Love hiking but don’t want to have to haul a heavy backpack for days on end? We’ve found six of the best hikes in Australia where the only thing you’ll need to carry is a bottle of water, and your camera to capture all that spectacular scenery. And, at the end of the day, you’ll feast on gourmet meals and sleep in a plush bed. Does it get any better?
Three Capes Walk
Length: Three days
After two days of walking, the pièce de résistance of a hike in this remote southeast corner of Tasmania has to be a flight over, or cruise underneath, Cape Pillar – the tallest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. Here you’ll find 300-metre high dolerite sea columns rising from the ocean. The equally impressive Cape Raoul – only accessible by hikers – will also give you a taster of the dramatic, raw beauty to come. At the end of each day, bed in deluxe chalets and dine on meals using fresh, local produce, paired with a good drop of local wine.
Great Ocean Walk
Length: Three days
The 243-kilometre long Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage-listed area famed for its surf beaches and the Twelve Apostles – limestone stacks rising out of the Southern Ocean. It takes more than a week to walk the full-length, but this hike ensures you see the best bits over three days. End with a helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles and stay in the five-star Alkina Lodge: three unique, purpose-built, private, contemporary residencies. You’ll never sleep so well.
Karajini National Park and Ningaloo Reef Walk
Where: Western Australia
Length: Seven days
Clear the camera for this one. You’ll traverse red gorges and spinifex rangelands before you head to the vibrant, turquoise reefs of Ningaloo. In Karijini National Park, walk through deep gorges and climb some of Western Australia’s highest mountains. At Ningaloo, the world’s largest fringing reef, snorkel with whale sharks as well and walk the coastline’s ancient limestone gorges in Cape Range National Park. This is the kind of walk that will make you the envy of your friends.
Larapinta Trail & Red Centre Walk
Where: Northern Territory
Length: Nine days
If you haven’t experienced the beating heart of Australia, this is the way to do it. Walk part of the Larapinta Trail, a 231-kilometre path that follows the rocky spine of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Mount Sonder. End your nine-day hike meandering around the 500-million-year-old monolith, Uluru, a living cultural landscape that is sacred to the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people. A visit here, and you’ll see exactly why it’s one of the best hikes in Australia.
Light to Light Walk
Where: New South Wales
Length: Four days
The New South Wales Sapphire Coast was named after the gem because of its deep blue sparkling waters. A hike here takes you deep into this dramatic landscape from striking 320-million-year-old red rocky outcrops to coastal forests. Glide along its vibrant waters on a cruise to take in the birdlife, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a dolphin, or in November, a migrating whale.
Clare Valley Wine and Wilderness Walk
Where: South Australia
Length: Three days
Could there be a better combination than walking and wine? The pace might be a bit slower on this hike, but you’ll have time to enjoy a few winery lunches along the way including the Clare Valley’s signature Rieslings. Stay in heritage-listed accommodation, Bungaree Station, built in 1841 – the perfect place to take in this picturesque region. Just a few of the reasons why it makes the list of best hikes in Australia.
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