Walk This Way

From short hops to multi-day treks, Australia's got it all when it comes to bushwalks.

Words: Gregor Stronach

Australia boasts some of the best walking tracks in the world, as rich and diverse as the landscapes they bisect. There are thousands of established trails around the country, each waiting to be tackled with little more than sturdy footwear on your pegs, a pack on your back and trail mix in your pocket. From the heart of our capital cities to some of the most remote tracks in the world, there's something for everyone.

Stroll through this list of some of the best bushwalks Australia has to offer, from one-hour to multi-day treks, and suitable for beginners, through to intimidatingly tough tracks for serious adventurers.

Be sure to tell someone where you're going, then tally ho!

NEW SOUTH WALES

The Spit-to-Manly, Sydney Harbour

Best for: A unique view of the world's greatest harbour

The bushwalks around Sydney Harbour are some of the Emerald City's bestkept secrets, with a number of well maintained tracks along the shoreline available for walkers.

The Spit-to-Manly walk takes in the sights of Middle Harbour, with side trips available to Grotto Point and the spectacular Arabanoo Lookout available if you've got the time to explore.

Length: 9.1km, one-way
Duration: 3–4 hours
Difficulty: 2.5/5 stars
More: bestsydneywalks.com

Six Foot Track, Katoomba, NSW

Best for: A true wilderness weekend

Located in the Blue Mountains, about an hour's drive west of Sydney, the Six Foot Track is a multi-day walk through some of the most iconic mountain scenery New South Wales has to offer.

The track begins in Katoomba, and winds its way along an historic horse trail to the spectacular Jenolan Caves. Along the way, walkers get to explore sites such as Nellie's Glen, Cox's River and the lush, and excellently named, Megalong Valley.

Length: 44.8km, one-way
Duration: 2 days
Difficulty: 4/5 stars
More: bluemts.com.au

VICTORIA

Great Walhalla Alpine Trail, Walhalla

Best for: Wintertime snow hiking

Kicking off from the historic Walhalla township, this track offers walkers the chance to explore some of Australia's finest alpine scenery, including the snow gum glades on the Baw Baw Plateau and the tops of Talbot Peak and Mt Erica. It's a tableau of wild rivers, towering mountain ash, peekaboo fauna and unique rock formations.

This track is also the two-day starting section of the epic Australian Alpine Walking Track, a 650km, six- to eight-week journey that isn't for the faint-hearted. A guided tour, including a fully catered campsite, is available through the Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort.

Length: 40km, one-way
Duration: 2 days
Difficulty: 3.5/5 stars
More: greatwalhallaalpinetrail.com

Great Ocean Walk, Apollo Bay

Best for: Epic vistas

The Great Ocean Walk is a multi-day trek that takes in some of southern Victoria's most incredible coastal scenery. The track begins at Apollo Bay and stretches 100km to the west to reach the rock formation once known as the Sow and Pigs, but which is now called the Twelve Apostles.

The grading of the track gets progressively more difficult and the walk can be broken up into several parts, with accommodation options just off the track ranging from sleeping under canvas through to comfy, high-quality B&Bs.

Length: 100km, one-way
Duration: 4–5 days
Difficulty: 4/5 stars
More: greatoceanwalk.com.au

QUEENSLAND

The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

Perfect for: Avoiding theme parks

The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk is a three-day trek through one of the largest areas of subtropical rainforest in the world, inside the Lamington and Springbrook National Parks.

Highlights of the track include the opportunity to walk the rim of the Tweed Volcano, complete with numerous waterfalls and all the wildlife you'd expect from the lush rainforest surrounds.

Length: 54km, one-way
Duration: 3 days
Difficulty: 4/5 stars
More: queensland.com/en-eu/journey/gold-coast-hinterland-great-walk

Carnarvon National Park

Perfect for: Exploring the Outback

Carnarvon National Park is about 600km northwest of Brisbane in central Queensland. It's home to Carnarvon Gorge, aka the 'Green Canyon', Australia's own version of the Grand Canyon.

There are a number of trails through the area, but the most popular is a 10km section that takes in all the key sites of interest along the gorge, including a stunning array of indigenous sites, with rock art dating back thousands of years.

Length: 10km, return
Duration: single day
Difficulty: 2.5/5 stars
More: blog.queensland.com/2015/03/20/best-hikes-carnarvon-gorge

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Mount Remarkable Summit Hike,
Mount Remarkable National Park

Perfect for: An easy family day out

Mount Remarkable National Park is located between Port Augusta and Point Pirie, within easy reach of Adelaide, and home to a moderately challenging hike to the summit for which the park is named. Popular with families, it's an easy day trip to see the sights of the Willochra Plain and out to the Spencer Gulf from the 960m peak of the mountain.

Length: 13.8km, return
Duration: 5 hours
Difficulty: 2.5/5 stars
More: walkingsa.org.au

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

Perfect for: A rugged adventure

The splendid beauty of Kangaroo Island makes it a world-renowned tourist destination and provides a backdrop to one of the greatest bushwalks South Australia has to offer.

This five-day trail follows the southwestern coastline of the island, with several side trails to other highlights, such as Admirals Arch and the aptly named Remarkable Rocks.

Length: 72km, one way
Duration: 5 days
Difficulty: 3/5 stars
More: walkingsa.org.au

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Cape Naturaliste Track, Dunsborough,

Perfect for: Soaking up history

This easy, family-friendly walk will take you out to the top of Cape Naturaliste, within the confines of the Leeuwin- Naturaliste National Park, a short drive from Bunbury, WA.

The area is rich in maritime history and tragedy—and famous surf spots— great trails leaving from the base of the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, which stands tall on a 100m bluff, overlooking Geographe Bay. Truly breathtaking—and not just if you've been neglecting your cardio.

Length: 4km, loop
Duration: 1–3 hours
Difficulty: 1.5/5 stars
More: parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

East Fitzgerald National Park

Perfect for: Solitude and space

For a more difficult coastal walk, the Hakea Walk Trail in the East Fitzgerald National Park is regarded by many as one of the very best WA has to offer. Highlights of the walk include a number of beaches, where walkers are almost guaranteed to have the entire sky and a seemingly untouched Earth to themselves, along with some of the striking geological features WA's Golden Outback region is known for.

Length: 23km, one way
Duration: 11 hours / overnight
Difficulty: 4/5 stars
More: parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/fitzgerald-river

NORTHERN TERRITORY

The Valley of the Winds, Uluru-Kata
Tjuta National Park

Perfect for: Dreamtime stories

Located 32 kilometres west of Uluru, Kata Tjuta (formerly known as The Olgas) offers walkers the chance to explore some of the most remote terrain in central Australia.

The track is called the Valley of the Winds, due to the constant movement of air through the 36 spectacular sandstone domes that make up the site. They provide ample opportunity for wildlife spotting, as well as incredible photography and a rich indigenous history dating back 40,000 years—or perhaps much, much longer. Unmissable.

Length: 7.4km, loop
Duration: 4 hours
Difficulty: 3.5/5 stars
More: parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/do/bush-walking.html

Bardedjilidji Sandstone Walk, Kakadu
National Park, NT

Perfect for: Wildlife photography

One of the most popular walks in the Ubirr region of Kakadu National Park, this trail takes hikers through a range of towering sandstone pillars, explores an ancient vine forest and offers an up-close look at the region's spectacular paperbark woodland areas. It's well-named: 'Bardedjilidji' means 'pathway' in the local indigenous dialect.

As always in this part of Australia, carry water, stick to the marked trails, and try not to irritate the deadlier forms of wildlife.

Length: 2.5km
Duration: 2 hours
Difficulty: 1.5/5 stars
More: parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/do/walks.html

TASMANIA

Cradle Mountain, Cradle Mountain-
Lake St Clair National Park

Perfect for: Testing your climbing skills

Climbing to the summit of Tasmania's most photographed mountain may sound like a challenge best left for experienced climbers, but this track makes reaching the peak reasonably easy.

The walk offers stunning views of Cradle Mountain from across Dove Lake, as well as wildlife-spotting opportunities. Be warned: it gets busy during peak tourism times, and there is a fair amount of rock scrambling required to pass the huge dolomite boulders that litter the side of the mountain. But that view!

Length: 14.9km loop
Duration: 5.5 hours
Difficulty: 4/5 stars
More: trailhiking.com.au/cradle-mountain-tasmania/

Freycinet Circuit,
Freycinet National Park

Perfect for: The world's best coastline

Widely regarded as the premier coastal walk in Tasmania, this circuit provides hikers with the chance to explore some of the most pristine coastline in the world. With stops at beautiful locations such as Wineglass Bay and Hazard Beach, there are also a number of worthy side trails to explore, including the walk to the peak of Mount Freycinet, which offers unparalleled views all the way out to the distant Maria Island.

Length: 31km circuit
Duration: 2–3 days
Difficulty: 3/5 stars
More: tastrails.com/freycinet-circuit

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