6 Epic Hiking Trails in Australia
Australia boasts of a vast landscape that alternates from deserts to rainforests, mountains to coastlines. There is no better way to experience the best of nature and sprawling landscapes that Australia has to offer than through hiking. Exploring Australia on foot is one of the most immersive ways to connect with the diverse and dramatic landscapes you can only dream about.
Hikes and treks in Australia can be incredibly challenging, but also rewarding because a lot of Australia’s most beautiful sights cannot be accessed by vehicles. These breathtaking locations, while fantastic, are no walk in the park to reach, and it will take plenty of preparation to get yourself physically and mentally prepared to face it.
Today, we’re looking at some of the most epic hiking trails around Australia. From expansive desert plains, the rugged Aussie Outback, seaside trails, towering mountain ranges and sprawling green open spaces, these trails are definitely a must-visit for those of you who want to experience fully what it means to be one with nature in Australia.
1. The Larapinta Trail, Central Australia
Image from: Nomadasaurus
As one of the most popular hiking trails for many experienced trailwalkers, the entire 223km length of the Larapinta Trail is no easy feat.
It is one of the most unforgettable trails you will ever have the pleasure of discovering, with diverse hiking trails through desert, mountains and numerous red rock gorges including Standley Chasm and Simpsons Gap. The trail weaves along the West McDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory, with plenty of opportunity to catch vast views from the lookout points at Counts Point and Brinkley Bluff.
It takes about 16-20 days to walk the entire length of the trail, so you’ll definitely need to organize proper rest days and food stops for yourself. It also helps to take note that the trail does run across the Northern Territory’s craggy West MacDonnell Range, which can be said to be in the literal middle of nowhere, so it’s good to let someone know where you are going beforehand.
Image from: Trek Tours Australia
When to go: Summer hikes here are out of the question as temperatures can top 40 degrees Celsius, so the best time to go is arguably winter. Winter is also the best time to experience the trail, with prime trekking conditions, more stable temperatures and endlessly blue days. Of course, keep yourself well-insulated and bring enough warm clothing and sleeping bags to keep yourself warm.
2. Thorsborne Trail, Queensland
Image from: Queensland.com
Located within Hinchinbrook Island, a certified World Heritage site, the Thorsborne Trail is a 32km trail of pure rugged and outstanding features of the north Queensland coast. Covered in a lush rainforest and eucalypt forest that descend to a mangrove-fringed channel, the trail is not a graded or hardened walking track, and should only be undertaken by those fit and experienced enough to traverse it.
The trail itself will take you a good 4-5 days end to end to complete, but being able to see the rocky peaks soar from the rainforest, palm trees line pristine beaches and the interior hides swamp and grassy plains makes this a brilliantly diverse trail worthy of your time. If possible, remember to stop by the Zoe Falls for a cascading waterfall and clear rivers.
Image from: Smith Journal
When to go: The best time to visit the Thorsborne Trail is during the cooling months, as the cooler weather and south-easterly winds make for a particularly calming hike. Still, you’ll have to be prepared as the trail leaves you entirely reliant on your preparations and resources at most of the times.
3. Great Ocean Walk, Victoria
Image from: Road Affair
The world famous Great Ocean Road also has a walking trail, which gives you access to some of Victoria’s most popular stretches of coastline. This trail gives access to the state’s most popular stretch of coastline, This includes the Twelve Apostles, enormous sandstone pillars rising from the sea, as well as several historic shipwrecks anchored in rock pools.
There are also a number of cultural, natural and historical sights along this 104km trail, and typically takes you around 8-10 days to complete. A key tip is to check the tides as some sections of the trail are impassable at high tide. There are also plenty of accommodations along the way, though you might have to book in advance with the Victoria Parks to secure a spot.
Image from: Road Affair
When to go: The best months to go are in March and April, although the popularity means that you might not be able to find accommodation. But with beautifully clear, sunny days, it is definitely the best time to go on this trail.
4. Cape To Cape Track, Western Australia
Image from: Viator
The Cape to Cape Track is named for its starting point and destination. The trail runs from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, amounting to around 123km. However, the trail is pretty easy, with four dedicated campgrounds for you to choose from along the way. It will take you around 5-8 days of walking, so it’s good to go prepared.
With blinding white beaches and commanding cliff tops hugging the coastline, this trail is perfect if you want to watch a great view of Australia’s world-renowned surf breaks, while the Aussie fauna like emus, kangaroos, monitor lizards, dolphins and whales will keep you constantly amazed.
Image from: West Australian Explorer
When to go: The best times for the Cape To Cape Track are March to May, and September to November, when the cooling weather allows for fully enjoying yourself on the trail.
5. Heysen Trail, South Australia
Image from: Escape
The Heysen Trail is not only one of Australia’s best walking trails, it is also one of the best in the world. The trail starts at Cape Jervis and winds up along the beaches and sea cliffs of the south coast before passing over rolling hills and rural landscapes of the Fleurieu Peninsula and Mt. Lofty Ranges. It then crosses over the rugged peaks and valleys of the Flinders Ranges as it heads to Parachilna Gorge where it ends.
The 1,200km trail is definitely not for the faint hearted, or those who are not prepared physically or mentally. But those who are prepared for it can expect just about every ecological niche in South Australia, including red rock beaches, to vineyards, pine forests and river gorges. A usual practice is to break up the trail into sections and tackle it from there, as it has been estimated that if someone were to walk the entire trail, it would take just under 50-60 days to complete!
Image from: Australian Geographic
When to go: The trail is closed during the fire season from November to April but any other time would be great to explore. Do note that since this trail covers such a large distance, there may be different weather to expect from one end of your walk to another.
6. Bay of Fires Lodge Walk, Tasmania
Image from: Great Walks of Australia
One of the most beautiful trails in Tasmania, the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk is a fascinating coastal stretch with azure waters and rocky headlands, offering an idyllic and remote landscape for walkers to enjoy.
The empty white sand beaches are separated by ridges offering scenic outlooks, bright orange rocks contrasting brilliantly with blue waters, and a myriad of bird and animal life are some of the highlights from this trail.
This trail is named after its characteristic lodge, which is also the only building in existence on its roughly 20km-long section of Tasmanian coastline. The trail typically takes around 4 days to complete, and is ideal for those who want to enjoy a scenic getaway yet still looking to retain a hint of luxury and the creature comforts of modern accommodation.
When to go: The trail is open from October to May annually, which is the best time to get the most out of the trail, including a more immersive experience in Australia’s natural realm.
While bushwalking is an experience that everyone probably has gone for, a long-distance hiking trip means that you will have to prepare yourself for surviving the Aussie wilderness with everything on your back. There are tens of thousands of well-maintained hiking trails in Australia, so choosing one shouldn’t be an issue for you.
So lace up your boots, strap on your pack and take to the trails and explore Australia for yourself.
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