The over 7.5 million square kilometres that make up this great land down under cover every type of climate and geography, guaranteeing something dramatically different wherever you go. With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve picked out our favourite hikes in Australia. Each of these remarkable routes offers something truly special of its own.
1. Fraser Island Great Walk, Queensland
Famous for its tall rainforests, shifting sand dunes, and enchanting lakes (we’re looking at you, McKenzie), Fraser Island Great Walk is a reasonable 4-hour drive out from Brisbane. It takes 6 to 8 days to complete the entire trail, which covers a significant section of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, if you don’t want to make that kind of time commitment, you can still take in most of the highlights enjoyed along a number of shorter walks. For a full day trek, follow the 8-kilometer Beerillbee Trail, which affords spectacular views of the Great Sandy Strait. Equally special yet far less strenuous is the 0.9-kilometer rainforest boardwalk along Wangoolba Creek. Pack your zoom lens — you’re likely to spot turtles, eels, and tropical birds. Where to stay: Eurong Beach Resort
2. Great Ocean Walk, Victoria
Those that already have the Great Ocean Road on their bucket list, may wonder what more can be gained from exploring this stunning coastal trail on foot. The answer: a lot. At times running parallel with the iconic road trip route, the Great Ocean Walk takes you closer to nature than you’ll ever get in a car, diverging into low forests and over extraordinary rock formations. Pause for picnics at secluded beaches, like Blanket Bay and Johanna Beach. Steal a moment to yourself as you cross the footbridge at Aire River. Sure, the trail’s 100-kilometer total distance might test your metal. But when you reach the 12 Apostles at its stunning western terminus, you’ll really feel like you’ve earned the view. Where to Stay: The Boomerangs on the Great Ocean Road
3. Heysen Trail, South Australia
At 1,200-kilometers from tip to tail, the Heysen Trail is Australia’s longest walking route. This epic Aussie adventure begins in the rolling coastal countryside of Cape Jervis, following the Mount Lofty Ranges north past Adelaide to the dusty-red splendour of Parachilna Gorge. Commit to the entire trail to discover time-weathered German villages, table-top mountains, and two of Australia’s finest wine-producing regions. Like other epic hikes in Australia, Heysen Trail can be divided up into smaller sections. The southern section, in particular, offers great conditions for beginners and families as well as stunning views of South Australia’s cliff-fringed coastline. Where to stay: Rawnsley Park Station
4. Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory
Arguably one of the most iconic hikes in Australia, the Larapinta Trail begins at Alice Springs before leading hikers out across astounding landscapes. Covering a total of 223 kilometres, it carves its way through the core of The Red Centre, an otherworldly region of cinnabar mountains, sacred Aboriginal sites, and steep gorges. The remoteness of this route means that traveling with a guide is highly recommended. Boutique tour operators like Trek Larapinta are a chance to explore the trail in comfort, with spacious tents, bed linens, and cooked meals at the end of each day. To top it all off, you’ll get to know one of Australia’s most enigmatic regions through the expertise of your knowledgeable guides. Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters
5. Cape to Cape Track, Western Australia
Hikes in Australia don’t always offer both beautiful scenery and relative ease, but that’s exactly what you’ll find along Cape to Cape. Beginning at the idle beach community of Dunsborough, the route extends 123 kilometers down the length of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. For the most part, this has you walking against the backdrop of Australia’s stunning south west coast. Clock in a few hours of lounging on Injidup Beach or splashing about at crystalline Cape Mentelle. Cape to Cape takes 5 to 7 days to complete in its entirety. So if you’re on a time crunch, consider a middle section, such as the one from Redgate to Conto Beach. This will allow you to explore one of the trails most beautiful stretches, which coincidentally runs through the distinguished wine-producing region of Margaret River. Where to stay: Heritage Trail Lodge
6. Overland Track, Tasmania
Navigating some of Tasmania’s most striking natural features, the Overland Track is a strenuous hike that pays out big time for those that rise to the challenge. Hikers start at tooth-shaped Cradle Mountain, one of the seven wonders of Australia, before rambling on for 6 days across glacial valleys and ancient rainforests. Most finish their journey at Lake St. Clair, the nation’s deepest natural body of water, where there’s the option of extending the route an extra day to walk its full length. The Overland Track requires more preparation than many hikes in Australia. Often, the weather is unpredictable and temperatures can drop to freezing even during the summer months. But brave the elements, and you’ll be rewarded — big time. Where to Stay: Penghana Bed & Breakfast
7. Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, New South Wales
One of the easier hikes in Australia, both for its accessibility and relative shortness, Bondi to Coogee doesn’t skimp on the sights. Beginning out of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the walk takes you past the sea-reaching swimming pools at Bondi Icebergs. From there, the trail is a semi-urban playground of parks, cliffs, and rock pools. The entire route can be completed in just two hours, but seriously consider stopping at one of the many great beaches along the way. Some, like Bronte, Coogee, have free electric barbecues, so come prepared for a proper seaside lunch.