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Great Australian Hikes

  • August 12, 2016
  • By 50 Shades
  • 24 Comments
Walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout

Walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout

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.

The Domes or Beehives of the Bungle Bungles

The Domes or Beehives of the Bungle Bungles

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!):

Tasmania

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:

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay

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:

  • Mt Amos – 4Km return walk is a steep and difficult climb with panoramic views over Wineglass Bay and the Southern Peninsula
  • Wineglass Bay Lookout – 3Km return is a moderately steep stepped track to a lookout with views of Wineglass Bay, Mt Freycinet and Mt Graham
  • Wineglass Bay Beach – continue down from Wineglass Bay lookout on a rock scramble to the Wineglass Bay Beach
  • Isthmus Track Circuit – 9Kms return continues from Wineglass Bay Beach to Hazard Lagoon and Hazards Beach
  • Cooks Beach – 29Kms return on the Hazards track to Hazards Beach and then the Peninsula track to Cooks Beach
  • Peninsula Track – 30Kms return recommended as a 2 day hike camping at Cook’s Corner overnight.

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.

Overland Track Sign Lake St Clair

Overland Track Sign Lake St Clair

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.

3 Capes Walk, Tasman Peninsula

3 Capes Walk, Tasman Peninsula

Victoria

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.

The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road Walk

The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road Walk

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.

South Australia

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.

Coastline at Victor Harbour on the Heysen Trail

Coastline at Victor Harbour on the Heysen Trail

New South Wales

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.

Cathedral Rocks on the Kiama Coastal Walk

Cathedral Rocks on the Kiama Coastal Walk

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.

Dalmeny to Narooma Walkway

Northern Territory

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.

Edith Falls

Edith Falls

North West Australia

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.

Emma Gorge, El Questro

Emma Gorge, El Questro

There are a selection of hikes available in this station, covering over one million acres, such as:

  • Emma Gorge – The scenic gorge is characterized by massive scree slopes and cliff face escarpments reaching up to 120m on both sides of the trail. At the end of the trail you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the icy plunge pool of Emma Gorge Pool and Falls.
  • Zebedee Springs – a short walk through lush Livistona and Pandanus Palms to thermal springs and pools.
  • El Questro Gorge – trek along a spring-fed creek through palms and fern-clad escarpments which brings you to a small swimming hole.
  • Champagne Springs – a challenging walk that takes you along the Pentecost River to a series of clear pools and a spring-fed waterfall.
  • Moonshine Gorge – a circuit trail walk with great views and leads into tall cliff faces and Livistona Palms on both sides with several waterholes to rest and swim in.

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’.

Cathedral Gorge, Bungle Bungles

Cathedral Gorge, Bungle Bungles

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.

  • Echidna Chasm walk into a spectacular 200 m chasm with its varying colour hues;
  • Mini Palms walk features soaring cliffs, Livistona palms, two viewing platforms and an amphitheatre far below;
  • The Domes walk loops around banded domes towering majestically around you;
  • Cathedral Gorge walk through striped domes, rock pools, towering cliffs and honeycomb rocks that lead to an amphitheatre and swimming hole;
  • Picaninny Gorge Walk a challenging two to seven day hike into a remote and magnificent gorge leading to a lookout and spinifex covered grasslands.

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.

Kilbarri National Park

Kilbarri National Park

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.

South West Australia

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 to Cape Track

Cape to Cape Track

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.

Cape le Grand National Park

Cape Le Grand National 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:

  • Stony Hill Walk You can enjoy great views to the west from the wooden lookout on Stony Hill, the highest point in Torndirrup National Park.
  • Peak Hill Walk The southernmost peak of the Torndirrup Peninsula can be reached via a rugged 4.3km return path, that is steep in sections.
  • Bald Head Walk Hard core bushwalkers have the option of a hard 10km return, 6-8 hour bushwalk over Isthmus Hill and Limestone Head, finishing at Bald Head, the eastern extremity of the park.
Peak Hill in Torndirrup National Park, Albany

Peak Hill in Torndirrup National Park, Albany

Queensland

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.

Caloundra Ocean Walkway

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.

Noosa National Park Walk

Noosa National Park Walk

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By 50 Shades, August 12, 2016 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.
  • 24

50 Shades

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.

24 Comments
  • Ian
    August 12, 2016

    the most memorable places in my life to visit and work was the Caronvon national park spring sure qld

    • Kathy
      August 12, 2016

      Hi Ian, we have been wanting to visit Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland in ages. I’d say we will most probably visit here within the next few years on one of our caravan trips. We’ve heard good things about it. :)

  • budgettraveltalk
    August 12, 2016

    This is an excellent resource Kathy. I will be pinning it to my Australia and New Zealand board. We only do small walks, like the Burleigh National Park, Noosa National Park, Carnarvon Gorge or Magnetic Island National Park. I am interested in doing some longer walks though. My main criteria would be not too many hills and I’d like the weather to be cool as opposed to stinking hot! I’m thinking N.Z. would be good.

    • Kathy
      August 13, 2016

      Thanks Jan. We normally only do shorter walks as well, but I don’t mind doing a bit of hill climbing. That’s where the best views are! We recently did a fabulous walk up Queenstown Hill in Queenstown in NZ and it was sensational. The Milford Sound Trail is very famous in NZ, but it would involve a lot of mountainous terrain I should think. My goal is to do the Three Capes Walk in Tassie. :)

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    August 12, 2016

    I would love to do the Cradle mountain walk. Budget Travel Jan is right. This is a
    brilliant resource for walker aficionados. .

    • Kathy
      August 13, 2016

      The Cradle Mountain Walk would be fantastic but you can encounter bad weather and snow (even in late spring), as we did when we visited. I would love to do the Three Capes Walk at some stage. I could easily become a walking aficionado! (Had to look up the meaning of this word Michelle!) :)

  • Johanna A Castro (@JohannaACastro)
    August 13, 2016

    We love walking and hiking, so what a wonderful resource this is Kathy. I can’t wait to go back to Tasmania and do some ‘proper’ walking – we only did a few short walks when we visited in 2011. The Caloundra Coastal pathway looks lovely too, and I love that part of the QLD coast – ooh can’t wait to come back over :) Will pin this to my Travel Inspiration board :)

    • Kathy
      August 13, 2016

      Walking or hiking really is the best way to see a place and its natural attributes. We are truly blessed in Australia with a great selection of walking trails. There are so many. A girlfriend of mine would love to do the Sydney Coastal Walk as a group, but I would love to do the Three Capes Walk in Tassie. :)

  • Indrani
    August 13, 2016

    I virtually devoured these delightful scenic captures! It would be sheer joy to hike along those paths there! Happy #TPT!

    • Kathy
      August 13, 2016

      It certainly would Indrani. I have been on about half of these walks or hikes, but there are many more on my bucket list. Walking is the best form of sightseeing! :)

  • Rhonda Albom
    August 13, 2016

    Thanks for the huge (comprehensive) list of hiking opportunities in Australia. It looks like wherever I go in Oz, I can find a trail.

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2016

      Rhonda, yes indeed you will find walking/hiking trails wherever you travel throughout Australia. Some have the most exquisite scenery, flora and fauna. :)

  • Soraya @ Hello Raya
    August 14, 2016

    These are all fantastic! I haven’t been to Tasmania, but I heard it is stunning. I will definitely save this for when I plan my trip to Tasmania. I absolutely love hiking through Noosa National Park – it is just stunning and the views are incredible.

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2016

      Australia does offer some great walks or hikes for nature lovers. I also love the Noosa National Park – there are gorgeous views all along the pathway. Tasmania does have some of most spectacular rugged scenery in Australia, but so does West Australia. :)

  • farrah
    August 14, 2016

    WOW! Photos are just stunning. I will definitely revisit this list when I visit my friends from Down Under :)

    Xx,
    Farrah & London
    londonhadalittlelamb.com

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2016

      Thanks Farrah. Hope you get to come down under soon. We have lots to offer! :)

  • Ruth
    August 14, 2016

    What a great guide! You should start your own tour company! No kidding! I find this post very inspirational. Need to visit Australia one day.

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2016

      Thanks Ruth. I would love to have my own tour company to show off the beauty of my country. You must come to Australia and I will show you around! :)

  • Anne
    August 15, 2016

    So many hikes! I can’t wait to explore El Questro, hopefully this time next year we will be there.

    • Kathy
      August 15, 2016

      You will love El Questro Anne. This place was one of my favourite hiking spots in all of Australia. If you need any information about travelling to the West I can help. We spent over a month travelling here in 2014. :)

  • Linda Fairbairn
    August 15, 2016

    I’m a sucker for rainforest! And we’re spoilt here in SE QLD with the Lamington National Park that runs along the NSW/QLD border :)
    The weekend before last we did Dave’s Creek Circuit, a 13km hike starting at Binna Burra and takes you through all manner of stunning vegetation –
    And this last weekend we finally got to see the Strangler Cairn, a sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy in the Conondale National Park inland from the Sunshine Coast and Maleny – Its a huge egg shape dry stone construction with a strangler fig planted in the top that will slowly envelope the work – Awesome! :D
    Can’t beat walking in the bush!

    • Kathy
      August 15, 2016

      That is fabulous Linda. Here I am living so close to Lamington National Park and I have never hiked there. I must do something about this! I would love to do some hiking in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. My daughter lives up there and I know she would be keen to hike with me. I agree totally – bushwalking is the best! :)

  • Sam - Journo and the Joker
    August 17, 2016

    I have to admit my enthusiasm for hiking has waned over the years. However, you’ve highlighted some amazing places here. I’m not sure it’s enough to get me out hiking for days, but certainly something I would do for a few hours or a day. And I was very lucky that we lived very close to the beach at Kawana, so we are very familiar with the Caloundra Coastal Walk, although I’ve never done the whole thing. And a walk in Noosa National Park is always lovely. There are plans for the walkway to go all the way from Caloundra to Noosa. Don’t think it is completed yet.

    • Kathy
      August 17, 2016

      I must confess that I haven’t embarked on any really long hikes, but I would like to. I particularly would love to do the Three Capes Walk in Tassie which is four days/three nights at what is described as achievable for all levels of fitness. I walk around the pathways and through the national parks on the Gold Coast a few times a week and love nothing more than getting out in the great outdoors and amongst nature. That is good news about the oceanway stretching the entire length of the Sunny Coast. That would take you a few days to walk I would imagine. :)

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