One of the best ways to explore the Australian landscape is by foot. From leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, there is something for all levels of fitness and outdoor experience.
Here’s some of the best walks around the country that will help you experience the diversity and wonder of the Australian outdoors from the beach to the outback.
The Blue Mountains – take a city break to the bush
The World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park as a must-do for many travellers, partly because it is so close to Sydney. You can have a quick visit on a day trip, but to have a more in depth experience, a night at the Blue Mountains YHA is highly recommended.
From your base in Katoomba, you can visit iconic landmarks such as the Three Sisters and Echo point, explore ancient caves and waterfalls, and gaze upon dramatic sandstone cliffs.
Tackle some of the country’s best walks including one hour rambles to challenging hikes lasting several days. Ask the YHA reception staff for their advice on the best walks for you. They’re all passionate experts on the area.
Mount Kosciuszko – climb the highest peak
Many of us dream of climbing the highest mountains, but not many of us actually do it. In Australia, you can because Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak is a mere 2,228m so a successful summit is within your reach.
The walk itself may be relatively undemanding – approximately 6 hours from Thredbo – but what it lacks in technical difficulty, it makes up for in beauty. Crystal clear streams, rock formations, twisted gum trees, alpine tundra and distant valley peaks will greet you on the track. Get a head start by taking the chairlift up Crackenback to the start of the 6.5km track to the summit.
Stay at Thredbo YHA, for the best views and beds in town.
Fraser Island – dazzling dunes and delightful dingoes
Exploring the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island, by foot is the perfect way to absorb the sparkling white shores of freshwater lakes, towering rainforest, and famous sites such as Lake McKenzie and Central Station. But if the thought of a week walking the 90km Fraser Island Great Walk has you sweating already, the track can be broken down into many shorter, more manageable sections.
Keep an eye out for the island’s most famous residents – the dingoes – and take care to read all information and guidelines about being around these wild creatures.
The Great Ocean Walk – an alternative to Australia’s most famous road trip
Most people do the Great Ocean Road by car or tour bus from Melbourne, zooming by this amazing stretch of coastline in a single day. For a slower and more immersive experience, why not try the Great Ocean Walk. It stretches 104km from the idyllic resort town of Apollo Bay along Victoria’s wildly beautiful west coast, to within sight of the magnificent 12 Apostles. Step on and off the trail of natural wonders, shipwrecks, deserted beaches, wildflower heathlands, historic lighthouses and awesome lookouts.
And of course, we’d love you to stay at Apollo Bay Eco YHA. Shorter and easier walks through the Great Otway National Park are also available. Just ask at reception.
Uluru and Kata Tjuta – the Wonders of the Red Centre
There is nowhere else in the world like the Australian outback, and this is epitomised by Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the amazing rock formations that rise from the desert sands. The majesty of Uluru (Ayers Rock) is best seen from the 9.4km Uluru Base Walk. This flat walk that takes approximately three hours and provides you with the opportunity to see the different facades of the Rock and learn more about indigenous culture.
If you’re after bird’s-eye views of the Red Centre, Kata Tjuta’s Valley of the Winds weaves through iconic domes to two lookout points.
Tours depart from Alice Springs YHA.
The Overland Track – a Tasmanian wilderness adventure
Now we’re getting into the more serious hikes – challenging multiday walks for well-prepared adventurers. The iconic Cradle Mountain is a good starting point for any Tasmanian wilderness adventure. Whilst short walks are available, the multi-day Overland Track is a must for more experienced walkers. Cradle Mountain offers a wonderland of ancient rainforest, mossy beach trees, buttongrass, icy tea tree stained lakes, jagged rocks, and awesome views.
Access to the huts along the Overland Track is controlled and must be booked in advance. Do your research and make sure you are prepared for sudden changes in weather.
The good folks at Hobart Central YHA would love to host you before or after your massive adventure.
The Bibbulmun Track – the Wild Wild West
One of the most recognised walks in Australia, the famous Bibbulmun Track, stretches nearly 1,000km between the Perth Hills and Albany. This quintessential Aussie bush experience treats you to outstanding scenery and views, including the south west’s towering karri and tingle forests, coastal heathlands and squeaky white beaches, accessible in manageable chunks for all fitness levels.
If you’re lucky, you will be thrilled by thousands of beautiful wildflowers as you make your way through the south west of Australia.