Experiences you can only find in Australia and when to go

Cradle Mountain | Image: Adrianne Yzerman
Cradle Mountain | Image: Adrianne Yzerman

Outback, alpine or a tropical escape? These remote and uncrowded adventures await in these stunning corners and secret wilderness spots of Australia. Here are five places and unique hiking adventures you can only experience Down Under.

Walk through a maze of 350 million-year-old beehive-like rock formations

Where: Bungle Bungles in Western Australia

What makes it special? Its dramatic scenery and spectacular canyons make it one of the most unique and remote natural wonders in Australia. Weathered into the dome shapes we see today as a result of millions of years of erosion, the World Heritage-listed Bungle Bungles’ isn’t all dry desert. Beautiful palms grow around the sandstone rocks with isolated rock holes which make for a refreshing dip.

Keep your eye out for the diverse bird species found here (over 130!) – from wild budgies to Great Bowerbirds, Friar Birds to Pheasant Coucals, and native animals such as the short-eared rock wallaby.

A happy group posing in front of the Bungle Bungles |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i>

How to best experience it: Trek with a full pack on the Bungle Bungles Piccaninny Gorge Trek for a spectacular 5-day desert adventure and sleep under an array of stars in remote bush campsites. Guided and with all camping equipment included, the fully supported trek is an achievable expedition-style bushwalk for those who love to kick up some dust with their feet.

When to go: Travel between May and June. In May, the National Park will be lush and green following the wet season, so there will be plenty of wildflowers to see. While daytime temperatures are still warm, waterholes are usually filled so you can take a nice refreshing dip.

June and July are the most popular months for the Bungle Bungles as it's the coolest time of the year and the most pleasant time for walking. Night-time temperatures can be quite low, particularly in July, with some nights dropping below 0°C.

See unique flora and fauna in the Land of a Thousand Lakes

Where: Walls of Jerusalem National Park in Central Tasmania

What makes it special? One of the most beautiful parks in Tasmania, this national park is defined by highland tarns and lakes, dolerite peaks and alpine meadows. It’s also one of Tasmania's last remaining stands of ancient pencil pine forests.

Known amongst locals as the ‘Land of a Thousand Lakes’, rare and wonderful endemic flora put on a show for visitors with the opportunities to spot resident wildlife, such as humbling wombats, inquisitive wallabies or shy pademelons.


How to best experience it: You can only enter this stunning part of Tasmania on foot. Guided or self-guided, trek some of the craggy hills and admire the spectacular views of mountains in the distance including Cradle Mountain, Barn Bluff, Mount Oakleigh and Mount Ossa in the distance, as the thousands of lakes shimmer across the valleys like silver coins scattered across the high plateau.

When to go: Walk the trail between October and April for the best chance for warmer temperatures, but you are likely to experience all sorts of weather while in Tasmania – winds, steady rain and even snow in elevated areas can occur at any time of year.

October and November marks the return of longer, warmer days while still being cool at night. Springtime will see fewer crowds and beautiful wildflowers in bloom. In summer, from December to February, you can experience ideal weather conditions and is the most popular time to walk in Tasmania, so you may encounter more people on the trail. In autumn you can experience calm, sunny days, and cool crisp nights. You can also witness some of the leaves and trees begin to change colours.

Chase waterfalls and gaze out from a natural infinity pool for an unforgettable swim

Where: Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory

What makes it special? As one of Australia's largest terrestrial national park, Kakadu is a national tropical treasure and arguably one of the best ways to experience the immense bird and animal life – around 280 different bird species, 120 species of reptiles and 2,000 types of plants. With remote gorges, sparkling waterfalls and ancient rock art around every corner, the World Heritage Area covers some 20,000 square kilometres.

From stone escarpment to savannah woodlands, tranquil wetlands to majestic waterfall sites, Kakadu’s timeless landscape is one of the most genuinely spiritual travel experiences an Australian can ever do.

How to best experience it:
Enjoy bushwalks between waterfalls and swimming holes (including the picturesque Gunlom Plunge Pool) and marvel at seldom-seen ancient rock art of Kakadu's stone country. Hitting the National Park's secret spots, while staying at our comfortable, exclusive campsites, our Kakadu Explorer trip treks through the cool Monsoon Vine Forest and includes a cruise on the tranquil Yellow Waters (a favourite hangout for saltwater crocodiles).

When to go: Trips run between May and September, which is the dry season for Kakadu. May to June offer cooler temperatures, though it still gets humid during the day. Mid-June to mid-August see numerous wildlife in play. Late August to September will make it feel like a perfect summer’s day every day with the heat returning, billabongs flocking with birdlife and endless opportunities to witness mesmerising sunsets.

Hike along one of the world's best long-distance desert walks

Where: The Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory

What makes it special: Abound with sacred and archaeological sites with scenic waterholes, gorges and spectacular mountain ranges, it doesn’t surprise us that the Larapinta Trail is one of the Great Walks of Australia and named in National Geographic’s 100 Hikes of a Lifetime.

Combined with the knowledge that you are walking in the footsteps of people belonging to one of the longest continuing cultures on the planet, the Larapinta Trail makes this most celebrated desert walk one of Australia’s must-do outback experiences.

Highlights of the trail include the 5km ridgeline walk at Counts Point that offers extensive views of 100km in every direction and the colourful Ochre Pits, a traditional Aboriginal quarry, which is splashed in a spectacle of white, yellow, orange and red.

Not to mention, the incredible Serpentine Gorge which cuts in the red quartzite cliffs near Charlie’s Camp is a must-see, as well as climbing to the summit of Mt Sonder to welcome an unforgettable sunrise over the vast plateau.

How to best experience it: The challenge is all part of the fun when trekking the full 223km Larapinta Trail along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges, with the option to conquer the iconic trail in smaller sections. One of the stand-out experiences is our Classic Larapinta Trek in Comfort, which stay in multi award-winning, comfortable semi-permanent eco campsites.

The stars of the desert sky are a stunning backdrop to our unique Semi-Permanent Campsites |  <i>Graham Michael Freeman</i> Trekkers relaxing on the porch of their campsites |  <i>Shaana McNaught</i> The Larapinta Campsites offer inspiring views across the West MacDonnell Ranges |  <i>Brett Boardman</i> Guides prepare fresh meals each day Smoked salmon canapes served at Charlie's camp on day 2 Classic Larapinta Trek in Comfort. |  <i>Ayla Rowe</i> Our eco-friendly bathroom amenities use water efficiently |  <i>Shaana McNaught</i>

When to go: The Larapinta Trail is the perfect winter walk with the cooler months (May to August), offering more comfortable walking conditions. April to May and August to September can be warmer, so be prepared for temperatures in the 30’C during the day and mild conditions at night. Central Australia is a climate of extremes; expect warm days and very cool evenings.

Reconnect with nature on Tasmania’s most iconic and diverse hiking track

Where: The Overland Track in North-west Tasmania

What makes it special? If there is one thing that travellers rave about when they return from the Overland Track, it’s the spectacular ever-changing landscape. Considered one of Australia’s finest walks internationally, the track spans 73 kilometres across the Cradle Mountain St Clair National Park.

Cross craggy spires to the country’s deepest lake while enjoying up-close encounters with native wildlife, with each evening spent at scenic camps in remote wilderness.

How to best experience it:
Trek on well-defined duckboard paths over six days on the classic traverse which pass the highest peaks in the state, including Mount Ossa and Cradle Mountain. Walk through a scenic, natural kaleidoscope, varying from magnificent lakes, waterfalls, cliffs and lookouts, to button grass plains strewn across alpine meadows. Guided or self-guided, the Overland Track is a fantastic way to switch off from the digital world, breathe in the fresh air and be immersed in prehistoric wilderness.

When to go: While beautiful at all times of the year, the vibrant colours of autumn are particularly stunning as the colours of deciduous beech add a spectacular display of rusty reds and brilliant golds to the already beautiful landscape.

October to February offer the best chance for warmer temperatures, with December to January being the most popular time to walk in Tasmania so you may encounter more people on the trail.

From June to August, the high peaks along the Overland Track receive a generous dusting of snow and lakes are frozen, turning the Cradle Mountain National Park into a winter wonderland. With fewer people on the track during the winter season, this offers a more serene and tranquil environment and the chance to snowshoe in the alpine landscape.

Australia, hiking, walking, trekking

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