You may know it as hiking, tramping, rambling or trekking, but in Australia we call it bushwalking. Australians describe bushwalking as a wide variety of walking activities in green or natural areas. It could be a walk along a trail in an urban area, or a multi-day trek through rugged terrain. So, if someone invites you on a bushwalk, make sure you know whether to pack a sandwich and a water bottle, or cooking gear and a tent.
Australia’s diverse landscape provides us with a wide selection of bush walks, many of which can be adapted to every fitness level. So whether you’re trying to discover Australia or just want to know your local area a little better, pick a trail and start walking.
Just to inspire you, here are Australia’s top 10 bush walks.
The Great Ocean Walk (VIC)
The Great Ocean walk is one of Australia’s iconic long distance walks. A one-way 104 km trek which follows the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, it begins at the resort town of Apollo Bay. Follow the trail through the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks, all the way to the stunning limestone stacks of the 12 Apostles.
The Overland Bush Track (TAS)
Six days hiking in the heart of the Tasmanian wilderness is an experience of a lifetime. The 65 km Overland Bush Track will take you through stunning scenery of mountains, lakes, and forests. For shorter options, try the Cradle Mountain Summit, Barn Bluff, Lake Will and Hartnett Falls tracks.
Fraser Island Great Walk (QLD)
Queensland’s Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and the only place you’ll find a rainforest growing on sand. The enigmatic island has a number of tracks for visitors to explore its incredible lakes, sand dunes, and stunning rainforests.
Larapinta Trail (NT)
If you have a dream to explore Australia’s centre, the Larapinta Trail needs to be on your bucket list. Travelling along the back of the West McDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory, this 233 kilometre journey will give you unsurpassed views of a variety of outback highlights, including Simpsons Gap and Ormiston Gorge.
Australian Alps Walking Track (NSW, ACT, VIC)
The Australian Alps Walking Track is a great track for experienced walkers, and traverses the high country in NSW, the ACT and Victoria. Seasoned walkers usually take 45 to 60 days to complete the rugged 655 km journey which passes through remote alpine country, exposed high plains, tall forests and stunted woodlands.
The Heysen Trail (SA)
One of South Australia’s favourite tracks is the Heysen Trail. The trail features coastal landscapes, native bushland, rugged gorges, and virgin pine forests. While the southern section from Cape Jervis to Spalding is perfect for beginners, more experienced walkers will enjoy the challenges in the northern section of the walk from Spalding to the Parachilna Gorge.
The Stirling Ranges (WA)
Western Australia has some spectacular bush walks, including the stunning walks along the Stirling Ranges. Popular walks along the ranges include Bluff Knoll, Toolbrunup Peak, Ellen Peak, Mt Trio and Stirling Ridge. From August to November orchids in the area are in full bloom, while wild flowers from September to October are another drawcard.
The Six Foot Track (NSW)
The Six Foot Track is a lot longer than 6 feet. The iconic track spans from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves in NSW’s Blue Mountains area. Over a few days, walkers pass through rainforests, eucalypt trees, and pastures. The highlight of the track is Bowtell’s Bridge, a spidery network that spans Cox’s River.
Lamington National Park (QLD)
Lamington National Park is the premier destination for bushwalking in picturesque South East Queensland. Under Lamington’s stunning canopy of flora and fauna, over 160 km of trails lead walkers to lookouts, waterfalls, and some of the state’s most significant wilderness.
The Orroral Valley Heritage Walk (ACT)
Starting at the Orroral camping ground, this 6 km walk on the edge of the National Park will take you past an 1860 homestead, one of the oldest European relics in the area. Another highlight is the old space tracking station, which explains its history and significance to the NASA space program.
Remember to take:
- Lots of water, and water purification tablets for longer walks
- Good walking shoes, broken-in
- Warm clothing and wet weather gear
- Mobile phone (though don’t rely on being able to get reception unless it’s a satellite phone)
- A well-stocked first aid kit