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10 Iconic Australian Hikes You Can Reach From Our Parks

25 Aug 2021

With so much amazing nature and incredible wildlife on our doorstep, isn’t it time you filled a backpack and set out on an adventure?

Enjoy this shortlist of some of the most famous hiking trails in Australia, all of them are within 'walking' distance of our parks.

Fresh air and the great outdoors are waiting!

The Heysen Trail - SA

Heysen Trail   SA  082421 ja2From Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu to Parachilna in the Flinders Ranges, the Heysen is a truly epic adventure. Credit: SATC/Peter Fisher

At 1200km long in total, only very few have tackled the full length of the Heysen Trail. However, when broken up, there are about 60 different walks you can achieve in one or several days.

There’s a calendar of events run by a group called Friends of the Heysen Trail, which will link you up with like-minded walkers and give you all the information you need to explore this famous hike!

When: The trail is officially closed during Fire Danger Season (November to April) but reopens from May to October.

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Goolwa 

Discovery Parks - Hahndorf Resort

Larapinta Trail - NT

Ormiston Gorge   Tourism NTLarapinta is one of the most spectacular bushwalking and trekking experiences in Australia. Credit: NT Tourism

Accessible via Alice Springs and the Red Centre Way, all 223km's of this epic trail offers views of the West MacDonnell Ranges and incorporate iconic Australian destinations including Ormiston Gorge, Standley Chasm and Ellery Creek to name a few.

Mt. Sonder is the highest point of the trail at 1379m but there are multiple peaks that will leave you in awe. Known as one of the best arid zone walks in the world, it’s recommended that you take 16-20 days if you’re looking to finish it in one go!

Of course you don’t have to do and the Larapinta Trail site offers a comprehensive overview of one or multi-day treks you can prepare for.

When: No one’s going to stop you from hiking these trails at any time of the year, but the Larapinta is at its most forgiving between April and September.

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Glen Helen

Overland Track - TAS

Overland Track   TAS   082421 jaThere's no better way to experience frontier Tasmanian wilderness than this 80km alpine walk. Credit: Sarajayne Lada

Threading a path through glacier-carved landscapes, soaring peaks and plunging gorges, even casual bushwalkers in Australia (and around the world) have the Overland Track on their bucket list of walks. Including views from Cradle Mountain and Mount Ossa, the trail has a difficulty rating of hard, so it’s not one you can do without a decent amount of planning. 

Because of its popularity there’s a raft of information available online, including a great series of podcasts at the end of this Australian Geographic piece, but it also means you need to obtain a permit before you set off.

When: Permits are required from November to May and the walk must be completed from north to south during this time. Wildflowers are in full bloom during summer.

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Cradle Mountain

Discovery Parks - Mornington Hobart

Cape to Cape Track - WA

This is an exhilarating coastal trail that joins the lighthouses of Cape Leeuwin in Augusta to Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough in the southwest corner of Western Australia. 

Featuring spectacular cliff views, fascinating geology and forest scenery, its 135km length traverses the length of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and overlooks the adjoining Ngari Capes Marine Park.

While the trail mostly hugs the coastline, the diversity of landscape makes this a very popular walk that’s challenging but achievable for most. North to South is considered an easier way to take it on and the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track is a very useful resource. 

When: Best taken on from March to May, September to November.

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Bunbury Foreshore

Discovery Parks - Bunbury Village 

K’gari Fraser Island Great Walk - QLD

Fraser Island   TEQ   082421 ja

Easily accessible by ferry, Fraser Island is one of only a few places in Australia listed as a World Heritage site. Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Taking advantage of the spectacular beach and rainforest reserves of Fraser Island, this 90km walk takes in wooded forests, golden sand dunes and mesmerising blue lakes. It’s recommended that you take 8-9 days to complete the whole trail, but there are several shorter ones that branch off. Lake McKenzie is well worth an extended stay.

When: Best taken on in the cooler months from April - September

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Hervey Bay

The Australian Alps - ACT/NSW/VIC

Kosciuszko NP   NSW   082421 jaWeaving an elevated trail through the high country of three different states, this 650km trail can take weeks to complete. Credit: Destination NSW

In any respectable argument about Australia’s best long-distance walking track, the Australian Alps should get a mention. 

Taking hikers of all levels on a journey through alpine meadows, windswept plains and snow gum forests, it's best to be prepared for some drops in temperature. Unmissable highlights include Kosciuszko National Park and the Baw Baw Plateau, but no matter where you start, mountain scenery and a true escape from city life awaits.

When: Best taken on during the warmer months, things can get very remote quickly, so make sure your provisions are topped up!

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Bright

Great Ocean Walk - VIC

Great Ocean RoadThere’s no more famous stretch of Australian coastline than the Great Ocean Road near Victoria’s Great Otway National Park. Credit: Visit Victoria

This 110km walk shadows the very popular drive and takes you off the beaten path while also being inclusive of some of its most iconic features.

Starting at Apollo Bay, the trail passes through the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks. Finishing at the world-famous Twelve Apostles, every day offers a new perspective as the light reflects off these incredible limestone structures.  

When: You can do this walk all year round but you might enjoy it more outside of peak tourist season.

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Warnambool 

Discovery Parks - Geelong

Jatbula Trail - NT

Katherine Gorge   NT Tourism  Backyard Bandits   082421 jaJatbula arguably offers the most on this list in terms of the nature and cultural experience it delivers. Credit: NT Tourism / Backyard Bandits

Winding its way through the awe-inspiring Nitmiluk National Park, this trail follows an ancient dreaming track used by the Jawoyn Aboriginal people. 

Inclusive of the incredible Katherine Gorge, where you can swim and explore for days, this alone should have you making a beeline to this 62km trail. Finishing up at the picturesque Edith Falls, Jatbula is rated medium to difficult for bushwalkers of some experience.

When: All year round is ok, but better to avoid the hottest part of the dry season. Fees and permits also apply here and flights are available from Darwin to Katherine airport.

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Darwin

Three Capes Track - TAS

Three Capes   TAS   Tourism Tasmania 082621 jaTaking in Cape Pillar, Cape Raoul and Cape Hauy on Tasmania’s southwest coast, this hike is a 3-4 day adventure for walkers of all levels. Credit: Tourism Tasmania 

The remoteness of this raw part of the world becomes apparent when you realise there’s nothing between you and Antarctica save for the breaking of waves. Expect to see towering dolerite spires, stark sea cliffs and bright blue ocean water - another amazing Tasmanian adventure.

When: There’s no 7-Eleven here so best to avoid the hotter months, but the trail is accessible all year round. Because of its popularity, bookings are also essential.

Where to Book: 

Discovery Parks - Mornington Hobart

Discovery Parks - Hobart

Thorsborne Trail - QLD

Hinchinbrook Island   TEQ   082421 jaHinchinbrook Island features a diverse range of terrains, cloud-covered mountains and a varied vegetation. Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

This is a 32km tropical trail in Far North Queensland that traverses the rugged and largely uninhabited Hinchinbrook Island. Largely unmarked in parts and rated as difficult by seasoned hikers, this is a challenge known as one of Queensland’s best multi-day walks.

Tropical rainforest abound as do coastal mangroves, secluded bays and creeks to cool off in - a gem that's worth discovering.

When: April to September avoids the hottest part of the year. Permits are also required.

Where to Book:

Discovery Parks - Townsville

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