12 remote and challenging multi-day hikes in Australia

Ironbound ranges on the South Coast Track | John Dalton
Ironbound ranges on the South Coast Track | John Dalton

If you're looking to step out of your comfort zone or to push your boundaries in remote wildernesses few have explored, this list is for you.

These multi-day and long-distance hikes offer a backdrop of truly wild and far-flung landscapes, from desert landscapes to the tropics, coastlines to alpine heights.

But don’t just take our word for it, we’ve included reviews from World Expeditions adventurers who’ve braved these challenging trails and returned home feeling an enormous sense of achievement. Will you be one of them?


1. South Coast Track, TAS

You’ll walk out a more resilient and enlightened person than when you first stepped foot on the track. This epic expedition takes you to the unspoiled wilderness of Australia's southernmost shores.

Expect river crossings when trekking Tasmania's South Coast Track |  <i>John Dalton</i> Enjoy glorious, uninterrupted views along Tasmania's South Coast Track |  <i>John Dalton</i> The terrain on the South Coast Track can be very muddy |  <i>John Dalton</i> The South Coast Track is a full pack carrying trek |  <i>John Dalton</i>

It is an extremely demanding trek but one of Australia's finest long-distance walks. You’ll camp, swim and trek along empty and pristine beaches as you cross the striking Ironbound landscapes to alpine heights.

The South Coast Track was simply amazing. The guides made an otherwise difficult trip a breeze. Sure we still had to carry packs and hike some pretty gnarly terrain, but they put in super-human efforts and did just about everything else. This meant we could concentrate on enjoying ourselves. The remoteness and scenery were wonderful and spectacular! I'd recommend it to everyone with sufficient hike-fitness.

Louise Foar, VIC Australia | 5 stars

Length: Around 65kms (8 days)
Difficulty: Challenging. Be prepared to brave Tasmania’s variable weather conditions as you walk between 10 and 15 kilometres each day. Expect creek and river crossings that could be waist-deep. Plenty of mud, slippery surfaces, steep tracks and fallen trees while carrying a full pack of up to 20 kilograms increases the difficulty.
Start point: Melaleuca (a short flight from Hobart)
End point: Cockle Creek, Australia’s southernmost town
Ideal for: Motivated walkers with a high level of fitness with multi-day hiking and full pack carrying experience.
When to go: Between late November and mid-April.

Find out more →

2. Kakadu Challenger, NT

Take on Kakadu National Park's more rigorous walks, which include the challenging Barrk Sandstone Walk, Barrk Marlam Walk and Yurmikmik walks.

Challenge to Kakadu's more rigorous and specatacular walking trails |  <i>Andrew Thomasson</i>

Hardy trekkers will explore remote gorges, waterfalls and escarpments, experience a sunset cruise on the Yellow Water billabong (home to a variety of wildlife!) and enjoy a soak at the iconic Gunlom Falls. The beauty of combining activity with culture allows hikers to delve deep into 40,000 years of Aboriginal cultural heritage with the expertise of knowledgeable wilderness guides.

Length: ~42km (6 days)
Moderate to challenging. While the trek is more challenging than our Kakadu Explorer trek, it is achievable with only having to carry a daypack as luggage transfers are included.
Ideal for:
Walkers who enjoy tougher walks but want added comforts and inclusions.
Start point: Nourlangie massif
End point: Gunlom
When to go: June to September, which is during the dry season and when most of the visitor sites are open. This is also an ideal time to view the park’s majestic waterfall sites, such as Jim Jim and Twin Falls.

Find out more →

3. Jatbula Trail, NT

At the edge of the Northern Territory’s Arnhem Land Escarpment, you’ll wind your way along the fringe of cascading waterfalls, from high quartzite cliffs to shady monsoon forests that line the creeks.


With crystal-clear creeks throughout, there are abundant opportunities for croc-free swimming! You’ll end each night to the lullaby of nature’s sound at scenic and exclusive wilderness campsites – adding to an exceptional tropical hiking experience!

What a walk! A waterhole is always just a short distance away. And what [a] waterhole! Each one beautiful, individual and appreciated in the heat of the day. With short walking days there is lots of time to relax and enjoy this unique environment. The rock paintings along the way are another highlight of this amazing experience. The limit on numbers means that you can find a space for yourself to be immersed in this awe-inspiring environment.

B. Cromarty, NSW Australia | 5 stars

Length: 60.5km (6 days)
Difficulty: Moderate. You must be capable of walking on rough terrain with a full pack (15-17kg).
Start point: Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park
End point: Edith Falls (Leliyn)
Ideal for: Bushwalkers with a good level of fitness and a love for swimming holes.
When to go: Between May and August.

Find out more →

4. Larapinta end to end, NT

You could very well consider the Larapinta Trail the mecca of Australian desert hikes, smack bang in Central Australia’s diverse outback. You’ll be clocking in 223 kilometres on this full traverse as you embrace spectacular geographical, historical and cultural highlights including Stanley Chasm, Euro Ridge, the Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge and welcoming the sunrise at the summit of Mount Sonder, one of NT’s highest peaks.

Walking on the Larapinta Trail |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i> Waterholes along the Larapinta Trail are like an oasis in the desert |  <i>David Coorey</i> Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus exaltatus) |  <i>David Coorey</i> Spot endemic birdlife on the Larapinta |  <i>David Coorey</i> Discover a diversity of landscapes along the Larapinta Trail |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i> Curious wallaby's along the Larapinta Trail |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

Following the spine of the West MacDonnell Ranges over secluded ridges and canyons, the distance, ruggedness and remoteness of the trail bears the challenge of walking up to 30 kilometres on some days.

The Larapinta End to End walk was a most enjoyable challenge. To brush closely with the landscape in body and mind was a joy. Our guides looked after us so well. Skilled, professional and so personable, they very much enhanced this experience. This was my first major walk and I'll do more from this experience. Thank you World Expeditions. PS: the food was great.

K. de Vahl Baker, NT Australia | 5 stars


Length: 223kms (12 or 14 days). If you don't have two weeks to spare to do the full walk, you can complete the Larapinta Challenger Trek, which covers five of the toughest sections on the Larapinta Trail.
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. Be prepared to trek for up to 8 to 10 hours a day in adverse weather conditions.
Start point:
Telegraph Station in Alice Springs
End point: Mt Sonder
Ideal for: Seasoned walkers with an excellent level of fitness.
When to go: Between mid-April and early September. Wildflowers are out during the warmer months of April, May and September. From June to August, the climate is much more cooler.

Find out more →

5. Warrumbungle National Park, NSW

Step into nature with sprouts of wildflowers and vegetation. The ultimate backdrop is the Breadknife rock formation, the incredible sunset skies, and the Milky Way, which puts on the show come nighttime at camp.

Experience Australia's only Dark Sky Park on foot with jagged volcanic silhouettes rising sharply from eucalyptus-dotted ridges amid surrounding plains. The breadth of the park makes one trip here not enough!

This trip, though tough, is worth every bead of sweat for the amazing views at the top of the mountains. The Warrumbungle’s region is beautiful and peaceful and the night skies and sunsets incredible. The guides were outstanding and couldn't do enough for the group. This is one of the best walking trips I've ever done.

Jill Doctor, NSW Australia | 5 stars

Happy faces on the summit of Belougery Spire Sunset skies at Warrumbungle National Park Sandstone Caves located in the Pilliga Nature Reserve have a rich indigenous heritage |  <i>Sue Badyari</i>

Length: Around 63km (Multiple day walks over 6 days)
Difficulty: Moderate. Encompassing various summit walks, the various ascents and descents command a good level of fitness.
Start point: Camp Walaay
End point: Pilliga National Park to explore the Sandstone Caves walking track
Ideal for: Stargazing enthusiasts and nature walkers who should sign up to explore the Warrumbungle's iconic scenery and unique flora and fauna.
When to go: Between May and October. You’ll want to avoid hiking here in the peak of summertime as temperatures can climb.

Find out more →

6. Walls of Jerusalem Circuit Trek, TAS

Don a full pack, camp at remote and scenic locations, and be enchanted at every corner through a biblical landscape of true alpine wilderness.


As you summit numerous peaks, including King David’s Peak and Mt Jerusalem, the panoramic views will be well worth your efforts. You'll walk out with a renewed passion for life and the yearning to return to nature as soon as possible.

It felt as if we walked in the pre-historic times when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth. A truly unforgettable trip for me. My overall experience with Tasmanian Expeditions was outstanding! From my emails with my consultant (Dan Bunting) to the briefing with our guides (Toby and Damon) to the actual trip until the end of it... it all went smoothly and seamlessly.

– Yenny Tang, Western Australia | 5 stars 

Length: 53km + side trips (6 days)
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. This trek involves walking up to 7 to 8 hours a day whilst carrying a 15-20kg backpack, so previous multi-day hiking experience and full pack trekking is preferred. Be prepared for potential variable weather.
Start point: Lake Rowallen
End point: Mersey Valley
Ideal for: Nature lovers who relish in the excitement of remote alpine hiking with the chance of winds, steady rain, and even snow in elevated areas that can occur at any time of year.
When to go: For warmer days, the summer season (December to February) is best but this is also the most popular time to walk in Tasmania. To witness wildflowers in bloom, springtime between October and November is an ideal time. During March and April, you can see nature change to marvellous autumnal hues, with relatively sunny days and cool, crisp nights. 

Find out more →

7. Heysen Trail, SA

Walk across South Australia's spectacular rural landscapes and spend each evening at unique, comfortable outback stays. Some of the spectacular natural attractions of the region include Wilpena Pound, Black Gap Lookout, Mount Remarkable and Alligator Gorge.

The Heysen Trail traverses the Bunyeroo Valley with Wilpena Pound in the background |  <i>Chris Buykx</i>

You can trek the best sections of the famous Heysen Trail in splendid isolation with us, including the last leg: Section 61 with an extended exploration of the Flinders and Gammon Ranges. 

This was a fantastic trip. Wilpena Pound, St Mary Peak and the Geological Time Trail – all incredible. Also seeing the yellow-footed rock wallabies and the wedge-tailed eagles up close! Our guides Wes and Andrea were exceptional. They made the trip, with all their incredible knowledge of the area and the care they took of everyone.

– J. Germany, Australia | 5 stars 

Length: 1200km (the full trail is made up of 61 sections).
Difficulty: Introductory to moderate (when trekking certain sections of the trail)
Start point: Rawnsley Park Station or Willow Springs Station (on our 6-day Heysen Trail trip)
End point: Mount Remarkable
Ideal for: Those looking to experience the Aussie outback’s charm, heritage and alpine ambience. Wildlife lovers need also to apply to get up close with the region’s many characters such as the yellow-footed rock wallaby, euro and emus.
When to go: May to September, where these semi-arid ranges of dry climate create ideal conditions for walking. 

Find out more →

8. Frenchmans Cap, TAS

Climb to Tasmania’s iconic quartzite peak, the highest peak in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

Views along the Frenchman's Cap Hike

Standing at 1443 metres, Frenchmans Cap is not to be underestimated, but its summit views will leave you gobsmacked with arguably the best vistas across the entire World Heritage Area. The 360-degree views from the top take in a vast expanse of the southwest, which includes the Arthur Range, Mt Ossa and Macquarie Harbour.

The guides, Will and Maddy, were excellent, making sure that everyone felt comfortable and had assistance where needed on some of the steepest parts. They were also put to the test on the first day when one of the group fell and injured himself, requiring helicopter evacuation. They coped professionally with the injured man and with the rest of the group. Many highlights, including reaching the top of Frenchmans Cap. But others were the exquisitely beautiful rainforest, the fungi [and] the sunrise views from the rise above Lake Tahune.

M. Ball, Australia | 5 stars

Length: 46km return journey (5 days)
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. If you want to add to the challenge, combine this epic climb with a rafting expedition of one of the world's 'best river journeys', the Franklin.
Start point: Lake Vera
End point: Lake Vera
Ideal for: Experienced bushwalkers who love trekking in the rugged wilderness and can manage a full pack. You will be tested as you trek in unpredictable weather, mud, varying terrain and steep ascents.
When to go: Tasmania’s summer season is the best time to climb the peak, however, contingency days are set aside for added flexibility to maximise summit success. 

Find out more →

9. Bungle Bungles & Piccaninny Gorge Trek, WA

Following the track northeast, enter deep into the World Heritage-listed ranges and be marvelled by the maze-like domes of the Bungles found nowhere else in the world.

Bungle Bungles |  <i>Kate Harper</i>

Stop by waterholes and caves, soak in the wild seclusion of this ancient landscape and keep your eye out for one of the 130+ bird species and native animals found here, such as the short-eared rock wallaby.

Sheer rock walls and sandstone chasms will surround you on all sides as you explore the Piccaninny Gorge system. Plus, the flight to and from Kununurra is possibly one of the most scenic outback flights, passing over Piccaninny Gorge, Argyle diamond mine and Lake Argyle.

It was a privilege hiking deep into the unique, ancient and magnificent Bungle Bungles and sleeping under the stars without a tent and other hikers besides our group of 10. We were so grateful to our intrepid guides who not only carried a massive 30kg pack but cooked us delicious food and did the washing up. All we needed to do was enjoy the experience and we certainly did.

Ralph and Sybil Pliner NSW, Australia | 4 stars

Trekking through Piccaninny Gorge in The Bungle Bungles, Western Australia |  <i>Steve Trudgeon</i> Exploring remote gorges of the Bungle Bungles |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i> Picaninny Gorge, Bungle Bungles |  <i>Steve Trudgeon</i> Exploring remote gorges of the Bungle Bungles |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i> Sleep under the stars in picturesque locations |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i>

Length: Up to 38km (5 days)
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. This is an achievable expedition-style bushwalk and while you will be travelling with a full pack, on the days when you are exploring the upper gorge areas, having an the established base camp for a few nights means you will only carry a daypack on day 2-3. This trek is demanding but greatly rewarding.
Start point: Piccaninny Gorge
End point: Cathedral Gorge
Ideal for: Swag campers, full pack trekkers and wilderness lovers.
When to go: The cooler, winter months of the outback, between May and August, are the ideal times to soak in these spectacular ranges and make the most of the clear skies by sleeping under the sky swag style.

Find out more →

10. Remote Blue Mountains Traverse, NSW 

Leave civilisation behind and venture into the depths of NSW’s unique World Heritage-listed wilderness of the Blue Mountains.

Lunching at the Lost World |  <i>Michael Buggy</i>

Experience a mix of environments, from the classic Australian dry sclerophyll forests to the ancient Gondwana rainforests beneath towering sandstone escarpments. This bushwalk takes you well beyond the tourist trails as you access areas that can only be reached via roped ascents or descents.

Length: 96km (5 days)
Difficulty: Challenging. The terrain is at times rugged and remote with tracks that may be long, rough and steep. You will be required to carry a full pack, so multi-day bushwalking experience is recommended.
Start point: Lost World
End point: Megalong Valley
Ideal for: Experienced bushwalkers who want to get off the beaten path and who relish the thrill of an abseiling adventure.
When to go: The spring months will offer a lovely splash of colour to your walk and weather conditions won’t be too hot when on the track. 

Find out more →

11. K2K Walk – Kanangra to Katoomba, NSW

For a long weekend away hike, this is a classic Blue Mountains' hike – and one not to be overlooked or underestimated.

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

Donning a full pack, you’ll cross two National Parks, 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. But we promise your effort will be well rewarded with incredible wilderness vistas!

Difficulty: Challenging
45km (3 days)
Start point:
Kanangra Walls
End point: Narrow Neck
Ideal for: Experienced full-pack 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, which will be necessary for the climb on day 3.

When to go: While you can walk the track most of the year, it is best done in the cooler months, as there are plenty of ups and downs and can get very hot and difficult under the summer sun. Spring is also a lovely time to see wildflowers begin to bloom.

Find out more →

12. Port Davey Track, TAS 

Feel like you’re a world away as you experience the tranquillity and remoteness of the Lost World Plateau and surrounding ancient mountain ranges on the Port Davey Track.

Viewing Mount Solitary from the Port Davey Track |  <i>Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman</i>

Walk in rare pockets of rainforest, camp on the banks of the mystical Crossing and Spring Rivers, cross the magical Bathurst Harbour by rowboat and summit Mt Hesperus in the Western Arthur Range. The Port Davey Track, while often overlooked for the South Coast Track, is a winner when it comes to rugged, remote wilderness.

Length: 70km (7 days)
: Challenging. You'll experience long days on tough and very isolated terrain and the track is not to be underestimated. Expect sections of muddy button grass (bring gators!), river crossings, overgrown trails and steep inclines in forested mountains. Combine this trek with its nearby neighbour, the South Coast Track, for an epic traverse of the entire southwest of Tasmania.

Start point: Scott Peaks Dam
End point: Melaleuca 
Ideal for: Those looking to disconnect from the busy urban life and who are ready for a wonderful experience whatever the weather.
When to go: During Tasmania’s summer season for ideal and warmer weather conditions.

What's a challenging hike that you completed? Let us know in the comments below.

Australia, Hiking, Trails, Trekking, Challenging hikes, remote hiking trails, remote hikes, top hiking trails in australia, long distance hiking trails in australia, best multi-day hikes in australia, top walking tracks in australia

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