Australia is renowned around the world for its outdoor experiences, including mile upon mile of spectacular walking trails for eager hikers to conquer. Check out our pick of the top bushwalks you can do in every corner of Australia.
The Tasmanian Overland Track
Cradle Mountain | © Steven Penton / Flickr
Tasmania is covered in world-class walking trails but this six-day adventure sits at the top of the list. The 65km track links Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair via the Apple Isle’s World Heritage listed wilderness—a journey for experienced, well-prepared walkers eager to witness Tasmania’s pristine alpine beauty with their own eyes.
West MacDonnell Ranges | © Andrew Dolman / Flickr
This relatively new 223km track slices through the heart of Central Australia, giving those who tackle it a true taste of outback Australia. The long journey near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory is divided into 12 sections and takes two or three weeks to complete, following the spine of the West MacDonnell Ranges through striking landmarks like Simpsons Gap, Ormiston Gorge and Ellery Creek Big Hole.
Spit Bridge to Manly
Clontarf Beach | © Graeme Churchard / Flickr
This 10km trail hugs the northern edge of Sydney Harbour, taking in some of the city’s most stunning secret beaches. Beginning at the Spit Bridge in Mosman and winding up in beachside Manly, remember to pack your togs so you can have a dip at beaches like Clontarf, Fisher Bay and Forty Baskets Beach along the way. If you’ve got any energy left when you arrive in Manly, explore the rugged clifftops of North Head, too.
Great Ocean Walk
© David Cowles / Alamy Stock Photo
You’ve heard of the Great Ocean Road … but what about the Great Ocean Walk? This trail follows Australia’s most famous driving route for more than 100km between the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formation and Apollo Bay. Walkers keen for a challenge can tackle the full trail in about eight days, stepping through the astonishing natural beauty and spectacular coastal scenery of the Great Otway National Park.
Fraser Island Great Walk
Lake McKenzie | © Korkut Tas / Wikimedia Commons
90 kilometres of walking tracks criss-cross the world’s largest sand island, connecting Fraser Island’s serene freshwater lakes and towering rainforest. Located just off Hervey Bay, three hours’ drive north of Brisbane, the Fraser Island Great Walk takes about a week to complete in total—a far more rewarding way of seeing the island than cruising along the beach in a 4WD like most visitors.
Cape Byron Walking Track
Cape Byron Lighthouse | © Bernard Spragg / Flickr
Australia’s most easterly point is best conquered on foot, following the gentle walking trail that straddles the Cape Byron coastline. Even beginners can easily handle this 4km loop from Byron Bay around the peninsula that houses the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, which doubles as an excellent whale-watching vantage point during winter, and an awe-inspiring spot to watch the sun rise 12 months a year.
Heysen Trail | © NomadicPics / Flickr
This epic walking track covers a smorgasbord of South Australian landscapes, from the gorgeous coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula to the bone-dry outback of the Flinders Ranges. Beginning in Cape Jervis across the water from Kangaroo Island and finishing in Parachilna Gorge 1,200km further north, the Heysen Trail would take about two months to complete in its entirety, but it’s broken into 60 smaller sections for more manageable day trips.
Stirling Range Ridge Walk
Stirling Range | © mamatdunet / Flickr
Located about three hours’ drive south-east of Perth, Stirling Range is Western Australia’s premier walking terrain—and the Ridge Walk (also known as the Eastern Peaks Ridge Route) is a rugged 26km hike that’s perfect for bushwalkers looking for a challenge. You can also tackle testing walks up Bluff Knoll, Mt Trio, Mt Toolbrunup, Mt Hassell, Talyuberlup Peak and Mt Magog.
Bouddi Coastal Walk
Bouddi Coastal Walk | © Brian Giesen / Flickr
This long but gentle 8km walk follows the windswept coastline of the Central Coast north of Sydney, twisting through shady rainforest, craggy clifftops, and secluded beaches. The Bouddi Coastal Walk connects the town of Killcare with Macmasters Beach, the perfect place to pop in for a dip after you’ve conquered the hike.
Mount Oberon Summit Walk
The view from the summit of Mount Oberon | © Laurie Nevay / Flickr
Wilsons Promontory National Park is renowned for its craggy granite mountains, rich diversity of wildlife, and great walking terrain—and the best bush walk of the bunch is the one to the summit of Mount Oberon. The reward at the top of this 3.4km track is stunning panoramic views over the coast and offshore islands—set your alarm early to watch the sun rise over the southernmost point on the Australian mainland.