Top 10 Australian Hikes
Top walking trails in Australia
Australia is a country that is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and there is no better way to gorge yourself on some the country’s dramatic scenery than to attempt one of the countries many great adventure walks. Here is the realbuzz.com guide 10 of the best, from short jaunts to colossal long distance trails, for hikers Oz has it all.
Six Foot Track, Blue Mountains, New South Wales
Originally a horse trail created to take tourists between Katoomba and the Jenolan Caves. The Six Foot Track will take walkers around three days to complete and offers an adventurous 45km (27.9 miles) walk through rainforest and vast planes into valleys with tricking waterfalls and ancient caves. The walk is a well known classic. Its terminus, the massive depths of the Jenolan caves, stands as one of the most rewarding finish lines of any walk in Australia − the twisted calcite formations are pieces of extraordinary natural beauty.
Great Ocean Walk, Victoria
The Great Ocean Walk stretches 104km (64 miles) of awesome Victorian coastline. The walk takes you from Apollo Bay and finishes within touching distance of the protruding formations of the 12 Apostle Rocks. It will lead you around some spectacular scenery including cliffs with expansive views and other natural wonders in some of the areas national parks. It is possible and worthwhile to access shorter sections of the trail at various stages if you want to complete easier or specific routes. The trail also offers wonderful and rare opportunities to observe Australian wildlife including koalas, wallabies and a plethora of different species of birds. From June to October it is also possible to catch glimpses of whales on their migration along various sections of the trail. What more reason do you need to walk it?
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the surrounding UNESCO world heritage park − Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park − is one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders and a part of Australian cultural heritage. It offers walks in a setting which is truly unique and unparalleled. It also presents an ethical dilemma. Uluru itself is a 384m (1,250ft) tall sandstone monolith and naturally an enticing prospect to walk. However, though the park is currently leased to the Australian government by the indigenous Tjukurpa and Anangu, meaning Uluru is free to walk should you desire, due to the spiritual significance of rock to aboriginal culture, they ask that visitors do not climb the landmark itself.
If you choose to observe the request then you can instead walk the 9.8km (6 miles) base walk around the colossal circumference of Uluru. Doing this, as well as giving you a full-bodied taste of the parks rugged landscape, will help you identify with Uluru’s sheer scope and scale. You will also still get to experience many of the captivating views that you’d get at the top of the plateau anyway. And walkers, don’t just gravitate to Uluru make sure you take in the 500-million-year-old domes of the Kata Tjuta as well.
Fraser Island Great Walk, Queenland
A moderately difficult walk at low altitudes along 90km (55.9 miles) of the world’s largest sand island. The entire trail will take around a week to complete and encompasses a variety of off-shoots and extra walks ranging from a few hours to full-day excursions. One draw to the trail for more adventurous walkers is the fact that along the 90km there are no built rest stops or provisions, you have to carry everything which makes for an organic and unadulterated experience. The scenery adds to the sense of adventure – an 800,000-year-old habitat of un-spoilt white sand beaches, crystal clear water and sections which wind through stunning rainforest.
Cape to Cape Walk, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Western Australia
The Cape to Cape Walk encompasses 135km (83.8 miles) of south-west Australian coastal trekking from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. It presents the opportunity to take in everything the WA coast has to offer from its expansive, unkempt coast with its beaches, cliffs and caves to forested thickets of karri and jarrah. This can be a taxing trail, especially the parts which take you over long beach sections and if you are attempting the whole trail with full pack you’ll definitely be stretched. We recommend looking seaward for dolphins and whales and keeping an eye out for the illusive brown bandicoot. Taking in the caves around Canal Rocks is also a worthwhile pit-stop which provides a good rest stop where you can top up your fluid supplies.
Jatbula Trail, Nitmiluk National Park, Northern Territory
The Jatbula Trail is a 58km (36 miles) walking track which takes the hiker through Nitmiluk National Park. In all the walk should take around five days to complete and will take hikers through a rich variety of tropical landscapes as well as grasslands, rainforest and impressive gorges. One of the key draws to this trail is the presence of beautifully preserved Jawoyn aboriginal rock art, making the trail culturally significant as well as a fantastic wilderness experience. The trail can only be walked in one direction and due to climate and weather can be challenging. There are plenty of very relaxing areas to stop and soak in cool water holes making all the hard work rewarding. The trail is usually closed in the summer due to bush fire hazards.
The Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory
The Larapinta Trail carves a 223km route straight through the West MacDonnell Ranges taking walkers on a 20 day adventure all the way from Alice Springs to the summit of Mount Sonder. The trail offers a comprehensive insight into the harsh, desert landscape of the Australian outback with plenty of opportunities for sweeping views as you scramble up and down the steep ranges on your way to Mount Sonder. The trail is divided into 12 sections. Each will take over a day to complete and can include some pretty tough ascents. There are plenty of access routes to the trail if you want to attempt shorter sections with water supplies available at all trail heads.
Heysen Trail, South Australia
The Heysen trail is one of Australia’s great long-distance trails reaching 1200km (745 miles) across the country’s southern state from Cape Jervis, south of Adelaide to Parachilna Gorge. It is a world-class long distance hike and should be afforded proper preparation − you will need to be almost entirely self sufficient − and is among the best available for those dedicated pilgrims who choose to conquer it. The route traverses some of the most incredible scenery South Australia has to offer encompassing spectacular coastland, native bushland, rugged gorges, pine forests and vineyards. You will take in historic towns and some of the states most loved natural attractions including Barossa Valley and the immense ring of the Wilpena Pound. A must for any serious trekker, there are also sections of the track which can be undertaken independently for the saner among us!
Overland Track, Tasmania
One of Australia’s most popular wilderness tracks and for good reason. The Overland Track is a 65km (40 mile) trail starting out with the backdrop of Cradle Mountain and terminating at Lake St. Claire, some choose to extend the hike by hiking the banks of the lake as well taking the hike somewhere near the 75km mark. The track takes patrons through terrain ranging from sheer mountains and sub-tropical rainforest winding its way along gushing Rivers and alpine plains and is loved for its uncontaminated and pristine scenery. The trail usually takes around six days and is usually traversed north to south.
Bicentennial National Trail, Australia
This little bit of cheat considering its length and the sheer amount of stunning Australian scenery it absorbs, but the Bicentennial Trail − the longest multi-use trail in the world − had to be included in our list. Spanning a massive 5,330 km (3311 miles) from Cooktown (Queensland) to Healesville (Victoria), dissecting all three of Australia’s eastern states as it makes its way down the length of the country. It follows the entire expanse of the Great Dividing Range; through multiple national parks and runs adjacent to areas. Naturally it offers absolutely incredible scenery and a chance to capture the spirit of the pioneers.