7 Best Hiking Trails in Australia
Words by Melanie Grevis-James
Australia is well known for its incredibly diverse and beautiful landscapes. From red, dusty bushland to lush, tropical rainforests, from snow to sand, you could travel around Australia for months and never see the same ecosystem twice. And that alone makes it worth doing.
One of the best ways to really experience the beauty that makes up this country is by getting up close and personal on a hike. So, strap up your packs and boots and because we’re sharing what we consider the seven of the best hiking trails in Australia.
7 Best Hiking Trails in Australia
Spicers Scenic Rim Trail, Queensland
This five-day trek along the foothills of the Great Dividing Range is more than just a hike – it’s a walking holiday. Along it’s trails you can see incredibly beautiful and varied landscapes, native animals, vast views and more. And all just an hour and a half from Brisbane.
Spicers’ focus on ecotourism, the accommodation options (eco pods), sustainable food choices and off grid amenities give the entire trek a feel-good factor often missing in travel. And the Spicers Trail can be done completely assisted with your luggage transported for you while you hike with a guide. However, it can also be done unassisted if that’s your preference, with three designated camping areas available.
Details: Assisted five-day trek begins at Spicers Hidden Vale in Grandchester and finishes at Spicers Hidden Peaks Cabins in Clumber. Packages begin at $1,899 per person for a two-day guided walk.
Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) Rim Walk, Northern Territory
Known as Australia’s Grand Canyon, Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) is widely regarded as one of the best hiking trails in Australia. The Canyon Rim Walk is a six-kilometre hike along the edge of the canyon cliffs well known for its sandstone Lost City, contoured rock amphitheatre and ‘Garden of Eden’ swimming home.
Canyon Walk is for the committed hiker, with the first nearly 400 metres being a straight, technical climb up a steep incline at the canyon’s edge. You’ll find huge rewards as you watch the wildlife enjoy the water hole (it’s sacred for the local Aboriginal people so swimming is not permitted) and clamber over the Lost City’s weathered rocks.
The Arkaba Walk, South Australia
Set against the gorgeous backdrop of the prehistoric Flinders Ranges, the Arkaba Walk showcases the Australian Outback at its best. Along this four-day walk, you’ll see rugged sandstone bluffs, dry creek beds, kangaroos and emus and the 600-million-year-old landforms of Wilpena Pound and Elder Range.
You can visit the private Arkaba Walk and swag out under the stars, lodge in the beautifully restored Arkaba Homestead or even head out bush for a few days with friends.
Details: Visit Wild Bush Luxury for your Arkaba Walk experience. Packages start from $2,400 per person.
Great Ocean Walk, Victoria
Weaving its way along the rugged southern coastline of Victoria over four days, The Great Ocean Walk leads you to remote beaches, coastal cliff tops and cool-climate rainforest and remains one of the best hiking trails in Australia. The walk is home to a wide variety of native flora and fauna, including birds, fur seals, wallabies, koalas and many plant species unique to the region.
The last 55-kilometre section of the walk is known as The 12 Apostles Walk. If you feel a little bit of luxury, the guided 12 Apostles Lodge Walk provides eco-luxe villa accommodation at Johanna Beach. And you’ll only need to carry a daypack containing lunch, water and personal needs. Self-guided walks are possible too, though camping bookings are essential.
Details: Visit Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk. Packages start from $1,795.
Kosciuszko Walk, New South Wales
Traversing the beautiful Australian Alps, this challenging but rewarding 14.3 kilometre loop takes you on a fascinating journey from the top of the Kosciuszko Chairlift at Thredbo through heathlands and past the rocky granite outcrops of Rams Head Range. The views from Kosciuszko and Cootapatamba lookouts are unbeatable and the feeling of success you get from reaching the summit of Australia’s highest peak will sweep away any urges to complain about your aching legs.
Details: Free walk through Kosciuszko National Park.
The Overland Track, Tasmania
For many hikers and explorers, Tasmania’s Overland Track is a rite of passage. The famous 65-kilometre journey is seen by many as Australia’s premier hiking track. It meanders through the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in the spectacular Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
From Tasmania’s highest peak to Australia’s deepest lake, this journey features glacially carved valleys, beautiful forests, vast moorlands and alpine meadows. Those looking for a more luxurious option can even enjoy the trip with a guided tour if preferred.
Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory
While it may be one of Australia’s newest, this walk is quickly becoming one of the country’s most popular for hiking enthusiasts. The 223 kilometre long, 12-section journey is an epic Red Centre adventure. Running along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges, it offers spectacular views of Simpsons Gap, Ormiston Gorge and some of Australia’s most arid landscapes.
World Expeditions offer a guided and accommodated ecotravel trail experience, focussing on sustainable and responsible tourism. You can join the “Classic Larapinta Trail”, carrying just your day-pack and staying in their three comfortable semi-permanent eco campsites. Each stage of the trail is selected for spectacular scenery and covers between eight and 16 kilometres walking each day. Self-guided walks are possible, though food and water drops need to be organised.
Melanie is the editor and publisher of Our Planet Travel. She has travelled extensively throughout Australia since a young child – exploring and camping in many remote places. Her love of nature, photography and travelling continues to this day. She feels most at home in the desert and the wild open spaces of Outback Australia. Although she won’t say no to an eco 5-star hotel every now and then, too!
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