The ultimate walking holiday: tips and tricks for exploring Australia on foot

There can be no doubt that Australia is one of the most beautiful and naturally diverse countries on the face of the planet. It is home to a huge array of unique wildlife, breathtaking geographic features, and vibrant environments. Amidst the dust of the outback, the striking mountainous silhouettes, lush rainforests, vibrant oceans, and 34,000 kilometres of golden sand beaches, there is an ethereal beauty to be found. There are very few places on earth that can match Australia in terms of all-out drama, so now is as good a time as any to pull the trigger and get ready for the walking holiday of a lifetime.    

Australia offers hikers and walkers of all levels something to enjoy but here are a few important things to consider when preparing for your next adventure, so here are our top tips and tricks to bear in mind when preparing for your extraordinary walking adventure down under.  

Choose the right trail

As you may have already guessed, there is an incredible amount of offer on this gigantic continent, from stunning coastal paths in Victoria and mountainous traverses to urban treasure hunts in Sydney. There are far too many great trails to list here, so here is a selection of the highlights in no particular order. 

The Great Ocean Walk 

The Great Ocean Walk stretches along one of the most iconic and gorgeous coastal areas in the world, and offers stunning cliff top views, paradisical isolated beaches and plenty of aquatic wildlife. 

You can enjoy sections of the route, or make the epic 110 kilometre walk in its entirety. The last leg of the route takes you to the world-famous 12 Apostles, and is a pretty spectacular reward! Sections of the route can be challenging, but intermediate to advanced hikers won’t hit any trouble. 

The 12 Apostles
The 12 Apostles © Pexels

Margaret River Cape to Cape

Margaret River is Western Australia’s wine country, and should be top of everyone’s list of places to visit; but it’s also home to the Cape to Cape trail, which is a 123 kilometre trail that covers the rugged western coast. 

You can expect to see whales in their hundreds during the summer months, as well as some gorgeous bays, wonderful towns and pretty excellent food and drink! This trail does not have too much elevation change, but the distance is large; perfect for intermediate hikers.  

The Bay of Fires Lodge Trail

Tasmania is another unmissable location, not least due to its fantastic network of walking routes. It’s a staggeringly beautiful island home to a unique culture and some pretty amazing adventures. 

The Bay of Fires Lodge walk is around 10 kilometres, but delivers just as much as a multiday hike. Explore sea caves, stunning coves, and glorious white sand beaches on this wonderful day adventure, perfect for beginners.  

Gear up

In order to undertake a multi day hike anywhere in the world you’ll need a few obvious things to ensure success. Tents, sleeping bags, food, and solid footwear all spring to mind immediately, but there are a few bits that you’ll need just to be as comfortable as possible in the Aussie wilderness. 

  • Base Layers: Despite Australia’s reputation for being devastatingly hot, it can get really cold too. The temperature can drop as low as 0°C in parts of the outback overnight, and the mountains will be colder still. Don’t underestimate the weather!  
  • Pants & Shorts: Following on from the last point, the temperature can vary wildly across the country so bringing long pants and shorts is a pretty good idea. 
  • Waterproofs: The dusty desolation of the outback and hot sunny days on beaches are usually the norm for Australia, but that does not mean rain is impossible. Some areas of the country can receive a month’s rain in a day or two, so don’t be caught off guard. Spare, dry clothes are always a good idea too! 
  • First Aid Kit: You never know what could happen when you’re out in the wild, so having the basic ability to patch yourself up is important. Whether it’s a skinned knee or something worse, the first aid kit will be invaluable.
  • Head Protection: Have you ever heard the term “no hat, no play”? Well it rings truer than ever in Australia. Protect your head from the powerful UV rays and avoid sunstroke, dehydration, and sunburn!   

Don’t be caught out without the right equipment; cutting your adventure short due to a simple oversight or lack of planning would be a real waste. Follow these essential packing tips and enjoy your time in the great outdoors to the very maximum. 

Don’t be afraid of wildlife but be sensible 

Another thing Australia is famous for is the incredible, unique, and sometimes dangerous species that call this country home. Most of the time these creatures are getting a pretty unfair wrap and it’s more than likely that you won’t even see anything that could hurt you; but it’s important to remember their presence. 

Snakes and spiders are pretty much always more afraid of you than you are of them. Biting or attacking will always be a last resort for them, so don’t put them in that situation. If you spot signs of them just steer clear of the area. Follow signage, and stick to the trails laid out for you, and you’ll be fine. 

If you’re in an area populated by crocodiles then simply being sensible and following the rules will keep you safe. If there are warning signs, don’t swim and steer clear of the water’s edge; it’s pretty simple really.

And lastly, although kangaroos are truly fascinating and look very cute and cuddly, they can actually be aggressive, territorial, and very strong. Admiring them from a distance is definitely advised.

Hydrate and re-fuel

This may seem pretty obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people just don’t bring enough water with them; bring as much as you can reasonably carry and make sure your group does the same. One of the critical mistakes people make is waiting to be thirsty before having a drink; but at this point, it can be too late. Keep up a constant level of hydration to ensure your body is doing its job properly as you walk.

If you’re going on a multi-day adventure then bringing some purifying equipment with you is essential; nothing ends a hike as quickly as a stomach bug! Grabbing water from fresh and running sources is a literal lifesaver, but make sure it’s boiled or purified before consuming. 

Don’t start a fire

One of the things Australia is known around the world for is its wildfires; an association no one wants. They are a devastating part of daily life for many Australians and it’s made all the worse when they could have been avoided. 

As a general rule, it’s best to not have fires altogether, unless it is licensed, approved and supervised. There should be absolutely no fires made at all when you’re out in the bush; you’d be amazed at how fast they can spread even from the smallest spark! If you’re unsure then brush up on the rules and regulations surrounding fire and make the right choices. 

Explore awesome Australia

Follow these tips and tricks to ensure you make the most of your walking wilderness adventure, and have all the essentials covered whilst you explore. 

Australia offers majesty and beauty in pure abundance, the wildlife is otherworldly, and there is adventure around every turn. It’s the only place on earth where two UNESCO World Heritage sites meet; the Wet Tropics Rainforest spills down the hill directly into the waters containing the Great Barrier Reef, separated by nothing but a strip of snow-white sand. 

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is one of the geographical wonders of the world that will touch your soul, and the endless coast that could nearly circumnavigate the globe offers some of the purest beauty you could possibly imagine. It’s the perfect place for a once in a lifetime adventure on foot; so finish your plans, pick your route then get out there, into the wild and experience the magic of Australia for yourself.