing the full loop. Before getting started, you must be aware of the fact that it’s a Grade 4 hike which means it’s steep and hard.
You will be starting at the Valley of the Winds car park. Make sure to top up your bottle of water here. The first kilometre of the walk is moderate and will lead you to the Karu Lookout. After that, you will keep going for another kilometre to reach the Karingana Lookout. This is the most difficult part of the walk as you will be going through creeks and it’s very steep. After that, you will walk back down and through the valley. This is the easy part (which is why you should really consider doing the whole loop).
The valley of the winds boast breath-taking views of the outback. It is a unique opportunity to walk on the domes in a respectful manner.
By Pauline from BeeLoved City
Great Australian Hikes in Queensland
Girraween National Park, QLD
Girraween National Park
When thinking of some great hikes to do in Australia, you might like to give the Girraween National Park a look. Located in Southern Country Queensland and just 30 minutes south of the town of Stanthorpe.
There are more than 10 different hikes you can complete in the National Park, so it will keep you entertained for a few days to a week. In particular, “The Pyramid Track hike” is the most popular to do, not only for the views but also for the challenging scramble at the end.
The Pyramid Track is about 3.6 kilometres return and will take 1.5 to 2 hours return to complete. It’s a formed track, and the first three quarters will have you gradually walking uphill with stairs. The last quarter is the hardest, scaling up the mountain with a gradient of 30 to 40 degrees. This part of the hike is demanding, requires some crawling with your hands, and a little daunting for those with height issues. The end has views that are well worth the effort at 884 metres above sea level, along with capturing that Instagram-worthy shot with the famous Balancing rock.
By Chris Fry the Aquarius Traveller
Warrie Circuit, Springbrook, QLD
Walk through the rainforest on the Warrie Circuit
The Warrie Circuit is a 14 kilometre loop hike through Springbrook National Park, a rainforest paradise in the Gold Coast hinterland. It’s a stunning walk that features over half a dozen waterfalls, rock pools and beautiful forest wilderness.
There are two starting points. The Canyon Lookout and Tallanbana picnic ground; there is more car parking and a café at the Canyon Lookout. Expect the walk to take 5 – 6 hours and avoid starting too late in the day as it can get dark in the forest earlier than you expect.
This is a medium to difficult hike. The walk up the valley is made comfortable by a series of switchbacks. The most challenging part of the walk is some mud and potentially getting your feet wet as you cross creeks. Even if the water is low, the rocks can be quite slippery so you need to be sure-footed.
Whatever obstacles you encounter you’ll be rewarded by some stunning views. The waterfalls area highlight. You get to walk behind, over and around them. It is also a great finishing at Canyon Lookout and being able to see from above the waterfalls and forest you have just explored.
By Natalie from Curious Campers
Noosa National Park, QLD
Enjoy a swim or surf in the ocean after a hike in the Noosa National Park
There’s several different trails you can enjoy in Noosa National Park.The best has to be the coastal track, which takes you all along the edge of this gorgeous part of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Certainly one of the best hikes in Australia, thanks to its accessibility, stunning scenery and wildlife spotting potential, this 4-5km trail takes between 2-3 hours to walk one way. The walk usually begins from the Noosa National Park car park, situated just down the road from this iconic town’s Main Beach. From here, you’ll wander the headland past Tea Tree Bay and Picnic Cove, before reaching the lookout spot of Hell’s Gate. After crossing Alexandria Bay, you’ll then come to Lion Rock before you descend to the stunning surf location of Sunshine Beach. Here you can enjoy a great coffee, meal or drink at one of the many local cafes in this charming, local enclave.
The coastal track is paved the whole way and, despite a few ascents and descents, is generally viewed as a fairly easy hike. Though there are some steps that may make it difficult for families. However, the opportunity to see whales and dolphins (during the right season), as well as echidnas and koalas, make this a great walk for all ages. And of course, you can’t beat the beautiful native bushland landscape, backed by those blue ocean views!
Cameras at the ready!
By Stephanie from Big World Small Pockets
Great Australian Hikes in Tasmania
Dove Lake Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Dove Lake sits at the foot of Cradle Mountain
One of Australia’s most beautiful walks is the Dove Lake Walk in Cradle Mountain – St Clair National Park Tasmania. This walk is one of several that visitors to the Cradle Mountain park area can enjoy and is one of the easiest.Â Dove Lake is a leisurely 6km circuit walk along mostly boarded footpaths and will take around 2.5 hours to complete. This includes stops to take breath-taking photographs of the surroundings!
Dove Lake sits at the foot of the majestic Cradle Mountain. The route will take you past the mountain, through dense rainforests, several small cascading waterfalls and a cool temperate forest known as the Ballroom Forest. Sandy lake beaches are accessible on the walk and are a great spot to have a picnic, but remember your insect repellent!
Dove Lake circuit is suitable for all fitness levels as it is mainly a flat surface walk with one set of stairs towards the end leading up a slight hill. The bench at the top is a place to rest and enjoy the panoramic views across the lake to Cradle Mountain. The walk finishes back in the car park and near the iconic Dove Lake boathouse, once the place that pleasure boats were stored to take passengers around the lake back in the 1940s.
By Angela Price from Where Angie Wanders
Great Australian Hikes in Victoria
1000 Steps Walk, Dandenong Ranges, VIC
Some of the 1000 Steps
The 1000 Steps Walk is in the Dandenong Ranges National Park and only 38 kilometers from central Melbourne, near Ferntree Gully. The walk is 2.5 kilometres in each direction.
At the base of what is officially the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, are several carparks and overflow parking areas, a café, and an amphitheater showing the main campaign in Papua New Guinea during World War II involving Australians. There is also a playground, and a statue and memorial for those who lost their lives during the war.
The walk begins with a long and rising path through ferns and towering gums and follows a stream. The famously named 1000 steps then begin and continue to the top of the walk. Along the way are plaques and a few rest stations. Many people walk up the steps (concrete with metal railings) and then down the Lyrebird Track which is an access road from the summit.
Many people use the 1000 Steps walk as a training run for the real Kokoda Trail. Others take it slow and stop frequently and sometimes carry walking sticks. People of all ages take this beautiful walk among the ferns and gums. It is slippery when wet and for the very unfit.
By Monique at Trip Anthropologis
Great Ocean Walk, VIC
Rugged coastline along The Great Ocean Walk
The Great Ocean Walk is an incredible hike covering just over 100km of Victorian coastline, running alongside (or as near as is practicable) the world famous Great Ocean Road.
Separated into 11 official sections, each one covering anywhere between 3-16km. Most are considered suitable for beginners or intermediate hikers, with just one section that is classed as ‘hard’. The recommended time for completing the whole thing is around 8 days (combining shorter sections on a couple of days) – but each section makes for a great walk in it’s own right.
Those completing the Great Ocean Walk have the option to camp along the trail at several hike-in hike-out campsites. Although most are on a first in first served basis (and the trail can be busy in summer months). But, most walkers book accommodation between sections, which often includes pick up and drop off at the start/end points of each section, and allow guests to explore some of the cute seaside towns along the way.
Along the way, walkers are blessed with amazing coastal views, endless beaches, the opportunity to hike under the canopy of the Otway Rainforest and pass by a couple of gorgeous waterfalls.
It’s a one-of-kind type adventure and a truly unique way to experience Australia’s Great Ocean Road.”
By Vicki Garside from Great Ocean Road Guide
The Grampians National Park, VIC
Don’t forget to look back at the beauty of the Grampians
Your trip to the Grampians National Park is incomplete until you have visited the Southern Grampians region. Dunkeld, the main tourist end of the southern end of the iconic range, is a great place to base yourself to explore some fantastic hiking trails and experience some brilliant Grampians vistas.
At the foot of Dunkeld township you can hike to the summit of Mt Sturgeon. The return walk takes anywhere from 1-3 hours return depending on your fitness level and how much of a hurry you are in. For an easier option, you can tackle the Picaninny which is far more family friendly, for those who are travelling with children. This walk has two starting points and will take approximately 30 minutes to one hour to reach the summit.
Heading out along the Halls Gap road, keep an eye out for the Mt Abrupt car park. While this is the more challenging walk of the most well known ‘Dunkeld trails’, it does offer the most impressive views from the top. Be prepared to ascend quickly, walking up the face of the mountain, up both natural and made stairs and across landslides.
Once you’re at the top of the initial climb, you will climb towards the flagpole in the distance. Due to the construction of the Grampians Peaks Trail, the track is well made and well used. On the way up to the top, be sure to take breaks and look back – that is where the beauty lies and where you can enjoy incredible views across the Grampians mountain range. The Mt Abrupt hike takes 2-4 hours, however, if you have little people climbing with you, pack a picnic, sunhat, jacket and water and make a day of it.
By Erin from Australian Mountains To Sea
Entrance Walk, Lakes Entrance, VIC
There is nothing like a walk in the sunshine enjoying the fresh air. One that is absolutely perfect for beginners or families is The Entrance Walk located in Lakes Entrance, Victoria.
As the name suggests you take the walk to where the Lakes system meets the sea at the lake’s entrance. To get there you have 2 ways you can go. You can take the first way through the bush along Cunninghame Arm or you can walk along the 90-mile beach right next to the crashing waves.
The Cunninghame Arm section is a little easier as the bush section is on a short boardwalk before you venture out onto the sand. As it is not as exposed to the elements as the 90-mile beach section is so the sand is firmer and easier to walk on.
The 90-mile beach section can be a little harder for families as the sand and weather conditions can differ from the Cunninghame Arm section of the walk. Both of them will get you to the entrance where you can sometimes see the native Burrunan Dolphin that is only found in the Gippsland Lakes system and plenty of seals lasing about on the rocks.
The walk is easy to get to from Lakes Entrance as you cross the footbridge on the esplanade and follow the signs to the entrance. What you do need to remember is that there are no shops along the way so you will need to take all of your snacks and drinks with you.
Along the Cunningahame Arm section, there are also holiday houses. Please respect the people at own them and don’t venture in to have a look.
This is one of the most popular things to do in Lakes Entrance so you may not be the only ones on the walk but you will find at times you are the only ones on the 90-mile beach section.
By Bec from Travels in Gippsland
Great Australian Hikes in Western Australia
Castle Rock and Granite Skywalk, WA
Walk The Granite Skywalk
The Porongurups are a National Park that sits about 45 minutes away from the southern Western Australia city of Albany. With distinctive granite domes, the Porongurups offer many half day treks, though the most popular – largely due to the addition of The Granite Skywalk – is Castle Rock Trail. Enjoy spectacular jarrah, marri and karri forest along the way and in the spring, capture the beauty of wildflower season.
Most of the uphill track is of a moderate grade. Climbing to the Skywalk, however, requires a considerable degree of scrambling at the end and the ability to pull your own weight up and climb a small ladder, earning the trail a class 5 grading. Depending on fitness levels and stops along the way, allow 2 to 3 hours to complete the 4.4km trail.
Managed by WA Parks and Wildlife Service traditional land of the Wagyl Kaip people, there’s a daily fee for parking. You need your own private vehicles to get there with no public transport links. After you have completed your hike, there’s a large and well-maintained Castle Rock picnic area, small teashop in the village of Porongurup or many local wineries to explore (book ahead though especially weekends if you want a full meal).
By Keri from Our Globetrotters
Cape to Cape, WA
One of the many beaches you will encounter on the Cape to Cape Track
The famous Cape to Cape Track runs 123km from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. (Or in other terms down the toes of the foot of Western Australia).
It can be done comfortably in 6 -7 days by doing about 18-20km a day. if you are carrying a tent and your gear it is considered quite challenging, especially some of the beach sections! However, as the Cape to Cape is in the highly accessible Margaret River Region it can also be done in short segments of anything from 3km to 10km at a time. These are of moderate difficulty, or even easy for the fit and experienced hiker. The rewards are similar, spectacular coastal scenery and lots of brisk salty air.
Along the Cape to Cape there are many points of interest. The Lighthouses at either end, Sugarloaf Rock or the popular Quinninup Falls, which is one of the better short Margaret River hikes. If you want to enjoy the famous cuisine and wine of the Margaret River region, there are several tour operators that organise pickups so that you can sleep in a five star bed and wine and dine in the evenings, and hike during the day!
By Ariana from World of Travels with Kids
Hancock Gorge, WA
“Walking through the deep gorges of Karijini National Park is an awesome experience. The unique layers of red cliffs and red earth are like something from a different planet. One of the best hikes in Karijini is Hancock Gorge, which leads to Kermits Pool at the end. This trail is only 1.5km round trip but you will want to take about 2 hours to complete this trail.
Even with its short length the hike is moderate to difficult as you are required to climb, swim and scramble through the gorges to reach the end of the trail and see Kermits Pool. A mixture of the beautiful and unique landscape and the adventurous nature of completing this hike is what makes it so special.
One of the highlights on this trail is known as the spiderman walk as you have to plant a hand and foot on each side of a narrow gorge and shuffle along like a spider. Kermits Pool is the end goal and the water is often a bright green colour, hence the name. Karijini National Park is a seriously cool place and the short hike along Hancock Gorge is one of the many awesome trails in the area that you will absolutely love.”
By Luke from Wild About BC
Z Bend, Kalbarri, WA
The sharp bend on the Murchison River
The Z Bend is a scenic lookout in Kalbarri National Park in Western Australia. It is home to some of the best hikes in Australia, and there are different lengths, depending on which route you take and your level of fitness. For example, you can opt to take the moderately easy track to the Z-Bend Lookout. The hike is a 1.2km return walk, and you can see epic views over the river gorge. A highlight is the sharp bend of the Murchison River.
The Z Bend River Trail is more demanding and would require a higher level of fitness but is one of the bestÂ things to do in Kalbarri. The hike is only 2.6km, but there are steep descents and areas where you will have to climb up and down ladders and go through tight passages. It is insanely beautiful because the red, rugged landscape is unique to other places in Australia, and you will get to see the gorge up close, rambling through boulders. It takes roughly two hours if you do not stop, but it’s a good idea to take your time and enjoy the scenery, and if the weather is on your side, you can swim in the gorge.
By Rachel from Average Lives
And there you have it, some great Australian hikes. Some only take a few hours while others a few days. Some are easy and some are hard. All of them offer something different from beautiful views of exquisite landscapes through a variety of terrains. I hope you make the time to experience a hike in Australia. So join me and walk this way!
Sharyn McCullum has travelled all of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She is the creator of Live Work and Play in Australia. She loves coffee, chocolate and parmas and currently calls Melbourne home. Read More.