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Best Australian walks and hiking trails

Walkers on the Bungle Bungles Trek | Holly Van De Beek
Walkers on the Bungle Bungles Trek | Holly Van De Beek

Social distancing comes easy on these top 15 Australian walking and trekking adventures. Find pack-free beginner walks to challenging hiking trails for experienced walkers.

15 of the best guided Australian walks and hikes

  1. Overland Track and Cradle Mountain Walk, Tasmania
  2. Jatbula Trail, Northern Territory
  3. Heysen Trail and the Flinders Ranges Walks, South Australia
  4. Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory
  5. Kanangra to Katoomba Hike (K2K), New South Wales
  6. Kakadu National Park Walk, Northern Territory
  7. Walls of Jerusalem Circuit Trek, Tasmania
  8. Yuraygir Coastal Walk, New South Wales
  9. Cape to Cape Track, Western Australia
  10. Bungle Bungles Piccaninny Gorge Trek, Western Australia
  11. Scenic Rim Walk, Queensland
  12. Tarkine/takayna Walks, Tasmania
  13. Bibbulmun Track, Western Australia
  14. Flinders Island Hikes, Tasmania
  15. The Maria Island Walk, Tasmania

1. Overland Track and Cradle Mountain Walks, TAS

Watch the landscape change colours when you trek the Overland Track in autumn |  <i>Jason Charles Hill</i>

One of the Great Walks of Australia and Tasmanian’s most iconic hiking trail, the Overland Track, will truly test you on this full-pack carrying challenge. However, its alpine magic of ancient Myrtle forest, glaciated dolerite landscapes, plateaus covered in sparkling tarns and lakes to Mt Ossa – Tasmania's highest peak, will keep you inspired to the end.

Walking length: 63km + side trips | Duration: 6 days (You can also choose to walk the Overland track in winter or to travel at your own pace on a self-guided adventure)

Difficulty: Moderately graded, read what the trip gradings mean.

Suitable for: Walkers who can trek up to six to seven hours a day at a steady pace. Nature enthusiasts and first-time bushwalkers with a good level of fitness can sign up. There are food drops and modern equipment provided on our fully supported trek to help keep your pack as light as possible.

• EXPERIENCE IT: The Overland Track >

2. Jatbula Trail, Nitmiluk National Park, NT

Bushwalk between waterfalls and swimming holes along the edge of the Arnhem Land escarpment, this Northern Territory hike is the Top End’s best-kept secrets. Delve into local Indigenous culture and the Traditional Owners whose land we walk and camp upon.

Walking length: 60.5km | Duration: 6 days

Difficulty: Moderately graded

Suitable for: First-time and experienced bushwalkers who are comfortable trekking with a full pack and who favour hiking in warmer temperatures and don’t mind the thrill of river crossings. If you have already trekked the Overland Track, this tropical equivalent should be next on your adventure list.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Jatbula Trail >

3. Heysen Trail and the Flinders Ranges Walk, SA

Walk the best of Australia’s longest dedicated hiking track defined by untouched outback wilderness, towering cliff tops, a natural amphitheatre of mountains and deep craters. It’s a must-do South Australian walking adventure.

Bask in the glow of striking sunsets at Wilpena Pound |  <i>Adam Bruzzone</i>

Explore one of the earth’s oldest landscapes, home to the Adnyamathanha people, as you skirt around the foothills of the 800-million-year-old Wilpena Pound and to the jagged beauty of the Elder Range. Plus enter the Flinders' regions best-kept secrets, the Alligator Gorge Ring Route with its peaceful gorge and ancient ripple fossils.

Other highlights include a scenic picnic at the summit of St Mary Peak (1170m) – the Flinders Ranges’ tallest mountain, climbing Mount Remarkable, the lookout point at Spencer Gulf, and staying at unique, comfortable outback accommodation in the heart of the Flinders Ranges with delectable meals provided.

Walking length: 71.6km | Duration: 6 days (While the full Heysen Trail is 1200km in length, we walk pack-free along the best sections of the trail with an exploration of the Flinders Ranges)

Difficulty: Introductory to moderate

Suitable for: Wildlife lovers and walkers those who don’t mind hill climbs. It’s an achievable challenge for beginner walkers who only carry a daypack.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Heysen Trail and the Flinders Ranges >

4. Larapinta Trail, West MacDonnell Ranges, NT

 

The combination of stunning scenery and rich Indigenous history has attracted hikers from all over the world, so it’s no surprise that the Larapinta Trail was named in National Geographic’s '100 Hikes of a Lifetime'.

Walk through breathtaking chasms and past gorges, spot rock wallabies, swim in idyllic waterholes, catch the sunrise at the top of Mount Sonder, and glamp under the outback stars.

A night under the Central Australian skies can be mesmerising |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

Walking length: 223km (if trekking the Larapinta End to End)

Duration: Walks range from short 3-day trips that visit the top highlights of the Larapinta, to the 14-day traverse of the complete Larapinta trail.

Difficulty: From introductory to moderately challenging

Suitable for: Active travellers looking to tick off one of the most popular multi-day walks in Australia. Those looking to sample the trail's many highlights pack-free before retreating to creature comforts can enjoy the facilities at our award-winning semi-permanent eco camps. Serious walkers can challenge themselves to the full 223km and only carry a daypack or consider a self-guided hike where we take care of all the logistics.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Larapinta Trail walks >

5. Kanangra to Katoomba Hike (K2K), Blue Mountains, NSW

View from Mt Morilla on Day 2 of K2K |  <i>Lauren Storaker</i>

Cross two National Parks on foot in the wilderness of the Southern Blue Mountains. You'll be working hard for the extraordinary panoramic views including the lead up to Mt Cloudmaker, the notoriously difficult section of Mount Strongleg to the Coxes River and the ascent up the iconic Tarro's Ladders.

You'll be geared up on this epic multi-day walk, carrying a full-pack along unmarked paths and crossing a number of rocky clearings on a plateau. But we promise your effort will be well rewarded!

Walking length: 45km | Duration: 3 days

Difficulty: Challenging

Suitable for: Bushwalkers fit to tackle numerous ascents and descents, capable of climbing staples fixed into the rock and who aren’t daunted by belaying and pack hauling. You'll be geared with a full-pack as you follow unmarked paths.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Kanangra to Katoomba Multi-Day Walk >

6. Kakadu National Park Walk, NT

 

There are plenty of secret wilderness spots for you to discover at Australia's largest terrestrial national park – it’s around half the size of Switzerland!

Venture to remote gorges and sparkling waterfalls (including the iconic Jim Jim Falls), walk through the Stone Country, marvel at ancient rock art galleries, enjoy a sunset swim at the Gunlom Plunge Pool and keep an eye out for the abundant birdlife which teem the Yellow Water Billabong. Then top off each day relaxing in a safari-style tent at exclusive eco campsites. Ahh, it’s paradise in the bush!

Walking length: Up to 37km (can opt for shorter day walks) | Duration: 6 days

Difficulty: Introductory to moderate

Suitable for: Bushwalkers that like to go pack-free, so you can simply focus on the adventure ahead. The walk is manageable while still pushing you out of your comfort zone.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Kakadu walking adventures >

7. Walls of Jerusalem Circuit Trek, TAS

The Walls of Jerusalem is one of the best places to hike in Tasmania |  <i>Caro Ryan</i>

Hike in Tasmania’s more wild side defined by a natural fortress of peaks and crags, glacial moraines, alpine herb fields and highland lakes. Nicknamed as the 'Land of a Thousand Lakes', this description holds true with its labyrinth of paths taking you along a biblical theme in a spectacular alpine wonderland for a truly remote adventure.

With no road access, the Central Highlands can only be explored on foot and sees much fewer visitors than the Overland Track.

Walking length: Up to 53km + side trips

Duration: 6 days (can opt for the shorter guided walk of the track or the self-guided series of day walks)

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

Suitable for: Experienced trekkers who are comfortable carrying a full pack (between 15-20 kilograms of their gear on their back) and are prepared for the possibility of braving winds, rain and even snow in elevated areas, which can occur at any time of year.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Walls of Jerusalem Circuit >

8. Yuraygir Coastal Walk, NSW

Spot Kangaroos on The Yuraygir Coastal Walk |  <i>Clayton Hanlon</i>

Follow the footsteps of the ancient coastal emus that once thrived in NSW's largest coastal park. Surrounded by ocean views, wildlife and teeming river systems, this walk encompasses the best hiking trails in the Warrumbungle National Park.

Enjoy a series of pack-free headland walks, exciting creek crossings, wildlife spotting, secluded beaches and camping amongst dunes teeming with birdlife and unspoilt ecosystems.

Walking length: 49km | Duration: 5 days

Difficulty: Introductory to moderate

Suitable for: Beginner walkers who aren’t troubled about getting some sand in their shoes. If you’re looking to step into the wild side and camp out with a swag, this hike is for you.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Yuraygir Coastal Walk >

9. Cape to Cape Track, Margaret River, WA

 

The diversity of landscapes makes this one of Australia's most beautiful multi-day coastal walks, which encompasses cliff top walking with stunning views of red granite boulders, white sand beaches and turquoise waters. If you walk during the warmer months, you’ll see wildflowers in bloom with daily opportunities for a swim in the ocean and lagoons.

You’ll also wander through the magnificent and ancient Karri forest as you make your way from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin on the Margaret River coastline.

Walking length: 135km | Duration: 8 days (You can also walk the best sections of the track over 4 days in a lap of luxury on one of the Great Walks of Australia)

Difficulty: Moderate

Suitable for: Walkers with a reasonable level of fitness. The fact that you only having to carry a daypack when on a guided tour makes walking between 14km to 25km each day more comfortable, but there is no such thing as an ‘easy day’ on the Cape to Cape Track. Expect plenty of steep sections with challenging beach walks however, on some days, there are options to walk half a day.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Cape to Cape Track Walk >

10. Bungle Bungles Piccaninny Gorge Trek, Kimberley, WA

Walking through the picture-perfect Bungle Bungles

Trek deep in spectacular canyons of one of Australia's most unique and remote natural wonders. This fly-in, fly-out bushwalking adventure allows you to experience the labyrinth of beehive domes up close while avoiding the punishing overland travel. The side trip to the grand Cathedral Gorge is also a highlight where it is said that the acoustics within its naturally walled amphitheatre are better than the Sydney Opera House!

Walking length: 32km | Duration: 5 days

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

Suitable for: Trekkers who get excited about embarking on an achievable expedition-style bushwalk complete with scrambling and rock hopping whilst donning a full pack. (If you prefer a more comfortably paced walk that’s pack-free, check out the Kimberley Walking Tour which visits the Bungle Bungles and beyond.)

• EXPERIENCE IT: Bungle Bungles and Piccaninny Gorge Trek >

11. Scenic Rim Walk, Main Range National Park, QLD

 

Set in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range just outside Brisbane, discover a region with more than 30,000 hectares of ancient rainforest, escarpments, stunning mountains and volcanic plateaus. Only accessible via private land, this Great Walks of Australia is one of the least frequented and most untouched walks in Australia.

This highly sought-out gourmet walking experience is the perfect blend of activity and luxury.

Walking length: 47.4km | Duration: 6 days (A 3-day Scenic Rim Experience is also available)

Difficulty: Introductory to moderate

Suitable for: Hikers who enjoy plenty of creature comforts (including glamping in style!) and the freedom to walk pack-free.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Scenic Rim Walk >

12. Tarkine/takayna Walks, Savage River National Park, TAS

Explore the enchanting and changing moods of the ancient Tarkine Rainforest |  <i>Pete Harmsen</i>

Step into the magic and mystic of Tasmania's "Wild West", still largely unexplored as a walking region, which makes it one of Australia's best-kept secret forest trails.

Exploring Australia’s largest cool temperate rainforest, you'll walk through untamed 60-million-year-old dense forestry – a living remnant of the prehistoric woodlands of Gondwana, 6000-year-old stone carvings and is home to some of Tasmania’s largest trees. Highlights include the impressive views at Dip Falls defined by its hexagonal basalt columns, the cruise up one of the last and truly wild rivers of Australia, the Arthur River, and hiking along not easily accessed and gnarly coastlines that will transcend you to a new level of awe and serenity.

Keep an eye out for orange-bellied and swift parrots – the world’s rarest and fastest parrots – along the coastal plains, as well as the elusive platypus at Emu River.

Walking length: Up to 58km | Duration: 6 days (A 3-day self-guided adventure is also available)

Difficulty: Introductory to moderate

Suitable for: Nature lovers with a good level of fitness and an enthusiasm for wild places.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Tarkine Explorer >

13. Bibbulmun Track, WA

Explore the Walpole to Denmark section of the Bibbulmun Track

Trek along one of the world's greatest long-distance walking trails with uninterrupted ocean views beckoning you from the track. There are even opportunities to switch your hiking boots for a paddle or snorkelling gear at bays that will tempt you into its tranquil waters.

Marvel at the Elephant Rocks near Denmark, swim at the pristine Greens Pool and walk among the treetops at Walpole’s Valley of the Giants. This popular Western Australia walking opportunity offers a mix of long deserted beaches, sheltered bays, soft and steep sand dunes, heathland, spectacular coastal cliffs and an exploration of the majestic Karri forest.

Walking length: 194.5km from Walpole to Albany, the two final sections of the track. (The full track is 1000km from Kalamunda to Albany and is split into nine sections from town to town)

Duration: 13 days (you can choose to combine the final stages of the Bibbulmun Track or choose to complete just one of the sections over a week: Walpole to Denmark or Albany to Denmark)

Difficulty: Moderately challenging

Suitable for: Walkers who admire incredible coastal scenery. The Albany to Denmark section is best suited for first-timers or for walkers who prefer a gentler stroll. The Walpole to Denmark section is ideal for those looking for a more challenging and diverse long-distance walk complete with hill climbs, verdant forestry and sand walking.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Bibbulmun Track walks >

14. Flinders Island Hikes, TAS

Spectacular coastal walking on Flinders Island |  <i>Andrew Bain</i>

It’s the gem in the crown of island walking in Tasmania. Only a short (and beautifully scenic) flight from Launceston, the 1333 square kilometre island may be small but it hosts an abundance of ecosystems – from dunes and lagoons to woodland and lichen-encrusted granite outcrops, which make up the home of numerous unique species of flora and a profusion of fauna.

Summit the dramatic granite peaks of Mt Killiecrankie and Mt Strzelecki for 360-degree views of Flinders Island in its entirety, as well as walk one of Tasmania's Great Short Walks, Trousers Point.

Walking length: 42.5km | Duration: 6 days

Difficulty: Introductory to moderate

Suitable for: First-timers and walkers who love exploring rugged coastlines pack-free.

• EXPERIENCE IT: Flinders Island Walking Adventure >

15. The Maria Island Walk, TAS

Explore the beautiful Painted Cliffs on Tasmania's Maria Island |  <i>Toni Wythes</i>

Adventure by day whilst enjoying luxury at night on this Australian ‘Great Walk’. Immerse in forest surrounds on this Great Walks of Tasmania trail, spot a wombat in the wild, watch the beach sunset a stone’s throw away from your eco-friendly cabin, then cap off your day with a freshly made gourmet meal and a glass of wine to match! This is a must-do gourmet walking holiday to best experience the magic of Tasmania's 'Garden of Eden'.

Walking length: 42km | Duration: 4 days

Difficulty: Introductory to moderate (If you want something more challenging, the Mountains of Maria Island Experience summits the highest mountains on the island over 3 days)

Suitable for: First-timers or walkers who prefer carrying just a daypack and who enjoy premium wilderness comforts.

• EXPERIENCE IT: The Maria Island Walk >
 


Know a walk that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.
 
Australia, hiking trails, walking tracks, walks, hikes, treks, walking holidays

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