Take a hike: 8 of Australia’s best trails to explore this summer

Put on your hiking shoes. From easy walks to multi-day treks, here’s a selection of trails to tempt you into the great outdoors.

Our country has an abundance of scenic trails to discover, whether you are a first-time bushwalker, an experienced hiker, or have the kids in tow. 

With something to suit every ability and interest, all you need is a sense of adventure. Let’s go!

Coastal walk

Why drive Australia’s 34,000 kilometres of spectacular coastline when you can walk (much shorter) sections of it? 

Great Ocean Walk, Vic

Don’t let the idea of a 110km trek put you off. 

This ocean-hugging walk from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles is easily accessible from many points, so hikers can opt out of eight days of hiking and walk smaller sections instead. 

Depending on the section you choose, expect to cover a variety of terrain (everything from sandy beaches to pathways) as you make your way through rainforest, along cliff tops and past Cape Otway Lighthouse.

Luxury experience

Let’s face it, we’re not all made for tents and trail mix. 

If you are keen to get back to nature “lite”, there are plenty of luxury walking tour companies ready to help you out.

Arnhem Land Walk, NT

If exploring the highlights of this wilderness region in the northeast corner of the Territory sounds suspiciously like roughing it, Life’s An Adventure is here to prove you wrong. 

Its five-day, pack-free Arnhem Land guided walk not only takes in a selection of significant cultural walks, but also includes a stay at Banubanu Beach Retreat, a scenic flight and a bounty of gourmet food and wine. 

Challenging hikes

Keen to test your endurance and determination in a destination that’s also breathtakingly scenic? You might just need your copy of the SAS Survival Guide for the following hikes.

Mount Anne Circuit, Tas

How do you feel about scrambling rocky terrain and teetering on cliffs subject to some of the state’s worst weather? 

Only for the brave, Mount Anne Circuit is a notoriously tough, three- to five-day epic wilderness walk in Tasmania’s remote southwest corner. 

High winds and snow events are common, but those who persevere will be rewarded with vistas of lush forests and pristine lakes. 

Grampians Peak Trail, Vic

One of the latest additions to the Australian hiking circuit, this 160km trail through the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park is all about putting yourself through your paces as you climb steep mountain peaks, hike spectacular rocky ridges, and navigate waterfalls. 

Kicking off at Mount Zero and weaving its way through various types of terrain until it reaches Dunkeld, this challenging 13-day adventure will test both the mind and body.

Family-friendly trails

Whether you’re after an easy stroll book-ended by hot chocolates or by more robust drinks, there’s no shortage of trails suitable for little legs. 

Bouddi Coastal Walk, NSW

Celebrated for its beaches and boardwalks, this 8.5km walk runs from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach on the Central Coast, offering kids (and their relieved parents) ample opportunity to enjoy a few side adventures. 

Although the walk can be completed in under five hours, the whale watching, swimming and picnicking opportunities mean you can count on taking the whole day. 

Bells Rapids River Walk, WA

Not sure if your kids are the hiking type? 

Bells Rapids River Walk, just 45 minutes from Perth’s CBD, lets you dip a tentative toe into the world of walking trails, serving up an easy 2.5km walk that showcases the Swan River, a footbridge across the rapids and a bushy landscape. Enjoy a picnic and get the camera ready: this picturesque walk is known for its abundance of grey kangaroos.

Solo trekkers

Short and sweet or a multi-day trail with endless opportunity for self-reflection – there’s a solo trail out there for everyone.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, SA

Up until Kangaroo Island’s 2019-20 bushfires, all hikers could freely enjoy this iconic five-day (approximately 65km) adventure through some of the country’s most biologically diverse areas.

But now hikers can only enjoy a modified version of the trail by booking with licensed operators. 

Is it still worth it? Absolutely. 

The hike, which snakes its way around the spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean, also offers solo travellers the option of joining a group tour. 

Box Forest Circuit, Qld

Lamington National Park is home to a wealth of stunning hiking trails, and this four-hour circuit through the Green Mountains section of the park is considered one of the best. 

The beautiful hike takes in waterfalls, rock pools and rainforest, with highlights including Picnic Rock (don’t forget to pack lunch), Elabana Falls and Box Log Falls.

Written by Dilvin Yasa.