Australia’s vast terrain offers a variety of different hiking trails, from the dusty red centre, green plantations, to isolated coastline. Explore the most northern tip of Australia to the southern regions of Tasmania.
Get up close to the beautiful landscape that’s on offer, with the best day hikes in Australia.
Your options are endless, with these trails suited for all hiking levels. And if you have a few days, why not extend the trip to a multi-day hike.
Pack the hiking bag, dust of the hiking shoes and go out into the great unknown, follow in the ancestors’ footsteps with these best hikes in Australia.
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Table of Contents
What to pack in your backpack for a hike?
At this point, you really don’t want to get off onto the wrong foot by going ill-equipped. It’s not only your health and safety that needs to be considered, but consideration needs to be taken into account for other travellers hiking with you or on the trail.
So, to ensure you have the essentials packed in your backpack for your hike, you should always have the following:
- A good sturdy back pack. You can check out our post on the best backpacks to purchase.
- Plenty of water to maintain hydration
- Plasters in various sizes
- Map and compass
- A good pair of hiking shoes
- Sun protection
- Spare clothing
- First aid kit
These are just a few of the essentials. You can get a full list of the essential things to pack for a hike here.
Best day hikes in Australia
The ancestral land of Australia has been walked on for many centuries by the first inhabitants of the country. They would have lived off the land, foraging and hunting for food. You could walk in their footsteps, exploring the landscape that surrounds you.
As you explore the wonders of the city and the serene beaches, you should also include at least one of these great walks of Australia.
Hikes in New South Wales
These best hikes in New South Wales are perfect for a day trip from Sydney. If you have a few additional days, spend more time in the mountains by extending the length and duration.
Grand Canyon Track in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains National Park west of Sydney is a medley of deep valleys, towering sandstone cliffs, epic waterfalls and spectacular walking trails.
Perhaps the most iconic hike in the Blue Mountains is the 6.3-kilometer Grand Canyon loop track.
Descending into the ancient rainforest on the floor of the Grand Canyon is like visiting Australia at the time of the dinosaurs. The rainforest here is the remnant of Gondwana vegetation that dominated Australia 100 million years ago.
The Grand Canyon trail starts with jaw-dropping views of Grose Valley from Evans Lookout and immediately launches into a steep descent. You reach the floor of the canyon quite suddenly.
The trail passes through a narrowing chasm, the temperature drops and you get a feeling that you are entering an ancient realm that has been protected by the walls of the canyon for eons.
The walls of the canyon are so high that you feel completely cut off from the rest of the world. Everything about this striking scenery feels ancient.
The trail winds between the towering sandstone walls, alongside Greaves creek, past tiny waterfalls, moss-covered boulders, fallen tree trunks and picturesque gullies.
No matter how many times you have walked this trail, the scenery is never the same and there are always new surprises to discover.
The second half of the trail travels along the rock ledge above the canyon floor with occasional glimpses of Greaves Creek below.
It takes you behind a small waterfall, under massive rock overhangs and through a pitch-black rockfall tunnel.
The last section of the hike is the most challenging as the trail starts to climb back up to the top of the escarpment eventually emerging at Neates Glen car park, 1.4 kilometres from Evans Lookout car park.
Thankfully, the trail between the car parks is almost completely flat.
You can also complete Grand Canyon loop track in anti-clockwise direction – starting at Neates Glen and finishing at Evans Lookout, if you are not intimidated by an even steeper climb out of the canyon.
However, make sure to check NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website for any alerts and restrictions – in January 2021, foot traffic was temporarily restricted to one-way flow to relieve overcrowding and allow for social distancing.
Contributed by Margarita / The Wildlife Diaries
Hikes in Queensland
The warmer climates year-round, makes Queensland the ideal location to plan a day hike.
If you have some additional time, or you’re a hard core hiker, then we have included a few additional best multi day hikes in Australia.
Looking for the best multi day hikes in Australia? Then Carnarvon Gorge National Park is one place you shouldn’t miss. There is a diverse amount of sites to explore, and it’s easy to choose your walking limit, per day.
The National Park is secluded, so there are no public transport options, and you will need to drive your own vehicle. It’s 7 hours away from Brisbane, the closest capital city, and you could choose to fly to Roma from there. However, you will still require car hire and drive another 3 hours to Carnarvon Gorge.
There are a few options to stay, and lucky enough, the accommodation is located in the National Park. This varies between camping off-grid, to powered sites and simple cabin accommodation.
Although isolated, this Gorge can get busy and booked out, so there are alternative options an hour away in the small town of Rolleston.
Staying a few days to a week means that you can choose a different hiking area each day.
The main walking track is 19 Kilometres return to “The Big Bend”, however, the terrain is easy to moderate and a small amount of elevation. You will cross over the Gorge numerous times, see popular sites that via off the main track, and allow you to explore different areas each day.
Must do areas on the Main track would include the Amphitheatre, the Moss Garden, the Art Gallery, Wards Canyon, the Cathedral, and Boowinda Bluff. Apart from that, you will have other hiking areas like Warrumbah Bluff and Mickey Creek.
These simulate a slot canyon, or you can choose to brave the cold by swimming in the Rock Pools.
Due to the Australian Heat and water levels affecting creek crossings, you will find the best time to visit is during the wintertime. Anything from April to September would be a great time to plan your journey. Please note that the mornings can be cool, and wearing layers is advisable.
Contributed by Chris Fry / The Aquarius Traveller
One of Queensland’s, and indeed, Australia’s premiere coastal hikes is the multi-day bushwalking experience along the Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island.
About 150 kilometers km north of Townsville, in Queensland’s Tropical North, Hinchinbrook island lies just a few kilometers off shore. Along its eastern coastline, the Thorseborne Trail is a 32 kilometer coastal hike and bucket list hiking experience.
Hikers here need to be fully self sufficient on the completely uninhabited island. Remote wilderness campsites can be found along the trail as can several permanent creeks where fresh water is available.
Hinchinbrook has been designated national park with no development, save for a couple of long drop toilets at the campsites along the trail.
Only 40 people are permitted on the island at any given time, assuring a true wilderness experience.
Without any services or access to the island, at least some bushwalking or hiking experience is recommended as is a good level of fitness and some basic first aid training.
The island can only be reached by private charter, and the journey to the island in feels very much like a scene from Jurassic Park.
That feeling is justified as the island is renowned for being home to a large salt-water crocodile population. Becoming familiar with crocodile safety and knowing how and when to cross the tidal creeks that cross the trail is imperative when walking in the habitat of these apex predators.
Walkers are generally dropped off at the northern end of the trail and walk north to south along the island before being picked up again by private charter at the southern end of the island.
The trail can be completed in three days and two nights but many people choose to extend the walk over three or even four nights trip to maximize their time on the island and reduce the daily walking distances.
While the trail mostly follows the coastline walkers will experience an incredible variety of environments, from tidal swamps, to freshwater falls, rainforests to eucalypt forests, white sandy beaches and high up into the rugged hills of the island.
One of our favorite hikes, the Thorseborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island is undoubtedly one of Australia’s best and a worthy addition to any walker’s bucket list!
Contributed by Eddie and Kelli / The Vanabond Tales
Twin Falls Circuit
The Twin Falls Circuit is a beautiful hiking trail found in Springbrook National Park, Australia. It is located no more than a 1.5-hour drive southeast of Brisbane’s CBD, or about 45 minutes southwest of the Gold Coast. These falls are one of the many beautiful waters near Brisbane and offer several stunning lookouts for great views of the area.
The Twin Falls is situated in a Gondwana Rainforest and is made up of two main waterfalls nestled amongst palm trees and eucalyptus forest. It is about 5 km in length and has some steep areas.
You will come across some steps and bridge crossings, and do make sure to keep an eye out for cliff edges!
At the bottom, you will be treated to a breathtaking view of the falls cascading into a huge pool below. It is possible to go for a refreshing swim in the pool after your hike to cool down before heading back.
You can start the hike from the Tallanbana picnic area or the Canyon lookout. The Twin Falls Circuit is an easy hike suitable for all levels and takes you up and around the back of the falls.
Make sure to bring snacks and lots of water with you as it’s always hot out in this part of Australia!
Also, keep in mind that if hiking during the dry season, the waterfall might lose one of its ‘twin’ and will be more of a trickle.
Contributed by Loredana / Destguides
Purling Brook Falls
There are many amazing hikes throughout the country, and Springbrook National Park, located in the Gold Coast Hinterland, is one of the best treks in Australia!
The Purling Brook Falls circuit walk is located in the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest within Springbrook National Park.
The circuit is 4km long and roughly takes around two hours to complete, including stopping off at the falls for photos and a swim. You will need to have a good fitness level for this hike because there are many stairs and steep slopes.
The hike begins at the picnic area and soon takes you along the top of the gorge, where you get a spectacular view of the falls from above.
Quickly after, you start making your descent into the valley, which will take you around 45 minutes to an hour to reach the falls.
The terrain that leads you to the falls can be muddy and slippery (especially after it has rained), so be sure to wear shoes with good grip.
Along the way, you will have to climb down lots of stairs, dodge hanging vines and climb over big tree roots!
You will hear the falls as you start to get close, and right before you get there, there will be a little viewing platform where you can see the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.
Here, you can continue and walk another kilometre to the other pools at the very bottom of the gorge, or, as soon as you climb down the stairs from the viewing platform, make a sharp right, and you will see the stairs that lead you to the waterfall.
We didn’t see the stairs on the right, and we continued walking to the other pools and were so confused that there was no waterfall!
When you climb down the stairs to the waterfall, you will be in absolute awe! You can take a deep breath because you’ve finally reached the bottom of the 100m waterfall, where people are swimming and taking photos!
You can find a place on a rock to admire the view, or you can hop into the water (be aware it’s very brown and very cold). If you plan to eat while you’re there, be sure to take your rubbish with you as there are no bins.
After you’ve spent some time admiring the view, you can head across the suspension bridge to the left of the falls, which will take you back up along the side of the waterfall, where you will make your 45-minute ascent back to where you started.
Contributed by Jasmine / Kiwi Talks Travel
Noosa National Park Coastal Trail
Noosa Heads is known for its fabulous restaurants, boutique shopping, and beautiful beachfront holiday accommodation. But it also boasts one of the most stunning hikes in Australia!
The Noosa National Park Coastal Trail has been a long-time favourite trail amongst locals, holiday-makers and serious hikers a-like.
Beginning at Noosa Main Beach, the trail follows a leisurely boardwalk with stunning views that winds along the road past Little Cove Beach towards Noosa National Park.
The beginning of the trail is usually teeming with walkers of all ages and levels of fitness, but the further you go, the thinner the crowds become.
As you head up the hill towards Boiling Pot Lookout, the terrain becomes a little steeper as it winds up the rocky headlands and down to the beaches. If there’s a good swell, you’ll see a number of surfers running up the track with surfboard under arm to jump off the rocks at Tea Tree Bay.
Continue around the headland past the beautiful rocky beaches of Granite Bay and the trail changes from a wide cement path to a narrow trail made of dirt and rock.
There’s a little Insta-famous rocky tidal pool called the Fairy Pools. Only serious hikers, trail runners and hardcore surfers continue past this point.
The coastal walk continues past a few more stunning lookouts with views out to the Pacific Ocean – Hell’s Gates, Alexandra Bay (affectionally known by locals as A-Bay), and Devil’s Kitchen – before eventually ending up at Sunshine Beach.
The total distance is 10.8 km return, however you can turn back at whatever point suits, or catch a taxi back to Noosa Heads from Sunshine Beach. Or for a change in scenery, why not return via the bushy Tanglewood track.
There are a number of other trails in Noosa National Park, including the Noosa Hill track or Palm Grove walk, most of which are suited to beginner or intermediate hikers.
After tackling the hiking trails, why not stay a few days and enjoy the sun, surf, sand, shopping, or one of the other amazing attractions that Noosa Heads has to offer.
There are plenty of upmarket Airbnbs, holiday accommodation to suit all budgets, and camping options around Noosa Heads.
Contributed by Amanda / Fly Stay Luxe
Hikes in Western Australia
You’ll find more secluded spots in the west, with these best hikes in Western Australia.
Rottnest Island is located just a few kilometres off the coast of Perth in Western Australia.
It attracts millions of tourists every year who come here for the incredible scenery, untouched nature and of course the cute quokkas. These little marsupials populated the island and are popular photo subjects.
There are (almost) no cars on Rottnest Island and the main way of getting around is either on foot or by bike.
The island has some beautiful hiking trails for all experience levels. The Gabbi Karniny Bidi and the Ngank Yira Bidi are two of the most popular hikes on the island. Both take around 3 to 4 hours and are fairly easy to manage.
Keep in mind that most of Rottnest Island has little shade so during the Australian summer months you might want to opt for a shorter hike instead. Always take plenty of water.
Although Rottnest Island have multiple water refill stations you won’t always be close to one.
Keep an eye out for the friendly quokkas while you hike and make a stop at some of the incredible beaches on the island like The Basin, Little Salmon Bay and much more.
Some hikes will also take you to the island’s salt lakes which is an incredible experience. You won’t find many opportunities for lunch along the way so it’s highly advisable to take a picnic with you. Just don’t feed any of the wildlife and take all your trash with you when you leave.
Contributed by Victoria / Guide Your Travel
Hikes in Tasmania
This small island off the coast of Australia offers some of the most beautiful off the beaten path hikes in Tasmania.
Three Falls Circuit – Mount Field National Park
Tasmania has some beautiful wilderness to explore and you don’t necessarily have to do a multi-day hike to experience it.
Mount Field is Tasmania’s oldest national park and one of its most accessible. The 6km, 2.5 hour Three Falls Circuit is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the rainforests.
Mount Field National park is about 90 minutes from Hobart along the Derwent Valley. If you are based in Hobart, visiting Mount Field is a great day trip.
If you want to stay a bit closer to the park, have a look at New Norfolk. The town is dotted with lovely Bed and Breakfasts, many with river views.
The Three Falls Circuit starts near the park’s Visitor Centre which is where you can buy your park pass. The first feature of the trail is Russell Falls. This is a popular section of the track that attracts a lot of visitors – and it’s no wonder.
The tiered falls are stunning, and access is easy. Beyond Russell Falls the walk gets much quieter as you venture further into the forest.
The circuit features two more waterfalls – Horseshoe and Lady Baron – but it’s the forest we enjoyed most on this walk.
For our walk in August, it was cool and damp and the forest smelt wonderful. From brightly coloured lichens to giant tree ferns, the plant life was spectacular. Across every stone bridge and around every corner there was something new to take in.
Along the walk you can take a small detour along the Tall Trees Track. The path winds its way between towering swamp gums – the world tallest flowering plants.
You’ll strain your neck standing at the base looking up at the canopy!
Being this is a relatively short hike and conditions won’t be too hot, you don’t need to carry many provisions.
You might want to pack wet weather gear, a little water and definitely a camera.
The path is well formed so any comfortable, closed shoes will be fine.
The most challenging part of the walk are several flights of steps. There are a few as you leave Russell Falls and 250 – 300 steps as you near the end of the walk and leave the valley.
The views as you climb all the stairs at the end are great, so you have plenty of excuses to stop and catch your breath.
The walk took us about 3 hours, but we took our time and stopped often to soak up the fresh air and take in the forest.
There are signs along the track encouraging you to do just that – look, listen and smell the forest. It’s great advice, it is a magic place.
Contributed by Natalie & Steve / Curious Campers
Hikes in Victoria
These great day hikes in Victoria are perfect for a day trip, or multiple days out of the big tourist cities of Melbourne.
The Grampians is one of Australia’s most visited National Park. Located within the state of Victoria, the Grampians are a 3.5 hour drive from the city of Melbourne.
The Pinnacle is the most popular hike in the Grampians and leads you to a breath-taking lookout point on a rocky ledge which is “The Pinnacle”. This hike is considered intermediate to hard and is a total of 6km in length and a total of 350 metres of elevation gain.
In terms of terrain, this hike isn’t very technical and does have a few steep and narrow sections which makes it all the more fun.
There isn’t much shade along the trail so ensure you bring enough hydration. Since this is a short 1 – 2 hour hike it’s easily done as a day hike but always bring your hiking essentials.
There are two trailheads for this hike, one from the Sundial parking lot and the other from the Wonderland parking lot.
The trail from the Wonderland parking lot is a little longer and more challenging but it is totally worth it for the views and unique rock formations.
On the way down from the hike, take the trail leading to the Sundial lot as it is somewhat faster.
Once you reach the top, reward yourself with a break and relax. Take in the amazing panoramic views of the Grampians. There are several lookout points, some with railings for safety.
On the way back down, make sure to look out for any wildlife, animals such as echidna’s can be spotted along this trail.
If staying a few days, the town of Hall’s Gap offers several lodging options. For a budget friendly stay, Brambuck Backpackers Hostel is a great location in a quiet area and offers lots of opportunities to spot wildlife.
Contibuted by Rachael from A City Girl Outside
Hikes in Northern Territory
Heading to the red centre or north, then you must do these unforgettable hikes in the Northern Territory.
I have fond memories of hiking and sleeping under the stars near Uluru.
If you’re looking for the best hikes in Australia, then King’s Canyon has to feature on your bucket list. Located in the middle of the Australian outback, the desert views are unlike any other place on Earth.
There are various trails you can do at King’s Canyon, with the most common being a 6km full loop trail. It starts with a very steep hill, aptly named “Heart Attack Hill”, but then evens out after that.
Once you get to the top of the canyon, most of the trail is flat, walking along the canyon edge, admiring the red desert views.
We did the hike at sunrise, so that we could admire the sun rise over the outback, and turn the desert in even more vibrant shades of red.
During the hike you will also come across the “Garden of Eden”, a shaded water hole hidden amongst the rocky canyon slopes.
I did a 3-day Uluru tour and the hike at King’s Canyon was one of the highlights of the trip.
We spent all morning hiking, and returned to our campsite in time for lunch. Kings Canyon is located 323km southwest of Alice Springs, but most travellers will stay in campsites in the area, or at Kings Canyon Resort.
Despite the steep start the hike is rated at an intermediate level, since the rest of the trail is fairly flat.
The stunning desert and canyon views make it well worth the effort, and make it one of the best hikes in Australia.
Contributed by Greta from Greta’s Travels
Valley of the Winds, Kata Tjuta
If you are thinking about going on a holiday in the red centre, visiting Kata Tjuta is a must-do. It’s an excellent stop on a road trip from Darwin or Adelaide to Uluru. You can also easily get there from Alice Springs.
Kata-Tjuta is located only a few minutes away from Uluru and is part of the same national park.
Unlike its neighbour, it’s not one but several dome formations that you will find. This makes it one of the top walks in Australia.
The best hike in Kata Tjuta is the Valley of the Winds.
It’s a 7.4km loop that takes 4 hours to complete. It’s rated as a moderate to difficult walk but it’s safe to say that only the first part of the walk is difficult, the second half is actually fairly easy.
You will be starting at the Valley of the Winds car park and walk up to the Karu lookout. This takes about 1hour. It is quite steep and can be pretty challenging.
Once you get to the lookout, you will discover breath-taking views over the valley. It’s stunning!
Many people choose to make their way back from there but you need to make sure to complete the entire loop to make the best of the experience.
As most people walk back down, the second part of the walk is much quieter and more pleasant.
You will find another lookout (Karingana) at the 5.4km mark and will then make your way back through the valley.
You won’t find many facilities around however, you can stay at the Ayers Rock resort campground. They have different types of accommodation including affordable camping spots.
Contributed by Pauline from BeeLoved City
When is the best time to go hiking in Australia?
Australia is the perfect place to go for hiking whatever the season.
During the cool winters, the north is the ideal spot to get out and explore the wilderness, wildlife and landscape with one of these best day hikes in Australia, before the scorching hot summer sun beams down.
While the southern regions of Australia are ideal to go hiking during the summer months. Escape the hot sun and head into the mountains.
In our experience, the ultimate time to go on a hike in Australia is during the spring and autumn. It’ll be far less crowded and the weather conditions will be perfect to take on any of these best walks in Australia.
If you have a spare day, we would definitely recommend one of these best day hikes in Australia, that’s suited for all hikers’ abilities.
Experiencing the different landscape and terrain in Australia is just as important as the top tourist attractions of the big cities. You’ll be rewarded with stunning scenery that you won’t be disappointed with. Hike the Blue Mountains, only a short distance from Sydney, or wander along a remote coastal path, the options are endless.
I have fond memories of hiking the Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory and sleeping under the stars, definitely an experience I will never forget.
So, don’t forget your backpack, your essentials for a hike and put on those hiking shoes and take an adventure of a lifetime with these epic day hikes in Australia.
Have you conquered a hike in Australia? What was your favourite and why? Is there somewhere you would recommend that hasn’t been mentioned? Let us know, by leaving a comment below.
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