There are tens of thousands of well-maintained hiking trails in Australia. Whether you’re travelling through the Kimberley or road tripping in Tasmania’s Huon pine forests, finding a good Australian hike isn’t hard. In this article,
There are tens of thousands of well-maintained hiking trails in Australia. Whether you’re travelling through the Kimberley or road tripping in Tasmania’s Huon pine forests, finding a good Australian hike isn’t hard. In this article, we’ve rounded up some of the most famous trails in the country – some are multi-day adventures, others you can do in a single day. All of them are beautiful.
1. The Larapinta Trail
The Larapinta Trail is known as one of the best arid zone walks in the world. But it’s not for the faint hearted. It runs 223km through some of the harshest land on the planet, the Northern Territory’s craggy West MacDonnell Range. Pretty much smack bang in the middle of nowhere.
It takes about 16 to 20 days to walk the Larapinta, and you need to organise food drops and rest days along the way. Summer hikes here are out of the question (temperatures can top 40 degrees Celsius), so most hikers tackle this one between April and September. Definitely one for the Bucket List.
2. The Overland Track
Australia’s other world famous multi-day hike is Tasmania’s Overland Track. It’s a little more friendly than the Larapinta: an elevated 89km trail that takes around 7-9 days. The Overland has become so popular that hikers have to book months, sometimes years in advance.
You’ll need a permit between November and May (the summer months), and during this time you can only walk the trail from north to south. Pro tip: spend the night before departure in the Cradle Mountain Lodge, that’ll give you time to catch the shuttle bus to Ronny Creek the next morning, then walk 6 hours to Waterfall Valley hut.
3. Australian Alps Walking Track
There are hundreds of good hikes through the Victorian and NSW high country, but the Alps Walking Track is the granddaddy. Six hundred and fifty kilometres of alpine meadow, windswept plains, wild brumbies, snow gum forests and freezing night-time temperatures.
Only experienced hikers should attempt this one, as you will need to organise food drops along the way. Highlights include Kosciuszko National Park and the Baw Baw Plateau. Clear your schedule for this one: some hikers take 10 weeks to finish the whole thing.
4. Cape To Cape Track
If we had to pick one hike in Western Australia (and there are plenty of crackers to choose from), it’d be the Cape To Cape Track, which runs all the way from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. About 123km as the crow flies.
The trek is pretty easy, and there are four dedicated camp grounds along the way. The trickiest bits are the beach stretches, which involve calf-busting trudges through soft sand. Some people will tell you it’s better to walk South to North along the track, but North to South is much easier: you won’t have the sun in your eyes the whole time.
5. Heysen Trail
Another one for the seasoned hikers. South Australia’s Heysen Trail runs for a whopping 1200km, all the way from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges. As you might expect, it covers jus about every ecological niche in South Australia, from red rock beaches to vineyards, pine forests to river gorges.
Nobody really expects anyone to walk the entire 1200km stretch (it takes some people six years), which is why the Heysen is broken up into several stages. There’s about 60 to choose from, but the Friends of Heysen Trail have helpfully broken them down for you.
6. The Kosciuszko Walk
Thredbo’s iconic day walk. You don’t need a team of sherpa and helicopter food drops to complete the Kosciuszko Walk – most people do it in about 5 hours. It’s a 13km loop track that departs from the top of the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift, on Thredbo. In winter the trail is generally covered with snow, but some people still tackle it on snowshoes or cross-country skis (just keep in mind, there are no snow poles marking the route). It’s better to tackle this hike in summer. The Snowy River will be running clear and cold, and you’ll get some great views from the summit of Mt Kosciuszko.
7. Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Obviously, if you’re flying to Uluru you should also do the Uluru Base Walk. But don’t forget this one: the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. It’s a 6km circuit that dips into the so-called ‘Garden of Eden’ then traces the rim of Kings Canyon, past the sandstone domes of the Lost City. It’s a pretty beginner friendly hike, but don’t take it too lightly: temperatures at Kings Canyon get bloody hot, so bring lots of water, a compass, and good quality hiking boots. Pretty much everyone agrees that there are only two times to walk Kings Canyon: sunrise and sunset. Anything else and you’re just missing out.
8. Scenic Rim Trail
Queensland has some fantastic coastal hikes (particularly on Fraser Island), but our favourite is relatively new to the scene. The Scenic Rim Trail opened in 2014. It’s a four-day trek that snakes through Main Range National Park and around Tamborine Mountain. It’s also the only official Great Walk Of Australia in Queensland. Set amongst heritage-listed highlands and the Gondwana Rainforests, the trail itself is a mix of 4WD track, packed earth and scrabbly bushland. Best of all? It comes with glamping options and classy cabin accommodation.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of hikes to try on your next trip to Australia. Want to learn more about other great trails from across the world? Check out some of our other lists just like this one.