The Top 5 Walks & Treks Across Australia

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by Sean Murphy

The best thing about living in Australia is that we are spoilt for choice when it comes to some of the most amazing treks in the world.  Lots of hyperbole there, but I’m sure you all know what I mean.  We have the weather, we have the landscapes, it’s just a case of knowing where to go and having the motivation to get off the couch and get out there.  Out in the wild.

And speaking of motivation, how about this; a list of the top five adventure trail walks our nation has to offer.  Of course there are heaps of treks that deserve a mention, but it’s a hard task to whittle it down to five, so here goes.

The Overland Track – Tasmania

Distance from Hobart to The Overland Track – 321 Km

You can’t discuss Australian trail walks without talking about the celebrated Overland Trek. It’s a rite of passage for anyone from casual walking groups to hardened hikers interested in the outdoors and wanting to see the best the country has to offer, while exposing you to the best landscapes and experiences.

Located in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania the track runs for 65 kilometres, or 82 if you want to go the scenic route and incorporate Lake St Clair.  The landscaped was created by glaciers during the ice age with the mountains composed by dolerite columns giving you a breath-taking vista.  But with interchangeable weather, make sure you pack appropriately, monitor weather forecasts and expect rain.

What you will come across during your trek will be Marion’s Lookout with great views of Cradle Mountain, the majestic Barn Bluff looking over an exposed alpine plateau, and the renowned D’Alton and Ferguson Falls. Test yourself, take the chance.  If you’ve had the Overland Trek in your bucket list, move it to the must-do list ASAP.

Bina Burra – Queensland

Distance from Brisbane to Bina Burra – 105 Km

South-east Queensland’s pride and joy, Bina Burra.  Nestled in the Gold Coast hinterland the trek from Bina Burra to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park is one of the most enjoyable walks that appeals to a great range of hikers.

This multi-day hike passes through sub-tropical and cool-temperate rainforests and along the rim of the impressive Tweed Valley volcanic erosion caldera.  Make sure you pack your camera as you are going to see some spectacular sights along the way.

When you get to the majestic Wanungara Lookout, the views encompass the Limpwood Valley, Mount Warning and Byron Bay, making this the ultimate South East Queensland hike and a great way to introduce overseas visitors to what we have to offer.  You can do this hike in either direction, depending on accessibility and preference.  But regardless of the season, make sure you are hydrated throughout the trail and pack accordingly.

Cape to Cape – Western Australia

Distance from Perth to Cape Leeuwin – 318 Km

And we now go west-side for number three, where the Indian and the Southern Oceans meet.  The southern corner of Western Australia is a treasure trove of treks and trails where wild nature and beauty are the reward for all the hard work.  This trek follows the ridgeline for 140 kilometres along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, passing you through the lighthouse of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.

Eagle-eyed trekkers will spot some of the shipwrecks just off the coast, including the SS Pericles.  Seasonal highlights include the wildflowers from August to November, and between June and December, you can also spot migrating whales while on this walk.

This isn’t a day trip, but rather a week long journey, so be prepared.

You can do this independently or via organised groups, it’s up to you.  Know your limits and do your research. Along the way you will encounter breath-taking beaches, sections of karri forest and light-houses, not to mention local fauna and flora that you will never see anywhere else.

Wilsons Promontory – Victoria

Distance from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory – 212 Km

Wilsons Promontory is Victoria’s time to shine.  Known as “The Prom”, this well-known trek highlights the dramatic coastline taking you through a weaving network of walking trails.   There’s flora and fauna aplenty, mixed with awe-inspiring landscapes, you can see why seasoned trekkers and casual bushwalkers flock to Wilsons Promontory all year round.

There’s 50,000 hectares of coastal wilderness to enjoy, whether it’s for an hour or over three days, there’s plenty of campsites to pull up the stops at the end of a long day walking.  If you’re looking for something more comfortable you can chose from huts, cabins, retreats or lodges situated at Tidal River.

Showcasing Australia’s southernmost tip, Wilsons Promontory consists of eucalypt forests, rugged mountain tops, rainforest gullies, swamps and vast empty beaches.  If you want a break from walking, why not take your snorkel out and try a bit of diving.  The peninsula is protected as a marine national park and offers a wide range of aquatic life to marvel at.

Larapinta Trail – Northern Territory

Distance from Alice Springs to the Larapinta Trail – At its doorstep

The heart of Australia boasts on the country’s newest treks that have become one of the Northern Territory’s major attractions. The Larapinta Trail will amaze the wilderness lover and push the seasoned hiker to the limits.

Your senses will go into overdrive as you take in the ethereal scenery of vast flood plains, razorback rocky outcrops and the glorious scale of this ancient land, walking the high ridgelines of the West MacDonnell Ranges.  The area covers 223 kilometres from east to west with the eastern end at Alice Springs and the western end at Mount Sonder.  The walk harbours many Aboriginal sacred sites of the Arrernte people, bringing you closer to the majesty of this indigenous culture.

In summer, temperatures can reach 45 degrees where heat stroke and dehydration is common which is why most visitors come in the winter months.

And there you have it, the top five.  But in reality, there are more than hundreds of other trails within Australia that are worth mentioning.  Where would you recommend?