Australia is filled with some incredible natural sights and one of the best ways to see them is to travel on foot. There are a number of scenic, challenging and rewarding trails around the country that are well worth the effort, even if you’re not an avid tramper.
Before you plan to tackle some of the more famous multi-day tracks, this is a good place to start especially for those short on time. See our top picks for the best one-day hikes around Australia below and prepare to be amazed, exhausted and proud of yourself after you’ve conquered these popular trails.
7. Mount Warning, New South Wales
Duration: 5 hours
Nestled in the Mount Warning Rainforest Park lies a popular climbing track for early rises chasing the sun. Located between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay, Mount Warning provides impressive views of the surrounding region, with views stretching out to the golden beaches of the Australian east coast on a good day.
Sunrise is arguably one of the best times to climb to the top of Mount Warning, making you the first people in Australia to catch the sunrise. Stretching 8.8 kilometres the climb takes around 5 hours to complete and is an adventure you won’t regret. The summit track traverses thick vegetation and uneven rock surfaces before reaching the peak, and has a dramatic temperature drop as you ascend out of the rainforest.
The top of the mountain is an ideal picnic spot, so if you’re willing to carry up all of the food and drink, you can set yourself up to enjoy a bite to eat as the sun rises high in the sky. The ownly facilities available on the track are toilets at the beginning of the track, all food and drink should be brought with you.
If you’re looking to maximise your time on Mt Warning, you can embark on a guided overnight tour. The tour will see you enjoying a barbecue dinner and bonfire with the choice of camping in tents or in some of the cabins (subject to availability). The next morning you’ll wake up early to make your way up the mountain to experience the beautiful sights. The tour includes transfers from Byron Bay, all meals (dinner and breakfast), and camping equipment.
6. Bluff Knoll, Western Australia
Duration: 1-3 hours
Bluff Knoll is the third highest peak in WA and as a result is one of the most poplular walking trails in the state. Located in Stirling Range National Park, the 6 kilometre grade 4 trail offers some of the most spectacular and impressive vantage points from which to admire the beauty of the surrounding region.
Home to a selection of wildflowers and wildlife, you’ll have the chance to spot various different bird species and reptiles along the trail. If your climb coincides with good weather you’ll be treated to ocean views from the 360 degree vantage point at the peak.
The peak sits 1,099 metres above sea level and in the cooler months can be a challenging climb without the appropriate gear. Climbers are urged to be prepared for everything and carry an ample amount of water. The climb is suitable for hikers with an average level of fitness, in saying that, there are a few seating areas located along the track if you need a rest before reaching the top.
* Park entry fees apply
5. Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk, New South Wales
Duration: 6-8 hours
From around November to May Mount Kosciuszko is a dream destination for hiking enthusiasts. A popular destination for adventurers all year round, when it’s not filled with keen skiiers and snowboarders, Kosciuszko National Park is dotted with walkers. The grade 3 return trail leads you to various iconic and historic destinations, including the Snowy River, Seaman’s Hut (built in 1929), and Rawson Pass.
Providing hikers with some impressive photo opportunities, you’ll come away with a camera full of scenic snaps featuring the rock landscape, weathered snow gums, and colourful wildflowers.
Stretching 18.6 kilometres and taking up to 8 hours to complete, this track isn’t for the faint hearted. Hikers are advised to take a topographical map, compass and GPS to avoid getting lost on the track. On top of that, the weather in the region can be unpredictable and extreme at times so it’s important hikers moniter the weather before and during the hike and are well prepared for a number of conditions.
* Park entry fees apply
4. Dove Lake Circuit, Tasmania
Distance: 5.7km one way
Duration: 2 hours
One of thte premier walking tracks in Tasmania, the Dove Lake Circuit at the base of Cradle Mountain is a must-do adventure that all ages will enjoy. As it is relatively short and quick, the track is often populated with adventure-loving families enjoying the beautiful views. A grade 2 trail, the majority of the track is quite flat and boardwalked, with only one short, moderate hill.
The trail follows the boardwalk around the lake and takes you beneath the towering Cradle Mountain. Passing a number of scenic highlights including Glacier Rock, Ballroom Forest, and the regularly photographed Boatshed.
This trail is a popular self-guided walk, however if you’re looking to learn about the region as you explore it you can embark on a guided tour. With the help of a local, experienced guide you’ll be taken around Dove Lake while learning about the history of the region and more.
* Park entry fees apply
3. Kings Canyon Rim Walk, Northern Territory
Distance: 6 kilometres
Duration: 3-4 hours
A popular track in the iconic Northern Territory, the Rim Walk around Kings Canyon is located just an hour north of Uluru. Home to two different trails of different intensity, you can choose the shorter and more comfortable 2 kilometre Kings Creek Walk on the creek bed or the more challenging and rewarding Rim Walk that stretches for 6 kilometres. The trails start and finish at the carpark and don’t require a map to traverse.
The Rim Walk travels on the edge of Kings Canyon along the sandstone cliffs with a 150 metre drop down. Nature lovers will be well catered for on the trail as it passes 400 year old cycads and climbs down to the Garden of Eden, a fresh-water hole bringing life to the canyon.
Even though this is a relatively short trail, hikers are advised to take ample water and some food to last you the way. The heat in the Northern Territory is at times unbearable, especially in summer, so if you’re looking to complete the track in a more comfortable climate it’s advised you do so in the cooler months.
The option also exists for visitors to join a guided tour of the canyon from Uluru. The tour includes a cooked breakfast, a guided tour to the rim of the canyon, and transport in an air-conditioned coach to and from Ayers Rock Resort.
2. Kata Tjuta, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
Distance: 7.4 kilometres
Duration: 4 hours
Another trail nestled in the Top End, Kata Tjuta is a popular attraction for local and international tourists looking to explore some of the country’s most iconic sights. Located next to the world-famous Ayers Rock (Uluru), Kata Tjuta offers a number different trails to choose from; the Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing Area, the Walpa Gorge Walk, and the Valley of the Winds Walks which include the Karu Lookout, Karingana Lookout, and Full Circuit Walk.
If you combine all three of the Valley of the Winds tracks together you’ll enjoy a scenic 4 hour journey stretching 7.4 kilometres travelling along creek beds, over loose rock, and to scenic lookouts. If you’re looking to explore the trails on your own, Kata Tjuta is a sight to be seen at sunrise and sunset, so it’s advised you plan your visit around those times.
However, if you’re looking to learn a few things about this historic location, it’s best to embark on a guided tour through the region. The local and experienced guides will tell you about Kata Tjuta and the National Park’s history, making your visit more memorable and enjoyable.
* Park entry fees apply
1. Wineglass Bay Circuit, Tasmania
Distance: 12 kilometres
Duration: 4-5 hours
Topping the list of the best single-day hikes in Australia is Tasmania’s breathtakingly beatufiul Wineglass Bay Circuit in Freycinet National Park. The Wineglass Bay & Hazards Beach Circuit is a popular grade 4 hiking trail offering climbers the chance to take in the beauty of the National park from various vantage points. One of the most popular and iconic points is the Wineglas Bay lookout, an additional side trip providing sweeping views of the Bay and Mount Freycinet in one great frame.
After the uphill climb to the lookout, the trail descends down to Wineglass with a number of steep sections. Hikers are advised to take care when climbing up and down the track, especially in the warmer months when the tracks are often populated with groups of tourists.
Once you’ve caught a glimpse of the beautiful bay you won’t want to leave, which is why bringing some food for a picnic in the bay is always a great idea. If the weather is treating you right, you can also jump in for a refreshing dip before returning back to the trail. It’s important to note that the beaches are unpatrolled and the track can get steep at times so hikers are urged to take care in the water and track, especially if travelling with children or hiking with health issues.
If you’re not up for completing the whole track or aren’t confident enough to tackle the trail yourself, you can join a guided tour departing from Hobart. The tour will take you to Freycinet National Park, up to Wineglass Bay lookout and back down. The short 1.3 kilometre walk will take up to 1.5 hours to complete and is considered one of the Great Short Walks of Tasmania. This is the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful views of the bay without the added effort of completing the whole track.
The natural beauty of the bay is a major drawing card for visitors to the region, making it easy to see why this trail is a favourite for visitors to Tasmania and here in the Experience Oz office.
* Park entry fees apply
Check out all avilable hiking tours around Australia and New Zealand online and start booking and training for your next big outdoor adventure.