Natasha from the Great Ocean Road Collective is sharing with us the best 7 hikes in Australia, an enormous country, with varying landscapes, from rugged coastal cliff sides and stunning golden beaches, to dense rainforests and steep snow-capped mountains.
One of the best ways to enjoy Australia is by hiking some of its awesome trails. You’ll get to fully immerse yourself in nature, capture some stunning photos, and maybe even see some wildlife.
Here’s our list of the best hiking trails in Australia to add to your bucket list.
Kings Canyon Rim, Watarrka National Park, NSW
One of Australia’s most iconic day hikes is the Kings Canyon Rim trail in New South Wales. This 6-kilometer loop takes you along the rim of the canyon, giving you an incredible perspective of the sandstone rock scenery. The hike is best suited for those who are fit and healthy. You’ll start off with a 1000-step climb, before reaching the top of the canyon where you can stop to admire the view. The trail continues around the rim, and passed through the Garden of Eden, where you’ll be rewarded with views of the stunning rockhole and surrounding exotic plants and flora.
Keep in mind that the temperatures here can get very hot, particularly during the summer months from September to April. When the temperature forecast is above 36 Celsius, you will not be allowed to begin the trail after 9 am. Be sure to pack lots of water, a good hat, and sunscreen. This hike is suitable for a solo traveler or can be done as a group.
Surf Coast Walk, Victoria
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful coastal walks in Australia is the Surf Coast Walk in Victoria. This trail spans 44-kilometers from the cozy surf town of Torquay all the way to Aireys Inlet. You’ll see rugged limestone cliffs, golden beaches, fringing bush as well as epic surf. The walk also covers several of the spectacular landmarks along the Great Ocean Road. Highlights of this walk include Point Addis Marine National Park, a great kid-friendly spot for spotting marine life, and Point Roadknight Beach, a tranquil beach known for great swimming.
There are plenty of toilets and car packs along the Surf Coast Walk trail. Because the path is linear, you have to walk back along the same path to get back to your car. For this reason, most hikers choose to visit a specific stretch of the trail rather than completing its entirety. One of the most popular stretches is the Jan Juc to Bells Track, which takes less than an hour and is suitable for all fitness levels. This trail covers several viewpoints and ends at Bells Beach, an iconic Australian surf beach visited by the pros. If you choose to do the entire 44-kilometer walk, we recommend finding a buddy to hike with.
Three Sisters Walk, Blue Mountains, NSW
Situated within the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, the Three Sisters Walk is the ideal hike for those who want to see this natural landmark up close. The walk itself is quite easy, spanning less than a kilometer. It is suitable for solo travelers as well as groups and can be completed in under an hour. You’ll start off at the Echo Point Visitor Centre before venturing into the forest of eucalypt trees. The forest is home to many birds, including crimson rosellas and lyrebirds, so keep your eyes ready. Continue along the boardwalk and you’ll see the Three Sisters sandstone turrets standing against the backdrop of the valley and mountain ranges in the distance. Further along, you’ll cross the Honeymoon Bridge, which connects to the first of the sisters. During peak season, there can be lines at this point, so its best to start the hike early in the day to avoid crowds. Bear in mind that the Three Sisters is a sacred Aboriginal place. As with all hikes, be respectful of the area you are in, and do not take rocks with you or leave garbage behind.
Dove Lake Circuit, Tasmania
If you want to be completely immersed in nature, head to the beautiful island state of Tasmania. The large island is known for its captivating landscapes, powder-white beaches, dense green forests and incredible hikes. For some incredible trails, check out Lake St. Clair National Park. We recommend the Dove Lake Circuit, a 5.7-kilometer primarily boardwalk loop suitable for solo hikers, as well as those traveling with children.
The trail follows the edge of Dove Lake, providing several impressive landscapes along the way. You’ll get to learn about glacier movements as you admire the colossal glacier rock as well as experience the cold, mossy Myrtle-Beetle rainforest. Because Dove Lake is directly beneath Cradle Mountain, you’ll also get a great perspective of the famous craggy mountain. Most people take between 2-3 hours to complete the circuit, though you can easily spend more time and stop along the way for an outdoor picnic.
Uluru Base Walk, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
No trip to the Australian outback is complete without a visit to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The park is home to the enormous Uluru rock mass, also known as Ayer’s rock, standing at a height of 348-meters. The rock is reminiscent of an iceberg – the majority of its mass being underneath the soil. One of the best ways to explore this site is by hiking the Uluru Base Walk. This track is 10-kilometers long, and takes you around the exterior of the rock, providing close-up views as well as distance shots. The landscape varies, ranging from green native grasses, acacia woodlands, as well as several waterholes and sacred Aboriginal meeting places. If you’re lucky enough to visit after rainfall, you’ll be able to see beautiful indigenous wildflowers as well.
The majority of the walk consists of a compact-soil trail, and is suitable for most fitness levels as well as solar travelers. Most people take 3-4 hours to complete the walk. It is also possible to only do a section of the walk, such as the Mala Walk, which is essentially just the first part of the Base Walk. If you choose to do this section, you’ll still get to see highlights like the Kulpi Nyiikatu teaching cave and Kantju Gorge. Whether you do the entire Uluru Base Walk or just a portion, you’re sure to love this incredible spot.
Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk, Koscuiszko National Park, NSW
Another great hike is the Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk in New South Wales. Located within Koscuiszko National Park, the trail takes you to the top of Mount Koscuiszko, Australia’s highest mountain. The peak stands at 2228-meters among the Snowy Mountain Range. This 18.7-kilometer hike is more difficult than others on this list, taking between 6-8 hours on average to complete. You’ll want to be in relatively good shape and be prepared for some steep gradients. Though it is possible to do this hike solo, it is recommended to find a buddy or a group to join.
The popular track starts off at the Koscuiszko Express Chairlift and takes you down an old gravel road, immediately offering vistas of eucalyptus trees, unique outcrops, as well as the mountain ranges in the distance. During late spring and summer, you’ll be enchanted by the variety of wildflowers in bloom. Ideally, visit between December – March when you have the best chances of seeing silver snow daisies, buttercups, and mountain roses.
Further along, you’ll reach the Snowy River, which makes a great spot to take a break, rehydrate and snap a few photos. Onwards, you’ll pass Seaman’s Hut, a 90-year-old structure that dates back to 1929. At Rawson Pass, you’ll find some toilet facilities. It is the highest public toilet in the country! Not much further, you’ll reach the summit. Take in the incredible panoramic views and take a well-deserved rest before heading back down the track the same way. For those who are looking for a challenge, you may want to consider doing the Main Range walk as well.
Wukalina Walk, Bay of Fires, Tasmania
Though less of a hike than a mutli-day walk, the Wukalina Walk is a fantastic experience in Tasmania. This three-night, four-day walk is Australian Aboriginal owned and operated, taking you on a cultural journey through their homeland. This guided walk is best suited for those in good fitness, as you’ll be covering between 5-17-kilometers per day, sometimes on difficult trails. You will traverse through the Bay of Fires, a terrain known for its orange-hued granite boulders, crystal blue waters and pristine white beaches. The area is also home to Forester kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, as well as the infamous Tasmanian devil.
The Wukalina walk is a great way to combine outdoor hiking with a genuine Aboriginal cultural experience. No more than ten guests at a time will be accompanied by two guides for a intimate retreat. Throughout the multi-day walk, your guides and Elders will share palawa creation stories, as well as ancestral cultural rituals. The walk includes two nights sleeping in domed huts as well as one night in a restored historic lighthouse. You’re sure to leave feeling fit, culturally enlightened, and appreciative of all of Tasmania’s natural beauty. Find out more about this guided hike here.
Whether you’re an avid hike or prefer a more leisurely walk, we hope our guide has shown you that there is the perfect Australian hike out there for you. These are just some of Australia’s best hiking trails, but it’s a great starting point for any trip.
For Further Reading
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Natasha is of the Great Ocean Road Collective. A website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia with travelers far and wide. If you are planning your trip, need some inspiration, or looking for authentic advice on Aussie travel visit our website The Great Ocean Road Australia or check us out on Instagram.