Spread the love
In recent years walking or hiking is becoming more and more popular with travellers from all over the world. It is the ultimate way to explore a destination – just you and nature and an abundance of nature’s gifts plus in some cases a physical challenge, particularly when there are mountains or hills involved.
There are now travel companies that specialise in walking holidays, such as Australian Walking Holidays. Friends of mine toodle off every year to a new destination to complete a hike as well as take a holiday. Countries that they have hiked in include Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Italy and Sri Lanka. This year I believe they are planning to hike in Nepal.
I must admit to being fond of walking and find it rewarding to trek up a hill just to take in the breathtaking vistas and be able to look down on the world from a bird’s eye view. During my travels around Australia I found myself doing quite a lot of hiking, particularly in some of our magnificent National Parks. Two things that were an absolute necessity when hiking were proper hiking boots and a pair of Protalus shoe inserts.
Here are a selection of hikes that I can assure you are worth the effort (and in some cases also worth the pain!):
With a World Heritage Wilderness Area that covers approximately 1,584,000 hectares which represents about 1/5 of the area of the island state of Tasmania, it is not surprising that there are many great hiking tracks in this Australian state.
Here are a selection of three of the best hikes in Tassie:
Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania’s East Coast, in the Freycinet National Park has access to numerous walks and hikes. The walks meander through giant granite boulders on the ascent to the mountain range known as The Hazards on the peninsula.
These walks vary in distance and difficulty:
The overland Track hike is a 65 km, six-day trek through the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of the magnificent Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area on the West Coast of Tasmania.
Tasman Peninsula located in south-east Tasmania is approximately 75 km south-east of Hobart, features the newly opened 3 Capes Track. This track is 46 kilometres of cliff-hugging wilderness taking you on a hike across three capes, Cape Pillar, Cape Raoul and Cape Hauy. It involves 4 days and 3 overnight stays in basic cabin accommodation and has been designed as an achievable experience for a wide range of ages and abilities.
The Great Ocean Walk located on the Great Ocean Road located 275 kilometres west of Melbourne is a world renowned hike. If you want nature’s drama to unfold at every step, then The Great Ocean Walk is for you. It embraces the spectacular coastline of the Great Ocean Drive for 104 Kms from Apollo Bay to The 12 Apostles, passing through The Great Otway National Park.
Short walks, day hikes and overnight treks are also available according to your fitness level. Call into a Visitor Information Centre and pick up a selection of walk brochures.
Heysen Trail The 1,200 Km Trail passes through some of the most scenic parts of the state including national parks, state forests and internationally acclaimed tourist destinations, including the Barossa Valley and the stunning Wilpena Pound. It can be walked in portions according to your level of fitness. Part one covers Cape Jervis to Kuitpo Forest portion on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia.
The Blue Mountains west of Sydney boast some of the best mountain hiking trails in the state. Or you can traverse Sydney’s entire, spectacular coastline – from Barrenjoey in the north to Cronulla in the south – on a unique week-long adventure on the Sydney Great Coastal Walk. Otherwise this can be broken up into sections such as the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk that winds its way along 6 km of picturesque coastal paths at the edge of Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
Kiama is a gorgeous coastal town on the South Coast of NSW that is 120 Kms south of Sydney. There is a 22 Km scenic coastal walk between Minnamurra River to the north and Werri Beach to the south of Kiama, via the Blowhole, Lighthouse, rocky headlands, secret caves, coves and glorious ocean vistas.
Narooma to Dalmeny The incredible Narooma to Dalmeny pathway – the newly completed 6 Km ocean-front shared cycle/pathway, ‘NAR1’, built by a Dad’s Army of volunteers for the benefit of the community, is one of the most scenic pathways that I have walked.
Nitmiluk National Park Bush walk on one of the marked walking trails in Nitmiluk National Park at Katherine Gorge or drive 46 Kms north of Katherine to Leilyn (Edith Falls) and hike along one of the trails to the upper pool and waterfall. Here you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the rock pool.
El Questro Wilderness Park is a wilderness park on El Questro Station, a cattle station that diversified its pastoral operation to include tourism, located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
There are a selection of hikes available in this station, covering over one million acres, such as:
Purnululu National Park Unrivalled in their scale, grandeur and diversity of form anywhere in the world, are the Bungle Bungle Ranges extraordinary array of banded sandstone domes. Covering a whopping 45,000 hectares of the Purnululu National Park in The Kimberley, these dramatically sculptured natural formations are sometimes likened to black and orange striped ‘beehives’.
Walking tracks are the best way to explore the features of the Bungle Bungles. There are several trails available from easy one kilometre loops walks to more challenging two to seven day hikes.
Kalbarri National Park The spectacular scenery of Kalbarri National Park is the result of millions of years of geological formation. As the Murchison River carves it way to the sea, magnificent red and white banded gorges have been cut by the flow. These gorges meander 80 Km’s through the 186,000 hectare park.
A visit to this park of marvels is approximately 40 Km’s east of Kalbarri and is accessible by all types of vehicles even though some of the roads are unsealed.
Z-Bend Gorge, which is considered to offer the most breathtaking views of the park, is reached by a 1.4 Km return walk trail from the car park to a lookout. The gorge plunges 150m down to the river below where red river gums create a striking contrast against the earthy sandstone cliffs.
For the more adventurous and experienced walkers, starting and ending at Nature’s Window is the 8 Km loop track which takes you through moderate to challenging terrain and spectacular scenery. The trail takes you along the rim of the gorge and deep down into the river gorge onto the sandy white banks of the river fringed with lovely red river gums.
Cape to Cape Track Stretching 140 Kms from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste in South West Australia, the track showcases the stunning coastline and was judged as one of Australia’s Top 10 walks. There are many group tours available to take the headache out of arranging accommodation and carrying luggage.
Cape Le Grand National Park Approximately 50 Km’s east of Esperance is Western Australia’s best known and most spectacular national parks. Cape Le Grand National Park offers the most perfect vistas of coastal flora, granite rock formations, towering headlands, tranquil white sandy bays with crystal clear waters, an abundance of wildlife and a peak that you can climb to the summit for panoramic views of the entire park.
There are 15 Km’s of coastal tracks that run from Le Grand Beach, via Hellfire Bay to Rossiter Bay, which features excellent park and coastal views. For the hale and hearty, scale the 3 Km steep rocky cliff face to the top of Frenchman Peak, and take a photo through the hole in the rock sitting on the summit, for the greatest views of the park.
Torndirrup National Park, Albany Lies 10km south of Albany with a number of stunning lookouts and walk trails in the park, including:
Amongst the great hiking trails in Queensland are the Gold Coast Hinterland in the McPherson Ranges and Sunshine Coast Hinterland in the Blackall Ranges. Both of these South East Queensland regions offer lush green scenery with gorges, waterfalls, rock pools, scenic views and warm subtropical rainforest and hikes to suit all levels of ability.
Caloundra Coastal Pathway stretches 25 kilometres along some of the most scenic shorelines you will ever see. The path is a continuous coastal link from Golden Beach in the south of Caloundra, where it hugs the Pumicestone Passage, before passing Bulcock Beach and Kings Beach on its way around Caloundra Headland heading north following the long, sandy beaches of Kawana to Mooloolaba.
Noosa National Park commences at the entrance at the end of Hastings Street at Little Cove, a lovely little beach. The coastal track initially comprises of boardwalks and concrete pavement but then becomes a dirt track with some rocky sections. As you walk around the headland there are magnificent views over Boiling Point, Tea Tree Bay, Dolphin Point, Winch Cove and then to the point aptly named Hells Gates because of its steep cliffs and deep crevasse. From Hells Gates you get magic views of Alexandria Bay which is a remote and stunning beach.
There are over 15km of walking tracks to explore in Noosa Headland which are marked with colour-coded signposts. On hot summer days, the Tanglewood track and the Palm Grove circuit through rainforest, provide cool alternatives to the coastal track.
This is only a very brief overview of some of the great Australian hikes. If you delve further into the centre of our beautiful country and mountain ranges there are many more hiking trails that you can explore.
Where have you hiked in Australia and where would you recommend?
Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
Comments are closed.