Warmer weather is here and you know what that means, don’t you? It means it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the great outdoors. Have fun and stay fit by getting outside and visiting some of Australia’s best hiking trails.
You don’t have to be Bear Grylls to have an adventure in the great outdoors, so pack a water bottle and some sunscreen and get ready to walk on the wild side with these great Australian hikes.
Great Ocean Road trails, Victoria
Did you think you could only enjoy the Great Ocean Road from your car? Not so. For those who prefer to explore on foot, rather than behind the wheel, the Great Ocean Road trails are perfect. The trail was opened back in 2006 and is made up of 104 kilometres of track which stretches from Apollo Bay to Cape Otway Lightstation. As well as the magnificent views of the 12 Apostles, trailblazers can expect to meander through eucalypt and gum forests, see beaches and shipwrecks and view the horizon from the clifftops. Take your time as there are trails suiting all fitness levels. You can do a shorter trail, which takes around an hour, or you can walk along some of the longer hikes which even have overnight options. There are also restaurants and cafes at the end of the trail, which provide a great opportunity to fuel up and reward yourself after a long day.
Length: 104 kilometres but can be broken up into smaller hikes.
Difficulty: Easy, moderate and hard options available.
When to go: Visit during the warmer months for great views of the Apostles. Be prepared for big crowds on the beaches if you go during summer.
More information: Head to Visit Melbourne for more information.
Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory
Go walkabout and discover some truly ancient and inspiring landscapes of the Northern Territory’s outback by trekking along the coveted Larapinta Trail. The remoteness of this trail means it really is best to do this one in a tour group, but don’t worry, you’re still sure to feel the isolation in these vast open spaces. Some of the sites you’ll come across include the Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge, then ascending Mount Sonder at the end.
Length: 223 kilometres, can be broken up into smaller trails. Tour groups are available with six to 14-day hike options.
Difficulty: Moderate to hard.
When to go: Walks are best done during the cooler months, from June to September. Avoid going during October and February. Be prepared for varying weather conditions — in June it’s not uncommon for temperatures to be below zero during the night then reach up to 32 degrees C during the day.
More information: Visit the Larapinta Trail website.
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Arkaba Walk, Flinders Ranges, South Australia
If you’re more into luxury than lycra, then the Arkaba Walk might just be for you. There are all-inclusive walking tours available which give you a look into the remoteness of the Australian outback, but there are also purpose-built campsites, luxury swags and three-course dinners accompanied by South Australian wines to help you relax after a hard day on foot. But that’s not to say it’s all gourmet meals and glamping though, you’ll still feel far away from civilisation and be part of helping the wildlife reserves in the area.
Length: The walk covers 40,000 acres of Arkaba’s private wildlife conservancy.
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult.
When to go: Ideal conditions during winter.
More information: For more information, visit SouthAustralia.com.
Box Forest, Lamington Park, Queensland
The Box Forest Track in Lamington National Park is said to be one of the most rewarding of the circuit walks in the area. With a lush canopy of Piccabeen Palms, Brush Box and dangling vines overhead, the walk along the wide and stable track follows Canungra Creek reaching Wajinya and Darragumai Falls, although it might require a bit of a walk through mud to reach it. The cascades flow particularly hard in the wet season, then there’s also Darragumai, Wajinya and Elabana Falls on the way out. Stop for a packed lunch at Picnic Rock or head down to Canungra and visit the local pub where a pint of cider and a wood-fired pizza goes down a treat before the drive back home.
Length: 10.6 kilometres.
When to go: If you want to see the waterfalls, it’s best to go during the wet season. But be prepared for leeches and mud.
More information: For more information, head to Visit Gold Coast.
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Cape to Cape Walk, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, WA
Old 4WD tracks have been converted into an impressive coastal trek from Cape Naturaliste lighthouse to Cape Leeuwin lighthouse. It’s 135 kilometres all together and is a challenge, but the coastal sights and the forest views are worth the trek. It takes five to seven days to complete the entire track, but there are sturdy pathways as well as sandy beach-side trails. Be prepared to work hard, but the views of the ocean, as well as checking out some of the cave systems at Canal Rocks, will be well worth it. You might even spot a dolphin or whale from the cliffs or a brown bandicoot in the bushes.
Length: 135 kilometres broken into smaller walks and paths, mostly along the coastline.
Difficulty: Easy to difficult, depending on which part of the trail.
When to go: Be prepared for cool and wet conditions during winter and hot and dry conditions during summer, but weather can vary on the coast so four seasons in one day can be expected. Be prepared.
More information: Visit the Cape to Cape Track website.
Kosciuszko Walk, New South Wales
You will feel like you’re on top of the world with this one, well at the top of Australia at least. The Kosicusko walk is a 14-kilometre return track which reaches the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia at 2,228 metres above sea level. You’ll take the chairlift at Thredbo during the summer up to the starting point and walk past the iconic Snowy River on your way. You’ll even stop at the beginning of the waterway system which features in Banjo Paterson’s epic poem, “The Man from Snowy River”. Expect some impressive landscapes on this one, including rocky granite ridges, blooming wildflowers and Lake Cootapatamba. You can tackle this one on your own, but guided walks are advised.
Length: 14.3 kilometres, approximately 5 hours.
When to go: During the summer months between November and January or on skis between June and October, although there are no snow poles marking the track during winter.
More information: Visit NSW’s national parks website for more information.