Hiking in Australia: The 5 Best Trails


Australia's well-endowed landscape is filled with remarkable cliffs, slopes, and plateaus that are perfect for an adventurous escape. Its breath-taking scenery offers plenty of hiking trails that will satisfy any nature-loving enthusiast. Challenging terrains offer physical and mental endurance, but there are moderate walks that present lovely views of the picturesque topography — from the red-coloured outback to an ocean-blue backdrop. Meander along the beaches, go deep inside the forests or raise the stakes by climbing the cliffs. Whatever path you choose, hiking in Australia is a rewarding experience in mind, body, and heart.

Below are some of the best walks in Australia, with hiking grades ranging from easy to difficult to match your preference. Lace up your shoes and start on a trek across off-beaten paths; make sure to set aside a few days to enjoy the solemn tranquillity of just the sky and nature embracing you on your journey.

1. Great Ocean Walk, Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles in Great Ocean Road at Sunset
The Twelve Apostles at sunset.

Remote beaches, quaint fishermen towns, and coastal cliffs parade your view in this charming trail perched within the Great Ocean Walk. The Great Ocean Road is not just the perfect place to visit while on a road trip in Australia, it is also an ideal place for hiking. On the path of the Great Ocean Road, nature comes alive through the many flora and fauna native to the land — wallabies, koalas, fur seals, and diverse species of birds. On this walk, you'll have the chance to explore some of the attractions on the Great Ocean Road such as the Port Campbell National Park before you land into the highlight, the Twelve Apostles, a remarkable stone stack rising from Apollo Bay.

  • Location: Great Ocean Walk, Victoria   
  • Length of the trail: 55 km   
  • Best season: September to May   
  • Start-end location: Melbourne, Victoria to Apollo Bay   
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate   
  • Hike duration: Four days

Good to know

  • Ascent to the cliffs are steep, so make sure you carry good shoes
  • Pack a waterproof jacket, especially when taking walks by the beach


  • The trail from Castle Cove offers picturesque views of sheer cliffs, azure blue ocean, and the bright green forests
  • Remote views of the Southern Ocean will surely tickle your curiosity as you reach the Shipwreck Coast


  • Elevation changes from sea level to almost 300 metres by the trail. Stone stairs are available on many steep areas to make hiking easier.
  • Watch out for the climate at Wreck Beach, which can be strong and gusty at times

2. Scenic Rim

30,000 hectares of lush forests and conserves stretch throughout the Scenic Rim Region, making it a perfect escape for those in love with Australia's rich vegetation. The green landscape soothes the eyes as you walk through escarpments, volcanic plateaus, and mountain ridges. Stories of indigenous people can be traced in this living landscape; carry these tales of inspiration as you go about your trip.

  • Location: Main Range National Park, Queensland
  • Length of the trail: 33 km
  • Best season: October to May
  • Start-end location: Brisbane or Cunningham’s Gap to Northern Lookout
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate
  • Hike duration: Four days

Good to know

  • Despite the relatively pleasant walk, make sure to watch out for dangerous precipitous edges. Some tracks are slippery.


  • Walk to Mount Mitchell which then leads you to 360 views of the Scenic Rim
  • Pass through the Millar Vale and Oaky Creeks, which were the original routes across the Great Dividing Range from the inland Australia back to the coast


  • The most challenging walk is the ridgeline before the finale: a grand ascent up the Cedar Mountain, but the views are priceless

3. Larapinta Trek

View of landscape in the Larapinta Trail
Larapinta Trail has landscapes ranging from isolated cliffs, flood plains and rocky outbacks.

A stunning trail that swivels through isolated cliffs, flood plains, and rocky outbacks, Larapinta Trek presents a beautiful opportunity for your walking holidays in Australia. The diverse terrain rewards you with dramatic views unique to the land, giving you picture perfect opportunities to capture on camera.

  • Location: West MacDonnell Ranges   
  • Length of the trail: 72 km
  • Best season: June to November
  • Start-end location: Alice Springs to Ormiston Pound Walk
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate
  • Hike duration: Six days

Good to know

  • There will be areas where water is not available, even throughout the day
  • During summer months, temperatures rise higher than 45°C
  • You can find specially-designed composting toilets to use within the trail


  • Standley Chasm allows you to enjoy the spectacular view before you head out into the wilderness camp
  • The vibrant Aboriginal quarry at Ochre Pits is nothing less than stunning to behold
  • Welcome the gorgeous sunrise at Mount Sonder


  • Toughen up; you will be passing through remote ridges and canyons through this desert walk

4. Arkaba Walk

Wander into the Flinders Ranges in the outback of South Australia and discover Arkaba Walk, where you'll be journeying upon a 600-million-year-old geological gem that provides a beautiful backdrop throughout the hike. Step onto craggy ridge lines, rolling hills and dry creeks as you immerse yourself in a 60,000 acre private wildlife filled with rich narratives. You'll be joined by red kangaroos, emus and other native species as guides lead you through the secrets of the bush.

  • Location: Arkaba Conservancy, South Australia
  • Length of the trail: 45 km
  • Best season: March to October
  • Start-end location: Wilpena Pound to Arkaba Homestead
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Hike duration: Four days

Good to know   

  • The location has a semi-arid climate, so make sure you are dressed for the weather


  • Enjoy the breath-taking views of the Wilpena Pound before descending to the Black Gap
  • Get the chance to experience "star beds" where you lie out under the night skies
  • Take a breather as you arrive at Arkaba's historical woolshed


  • You will be walking through creeks to reach the foothills of the Elder Range
  • The varying terrain in Mallee will test your endurance before you reach the Red Range  

5. Bay of Fires

Hikers enjoy the view at Bay of Fire
The idyllic trail of Bay of Fires located in Tasmania, offers dramatic view of coves and crystal blue waters.

Perhaps one of best hikes in Australia, Bay of Fires is a magnificent stretch between the coast of Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point. This idyllic trail, one of the top things to do in Tasmania, offers dramatic views of coves and crystal blue waters wrapped in white-sand beaches. As you move along, you'll be immersed into one of the area’s richest animal conserves before you finally reach the grand finale: a view of the red-lichen covered rocks, waiting to be photographed.

  • Location: Mt. William National Park, Tasmania
  • Length of the trail: 33 km
  • Best season: October to May
  • Start-end location: Launceston to Bay of Fires Coastline
  • Hike difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Hike duration: Three days 

Good to know

  • St. Helens, the game fishing capital of Tasmania, is about 20 km away from the site. Head towards the town for refreshments
  • During winter, the sand on the beach produces squeaky sounds due to its silica content


  • Catch a glimpse of the Furneaux Group of Bass Strait Islands
  • After a trip to the coves, take a break at the magnificent Eddystone Point Lighthouse
  • With beaches surrounding you, don't miss the chance to bird-watch, kayak or snorkel in the marine nursery


  • The ridgelines of the sand-dunes can be tricky to navigate. Have patience when walking on kilometres of just beach sand!

Comprised of charming coastal plains, stunning cliffs and historical outback, hiking in Australia is nothing less than magical. And, being blessed with a diverse range of flora and fauna, you can always find something to discover anew. Explore the continent one trek at a time, and be in awe of its spectacular views, from the tip of the mountains to the low of the sea.

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  • Brett Eldershaw
    Brett Eldershaw
    Travel Expert in Australia
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    Cameron Kangaroo
    Travel Expert in Australia
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    Kevin Mattaboni
    Travel Expert in Australia
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