Outdoor

Australian Alps walking track Image Credit: David Overton

Top 10 Australian multi-day treks

  • BY Megan Holbeck |
  • April 14, 2010

From mountain traverses to sand islands and outback tracks, these are the best long Aussie bushwalks

SCATTERED ACROSS OUR continent are diverse wild areas ranging from picturesque, pocket-sized parks to whole regions, vast swathes of land encompassing islands, deserts, plateaus and ranges.

Some are refuges of wilderness, seeming unchanged from the days of Dreamtime, while others are closer to our urban habitat. No matter the shade of wild, the Australian bush has a common trait; it’s still a place you can feel as if you’re discovering for the first time, even when following a well-worn track.

It’s somewhere to get lost in, both figuratively and literally, where the harsh conditions dictate your pace as you weave your way around roots, rocks and branches, discovering a beauty that ranges from the overwhelming to a discreet serenity; where wildlife is still common enough to make rustling undergrowth a paranoid preoccupation for overseas walkers.

It may be rough and rugged but it’s real, offering an escape from your other world, a chance to slip into the slower pace of nature, to accept the rhythm, feel the flavour and digest it for yourself. All of this culminates in making Australia a great place to take a long walk – sometimes a really long walk.

A ‘best of’ list is always subjective, leaving out as much as it includes. Add to this the fact that completing the walks on this list alone would take almost four months, and it gets a lot more complicated! To whittle down the choices, we enlisted the help of the Australian bushwalking knowledge base, a gang of five guidebook authors; John Chapman, John and Lyn Daly, Glenn Tempest and John Siseman, and outback bard Quentin Chester.

Best multi-day walks in Australia

LARAPINTA TRAIL, NT
Location: West MacDonnell Range, Northern Territory
Length: 16–20 days (including rest days)
Distance: 223 km
Difficulty: Hard
Access: One-way walk; good road access along track, including at ends
Info: Walking during the cooler months, from April–September, is recommended. Food drops required.


THORSBORNE TRAIL, QLD
Location: Hinchinbrook Island, Far North Queensland
Length: 4–5 days
Distance: 32 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Access: One-way; boat transport required at both ends
Info: Walking during the cooler months, from April–September, recommended Permits required; need to be booked well in advance


AUSTRALIAN ALPS WALKING TRACK, VIC/NSW/ACT
Location: High Country of ACT, NSW and Victoria
Length: 45–60 days (including rest days)
Distance: 655 km
Difficulty: Hard
Access: One-way; road access at both ends
Info: Best done in the warmer months. Food drops required.


FRASER ISLAND GREAT WALK, QLD
Location: Queensland
Length: 5–7 days
Distance: 84 km
Difficulty: Easy
Access: One-way; boat transport required to island; both ends of the walk accessible by vehicle
Info: Walking during the cooler months, from April–September is recommended. Campsite bookings and permits required.


WILDERNESS COAST WALK, VIC/NSW
Location: South coast of NSW and Victoria
Length: 4–5 days
Distance: 61 km
Difficulty: Medium
Access: One-way; boat transport required at one end, road access at other
Info: Permit required, book in advance 


OVERLAND TRACK, TAS
Location: Tasmanian highlands
Length: 5–8 days
Distance: 74 km, plus many side trips
Difficulty: Medium
Access: One-way; road access and public transport links at both ends
Info: Permits required from November to May; walk must be completed north to south during this time


EASTERN ARTHUR RANGE, TAS
Location: Southwest Tasmania
Length: 7–9 days
Distance: 89 km
Difficulty: Hard
Access: Return walk; Trackhead accessible by road, with public transport links in summer
Info: Steep and dangerous climbing required; summer walking recommended


WESTERN ARTHUR RANGE TRAVERSE, TAS
Location: Southwest Tasmania
Length: 8–11 days
Distance: 75 km
Difficulty: Hard
Access: Circuit walk; road access and public transport links in summer
Info: Follows a steep and tricky skyline traverse; summer walking recommended


CAPE TO CAPE TRACK, WA
Location: Southwest Western Australia
Length: 6–8 days
Distance: 135 km
Difficulty: Easy
Access: One-way; road access at both ends
Info: Spring wildflowers are a highlight; water may be hard to find


SOUTH COAST TRACK, TAS
Location: Southwest Tasmania
Length: 6–9 days
Distance: 85 km
Difficulty: Medium
Access: One-way; charter flight or extra 70 km walk to one end, road access with public transport links at other
Info: Walking in the warmer months is recommended


LINKS
Top five great Australian drives
Top 18 Australian camping spots
18 Best day walks in Australia

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