AUSTRALIAN WALKING HOLIDAYS
Australian Walking holidays are increasingly popular, and this list of the great Australian walks aims to inspire you to start training and get out there to enjoy the spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and challenges that these great walks offer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Walks in Australia
What are the longest walking tracks in Australia?
Australia has some of the world’s longest tracks; we have not included these in our list because they are beyond the realm of a walking holiday and more of a life challenge. Don’t let us put you off, though, for many of these walks; you can complete a section or sections of the track rather than tackle the entire thing.
- Australian Alps Walking Track – 650km
- Mawson Trail – 900km
- Bibbulmun Track – 1,000km
- Heysen Trail – 1,200km
- The Bicentennial National Trail – 5,330km
What is the hardest walking trail in Australia?
I think any of the walks above would be a contender for the most challenging title because of the sheer amount of ground covered; however, there are a couple of shorter walks that are equally hard due to either weather extremes or the terrain.
- Larapinta Trail – 223 km through rocky uneven desert terrain
- Federation Track in Tasmania – only 40 km but combine bushwalking and rock climbing
Walks in New South Wales
The Blue Mountains UNESCO area, the Snowy Mountains and 2100km of coastline make NSW a brilliant choice for a walking holiday.
Grand Canyon, Blue Mountains
Widely regarded by both locals and visitors alike as the best of the spectacular walks the Blue Mountains offers, the Grand Canyon loop should be on the list of every bushwalking enthusiast!
Located in the Blue Mountains town of Blackheath, the Grand Canyon track starts at the scenic Evans Lookout. The actual trail is only about 6 kilometres, but walking between the carpark and the way adds a 1.5-kilometre stroll. Depending on your pace and time to linger in the canyon, the walk will take between 3 and 4 hours. This is a popular walk and can get busy and should be avoided in wet weather.
Once in the otherworldly canyon, much of the walk is a well-maintained track and gentle inclines. Remember, the descent means a challenging ascent at the other side. As you follow the path of Greaves creek through the canyon, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the local wildlife and the large Aboriginal shelter known as The Rotunda.
Stay: Check out the Old Leura Dairy about 10 minutes away for some unique and sustainable accommodation and stop by The Bunker for a great meal!
Contributed by Holly from Best of the Blue Mountains
The Six Foot Track, Blue Mountains
The Six Foot Track in New South Wales’ UNESCO World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains area is truly one of Australia’s most iconic walks. Whilst not the most leisurely walk on this list, this 3-day hike provides plenty of incredible scenery to be enjoyed along the way. A real highlight is the exhilarating swing bridge that stretches over the Cox’s River.
The 46-kilometre walk runs from Katoomba in the Blue Mountains to the Jenolan Caves; however, if you want to make it slightly easier, start the hike from the Jenolan Caves and walk to Katoomba so that you’re going downhill at the beginning. Alternatively, take your time and walk over 4 or 5 days to spend more time relaxing and enjoying the unique surroundings.
You do not need to book in advance if you are planning on camping along the hike, but you should lodge a Trip Intention Form and loan a Personal Locator Beacon to ensure you can be rescued if needed.
Stay: Because you are trekking through bushland, you’ll need to plan ahead bringing food and water, but definitely make sure you stop in at the Six Foot Track Eco-Lodge, where you can book in for a cooked meal and a night of accommodation in a cabin.
You can also complete this as a guided walk if you prefer
Contributed by Emma from Emma Jane Explores
Manly to Bondi, Sydney
The Bondi to Manly Walk is an 80 km long coastal and harbour hike in New South Wales, Australia, which goes from Manly Beach to the world-famous Bondi Beach. The walk will take around 3-5 days and is suitable for most ages with an average fitness level.
The track leads through diverse nature, along the coast, with many sights along the road. Besides the two famous surf beaches, you will walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and past the well known Sydney Opera House. The two beaches in Bondi and Manly won’t be the only beaches you will come across; in total, you will walk by 47 beaches along the coast. If you’re looking for a great hike without having to leave the city, this is a fantastic choice.
While you walk through many neighbourhoods and populated districts, you’ll also get to enjoy plenty of time in nature. Even though 80 kilometres sounds like a lot, the hike feels a lot shorter since you’re seeing so much along the way. I highly recommend camping during or after your walk for an authentic Australian experience.
Tip: If you don’t have that much time for the walk, you can shorten the hike by taking the ferry from Manly to Sydney harbour and walking from there. This route will take only around 2-3 hours.
You will pass lots of different restaurants and cafes. However, the best spot to enjoy a meal is on one of the many picnic tables with an incredible ocean view or directly on one of the beaches.
Stay: You will find many types of accommodation for the night as well
Contributed by Victoria from Guide Your Travel
When the snow has melted on Mt Kosciuszko, it is opened to walkers looking to conquer Australia’s highest peak, rising 2,228 metres above sea level. The very well paved and moderate level walk up Kosciuszko is about 13km return and takes about 4-5 hours from the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift that leaves from Thredbo.
After disembarking the chairlift, the walk takes you through rocky granite outcrops, over headwater streams of the mighty Snowy River and past Australia’s highest altitude lake, Lake Cootapatamba. If in need of a toilet break on the way up, you’ll find the country’s highest public toilet, a bit of a novelty, as you pass the old Kosciuszko Road.
At the top, you are rewarded with spectacular sweeping 360-degree views of the mountains around and some of the freshest air you’ll ever breathe.
Stay: If you decide to stay in the area for a while before and after your walk, I recommend staying in Jindabyne, 30 minutes’ drive from Thredbo, for more affordable accommodation options. Banjo Paterson Inn offers everything you need for a relaxing sleep and lovely views over the lake. Discovery Parks Jindabyne is also a great option.
And after the long day of walking, you can’t beat enjoying a Kosciuszko Pale Ale beer and a meal at the Banjo Paterson Inn in Jindabyne.
Contributed by Jen from the Trusted Traveller
Royal National Park Coast Walk
A popular 2-day walk that can be completed using public transport, the Coast Track in Royal National Park covers 28km through the rainforest, along cliff tops, and some sand walking on beaches. You can walk in a day if you like a challenge or camp overnight at North Era.
The two-day option gives you plenty of time to enjoy the beaches and even a waterfall or two along the way. A great year-round walk it can get very cold on windy days in the middle of winter, so be sure to dress and pack accordingly.
There is public transport at either end of the walk. If you walk north to south, you begin at Bundeena wharf and make your way to Otford, where you join the train but to the city. The terrain at the southern end is more challenging so factor this in when you decide which way to walk. You will need to bring food as there is nothing along the walk and limited options at either end.
Stay: You can either camp at North Era overnight or use the shuttle to return to your accommodation and return the following day.
Walks in Victoria
Victoria offers stunning coastal walks and mountain hikes, and everything in between. Hiking in the Grampians is a must, but you should also add the famous Great Ocean Road and Mount Bogong to give you a good taste of the best walking holidays in Victoria.
Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk
The Great Ocean Walk is a 104-kilometre hike that snakes along the coastline between Apollo Bay to Port Campbell. It can be completed in 4 or 6 days but is more often taken slowly and enjoyed over eight days. There are some inclines and descents, but most people can do it with reasonable fitness levels and determination. Along the way, you can camp in Victorian campsites, which have to be reserved well in advance. Otherwise, there are a few walk-in, walk-out lodges and companies which will bring your gear ahead to you.
The hike is one way and ends at the famous Twelves Apostles, but that wasn’t even my favourite part (although it was spectacular!). What I loved most about this hike was the solitude and diversity of the landscape. Each day, we would pass through ancient rainforest, wide green fields, or pristine beaches. We spotted koalas, a falcon and lots of wallabies and kangaroos. It was an experience totally different from driving the Great Ocean Road.
There are no fees to walk the track. Some people with less time do day walks on just parts of the Great Ocean Walk. If you do the entire thing, treat yourself to a night to recover in the tiny town of Port Campbell and a craft beer from the Sow and Piglets brewery. It can’t be beaten.
Contributed by Alanna from Great Ocean Road Collective
An overnight hike to Mount Bogong, Victoria’s highest mountain, is a challenging but thrilling adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. With some of the state’s most stunning, panoramic mountain views, the leg-aching steep ascent of this grade 4 loop will be all but forgotten.
The 21.4km Mount Bogong Summit hike can be tackled in various ways. The most common is 6km up steep Staircase Spur, a night camping at one of the alpine huts, and back down the zig-zagging Eskdale Spur.
Although adding on an extra 4km to each day of the hike, it is well worth making an effort to spend the night at the stunning plateau of Cleve Cole Hut campground. Unlike Bivouac and Mitchell Hut, Cleve Cole is quiet and extremely scenic, with small alpine shrubs, wildflowers and beautiful views.
For this hike, you will need to be self-sufficient and bring a tent, water, food and cooking equipment.
Before or after the hike, you can also spend the night at Mountain Creek picnic ground in a tent or campervan. Alternatively, there’s the nearby town of Mount Beauty, with motels and chalets.
The Mount Bogong summit hike will undoubtedly challenge you, but will no doubt be one of the most memorable hikes you’ll ever do in Victoria.
Contributed by Tammy from Travelling Tam
Walks in Queensland
The second-largest state has some impressive trails and plenty of challenges.
The Scenic Rim Trail
At 47km, this is not a long walk compared to many here, but it is one of the more challenging options. Best suited to those with significant hiking experience and decent navigation skills, as much of the route is not particularly well marked.
If you begin at Thornton View, you will face some difficult uphill walking right from the start. Most people camp overnight the first night at Mount Mistake, one of 4 campsites along the route.
Tip: You will find the best walking weather in autumn and winter
While you can do this as a self-guided walk, I highly recommend booking a guided tour, which means a guide will worry about the route, and you can just take in the views. The guided walk also features some lovely overnight accommodation.
The Thorsborne Trail, QLD
In tropical north Queensland, just off the coast of Cardwell, 100 kilometres north of Townsville, sits Hinchinbrook Island, the largest island on the Great Barrier Reef. Despite its size, the island is entirely uninhabited and completely undeveloped.
Along the eastern edge of the island, the thirty-two-kilometre Thoresborne Trail offers adventurers a multi-day hike through a range of unique environments, including stunning bays, craggy peaks, and magnificent waterfalls as you hike through swamp, and jungle, mangroves, and scrub. This challenging hike takes about four days and three nights.
Because of strict management, only forty people are allowed on the island at any given time. During the dry season, permits are booked out six months to one year in advance. Once you have secured a permit, you will also need to arrange a private charter to drop at the trailhead on the island’s north and collect you at the end of the one-way trail.
Highlights of the walk include Nina’s Peak, which provides fabulous views of the island, the crystal clear swimming hole at Zoe Falls, and the picturesque water hole at Mulligan Falls.
One thing you’ll need to be wary of on this walk is the saltwater crocodiles that call the rivers and bays of the island home. With a large concentration of salties and at least one recorded attack, care must be taken when crossing the tidal creeks of the island.
The only accommodation on the island is the bush campsites that break up the hike. You will need to be completely self-sufficient and carry your own tent, water, food, and cooking equipment.
Eddie Kingswell from The Vanabond Tales
Walks in the Northern Territory
Walking in the desert conditions of the Northern Territory requires some preparation. If you are not an experienced hiker, we highly recommend joining a walking tour and not attempting to walk alone. The exception to this is the day hikes out of Uluru, where you will find plenty of people around. Always follow advice about current weather and carry more water than you think you need.
Larapinta Trail (NT)
Alice Springs is in the middle of Australia’s Northern Territory. Apart from being a hub connecting to Uluru, the belly button of the earth, Alice Springs has a lot of interesting spots to explore, from the Alice Springs Reptile Center, Desert Park, Lions Walk to the Larapinta Trail, an impressive 233 kilometres long trekking experience in the country.
The Larapinta Trail is an extensive walking track, and it is known for its red desert and bushland sceneries. The walk starts at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station and runs along the West MacDonnell Ranges to the Redbank Gorge. It is a relatively new walking trail and becoming one of the most popular among hikers.
The trail comprises twelve sections and various grades and terrain; it takes fourteen days to complete. Yet, it is up to the hikers to select which section to complete as most stops are accessible by vehicles, making it possible as a day trip, multi-day hike with camping, or an extended walk. Highlights include the Simpson’s Gap, Standley Chasm, Hugh Gorge, Serpentine Gorge, Ochre Pits, and Mount Sonder.
By Kenny from Knycx Journeying
Walks in Tasmania
Tasmania is a walker’s paradise with a range of moderate to challenging self-guided walks to hosted, guided walks that offer more than a bit of luxury. Here are some of our favourites.
Bay of Fires Lodge Walk (TAS)
While it might be considered one of the easier multi-day walks in Tasmania, The Bay of Fires Walk certainly delivers scenery as beautiful as any of the more challenging ones.
Bay of Fires Lodge Walk is a beautiful guided walk along the northeast coast of Tasmania. On this guided walk, you cover 33km over four days. You spend your nights in very comfortable accommodation, the first night in a glamping tent and then two nights in the luxury of the Bay of Fires Lodge.
Much of the walk is flat, with quite a lot along sandy beaches; you also get to spend some time in the water as you kayak on Ansons River on day three if you choose.
This is not your average walk; each day, when you finish, you are treated to a delicious meal and some great local wine. There is also the opportunity for spa treatments and foot soaks; what’s not to love about that!
If you would love to cover this area independently, you can do sections of the walk, but there is no accommodation along the way, so you need to do a bit of backtracking. Check out this article for more ideas.
A pack free version of the walk includes overnight accommodation and transfers to the track and back each day.
Overland Track/Cradle Mountain Huts Walk, Tasmania
The Overland Track is one of the most famous walks in Tasmania. It’s a rugged multi-day hike through one of Australia’s most beautiful World Heritage Wilderness Areas. Popular with both beginner and experienced walkers, you do really need to have a good level of fitness to attempt this walk. The great thing about the Cradle Mountain walk is that it is so well marked with numbers for you to follow, making it easier for those who have not honed their navigation skills. Oh, and the views are just spectacular!
Over six days, you will cover 65km, hiking through one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in Australia. Most people travel about 10km a day. You also need to carry your own pack, which will probably weigh 10-15kg. Perhaps heavier, depending on how much you lug along.
You can do the walk independently or book a guided walk. Regardless, you need to be prepared and book well in advance. They allow less than 35 people to start each day. You also need to buy a permit to walk ($200approx).
Tip: An alternative for those who don’t have time for the full walk is the Dove Lake Circuit.
If do you the walk independently, you have the choice of camping or staying in the very rustic huts along the way, there are 7 but you can’t book them, so you need to be among the first there every day to be sure of a bed. For this reason, most people carry their own tents.
This walk offers mind-blowing views of snow-covered mountains and lakes and loads of wildlife. It’s one of the most beautiful walks in the world, and it provides an unforgettable experience.
Freycinet Experience Walk, Tasmania
Another guided walk in Tasmania, the Freycinet Walk, is a pretty luxurious option. This experience offers plenty of choices depending on how hard you want to push yourself as you cover 33km over four days.
With the Friendly Beaches Lodge as your base, you have the choice each day of the tracks and activities you join. There is an easy coastal option or the chance to challenge yourself with some steep mountain sections at Mt. Graham and Mt. Mary.
Day one is more about the ocean with just 4km on foot and the rest of your day cruising to Schouten Island, and if you don’t fancy climbing Bear Hill, you can try a spot of fishing from the boat.
You choose between a 14 or 16km walk and visit Coles Bay and Wineglass Bay on day two. Do the climb; the views are worth the effort! Day three is another 14km, although it’s relatively easy terrain. You finish out day 4 with an easy 6km hike.
The Maria Island Walk (TAS)
White sand beaches and convict heritage sites are the top reasons people head to Maria Island for some trekking. If you fancy tackling the full Maria Island Walk, you will need to allow four days (3 nights) to cover the 43km.
Along the way, you will enjoy white sand beaches, plenty of wildlife and a dose of history. This world heritage listed island walk is best experienced in spring and summer. Tasmania gets incredibly cold in winter!
If you do a self-guided version, you can choose to walk between 25km – 43km staying at one of the three campgrounds overnight. I suggest you spend the night before your hike at Triabunna and then jump on the ferry first thing the next day. You will also need to buy a Tasmanian Parks Pass.
If you book a guided experience, you will be treated to gourmet food and a very comfortable, glamping style cabin at the end of the day. If time is limited, even a one day experience is worthwhile.
Walks in Western Australia
We still have so much of WA to explore, but so far, we have only explored the southwest region, where this walk is one of the best things we did.
Cape to Cape Walk (WA)
If you have a week set aside for a great hike this year, then the Cape to Cape in Western Australia is a fantastic choice. The 125km hike between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin can be completed in 5 days, but most people allow seven days, giving time for swimming at some of the stunning beaches along the way. Much of the walking is along old four-wheel-drive tracks and navigation is easy.
The hike is best taken in autumn between March and May or early spring. Summer is hot, and there is not a lot of shade on this hike. Winter can be colder than you imagine, and the ground gets wet and more difficult to hike. Rivers may be more challenging to cross as well. We recommend hiking from north to south
Much of the walk is in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and along the coast. Most people make use of the four campsites along the track: Mt Duckworth, Moses Rock, Ellensbrook, and Deepdene which each offer toilets, water and some picnic tables. The tank water, though, can be less than tasty, so bring a water filter with you to be safe.