From copper-red bushwalks to indigo-tinted climbs up the Blue Mountains, hikes in Australia are both accessible and out of this world. The over 7.5 million square kilometers that make up this great land down under cover every type of climate and geography, guaranteeing something dramatically different wherever you go. Rugged coastal trails trace their way around sea cliffs in Victoria. Wildlife walks near Adelaide take walkers past bounding marsupials and rolling vineyards. And those that reach Western Australia or the Northern Territories will be rewarded with plunging canyons, thick rainforests, and sacred Aboriginal sites.
With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve picked out our favorite hikes in Australia. Each of these remarkable routes offers something truly special of its own — fascinating flora and fauna, glimpses of Australia’s storied past, and of course simply stunning scenery. What’s more, you’ll almost certainly find something to suit your ability. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely day trip or an intrepid multiweek adventure, boot up and pack your water bottle. We’ll meet you at the trailhead.
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.
Fraser Island Quick Facts
- Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, and as a result, its landscape is always changing.
- Dingos are common on the island, making Fraser Island a great place to learn about one of Australia’s must-see animals. Remember to exercise proper caution around them.
- Humpback whale, dugong, and dolphin sightings are common in the area. Check out ecofriendly operators like Blue Dolphin Tours for the best up-close experiences.
Where to stay: Eurong Beach Resort
Located midway between Dilli Village and Happy Valley, this easygoing beach resort is an ideal base for the Great Walk, whether you’re planning on tackling its full length or day-tripping out to individual sections. It’s well equipped for families, too, with dingo fencing, a large freeform pool, and the option of spacious apartment-style accommodation if you’re traveling in a group. Best of all, Fraser Island’s pristine, sandy perimeter is right on your doorstep, meaning you can plug in some beachy R&R after several hours (or days) of intrepid island trekking.
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 124 – USD 298
Guest Rating: 7.0
Address: Fraser Island, Eurong, QLD 4581, Australia
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.
Great Ocean Walk Quick Facts
- It’s home to abundant wildlife, including kangaroos, echidnas, cockatoos, snakes, lizards, eagles, seals, and penguins. For those short on time, Wildlife Tours Australia operates a great 1-day itinerary out of Melbourne, on which you’ve got a good chance of spotting wild koalas.
- Great Otway National Park is home to Mountain Ash, enormous eucalyptus trees that grow to heights of almost 100 meters.
- Sailing parallel to the Great Ocean Walk was once known as “threading the needle” to local sailors for the difficulty of its navigation. Over 630 ships have sunk off the coast, the anchor of one of which you’ll find poking out the sand at the incidentally named Wreck Beach.
Where to Stay: The Boomerangs on the Great Ocean Road
Minutes from Joanna Beach, this quirky concept hotel sells itself on a quintessentially Australian experience. We’re not sure how anyone could disagree. Accommodation is set in several boomerang-shaped cottages that peep out of the hillside to glorious ocean views. Rise to the sound of native birdsong and stretch out any sore muscles with a bespoke yoga class. With easy access to the Great Ocean Road, you’ll be able to revisit trail highlights easily. It takes only 45 minutes by car to reach the 12 Apostles and 35 minutes to get to Apollo Bay, at the Walk’s eastern end.
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 284 – USD 376
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: 3815 Great Ocean Rd, Johanna VIC 3238, Australia
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 splendor 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.
Heysen Trail Quick Facts
- The Heyson Trail is usually open between April and November, with large sections of the trail closing during the summer months due to fire danger.
- With a total incline of 22,755 meters over its entirety, completing the trail is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest over 2.5 times.
- One of the most accessible sections, from Mylor to the spectacular Mt Lofty, is also one of the most scenic. Expect stunning panoramas, dazzling sunsets, and distant city views.
Where to stay: Rawnsley Park Station
Toss a dart at any stretch of the Heyson Trail and you’ll encounter beautiful backdrops. Few of them, however, are quite so spectacular as the setting of this remote country escapes at the northern end. Rawnsley Park Station looks out over the majestic Wilpena Pound — a ring of mountain rises that resembles a colossal meteorite crater. Every evening, this view burns with exquisite sunsets. You’ll be able to bask in each of them from the comfort of the wraparound verandahs that feature in Rawnsley Park Station’s luxury eco-villas. At bedtime, throw yourself back onto a premium mattress and marvel at a million glittering constellations, visible thanks to the retractable ceiling right over your bed.
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 140 – USD 153
Guest Rating: 8.0
Address: Wilpena Road, Hawker, SA 5434, Australia
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 kilometers, it carves its way through the core of The Red Center, 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.
Larapinta Trail Quick Facts
- The best time to explore Australia’s ancient heartland is May through August. The temperatures are balmy in the day and cold at night.
- The wildlife is weird and wonderful. In addition to wallabies and dingos, the trail is home to 2.5-meter-long Perentie lizards and Spencer’s burrowing frogs, tiny subterranean amphibians that burst out of the ground in huge numbers whenever the rain comes driving down.
- Larapinta is home to several sacred Aboriginal sites. These include Simpson’s Gap (Rungutjirpa) a plunging waterhole flanked on both sides by towering walls of red rock.
Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters
A plush resort-style hotel in Alice Springs, this Crowne Plaza is an ideal base for your intrepid bushwalk. The cool, contemporary rooms and suites are a great trade-off for those tired of tents. Meanwhile, gratifying extras like a freeform pool and four onsite restaurants are a sweet reward for those returning from the desert. Not to mention the spa (you are on vacation after all).
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 110 – USD 372
Guest Rating: 8.0
Address: 93 Barrett Drive, Alice Springs, NT 0870, Australia
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.
Cape to Cape Track Quick Facts
- Cape to Cape is less remote than many multi-day hikes in Australia, passing through several scenic coastal villages. Still, the countryside in between remains gorgeously underdeveloped.
- The trail is open year-round. However, there are periods in winter when it’s not safe to cross the Margaret River. This may mean you might have to detour inland.
- While you can look forward to long stretches of soft beach walking, it’s not all about the sea. The trail laces its way through native woodland, as well as magnificent Boranup Forest, with its towering eucalyptus trees.
Where to stay: Heritage Trail Lodge
With its location in Margaret River, Heritage Trail Lodge is ideal for day hikes along some of Cape to Cape’s most spectacular sections. A drive of under 15 minutes will have you at the river’s mouth and the exciting swells of Surfer’s Point. What’s more, you’ll be within walking distance of Wooditjup National Park. Heritage Trail plays perfectly into its natural setting, proving cabin style set in a grove of skyward-reaching karri. Make the most of your stay by requesting a forest view suite, which features a 2-person spa bath and balcony. For parties of 3, roll-out beds are available at an additional cost.
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 138 – USD 211
Guest Rating: 8.0
Address: 31 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River WA 6285, Australia
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.
Overland Track Quick Facts
- Passes (AUS 200 for adults) are required to access the trail. The daily quota regularly fills up, so book early.
- On good weather days, you’ll be treated to jawdropping views of Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest peak.
- The trail is lined with scenic detours. Don’t miss Harnett Falls, a colossal granite colored cascade a manageable 0.9-kilometers round trip from the main trail.
Where to Stay: Penghana Bed & Breakfast
A piece of bonafide Tasmanian history, this elegant hotel is a National Trust property and the former residence of a 19th-century mining tycoon. Its traditionally appointed rooms, decorated in duck-egg blues, blackberries, and pale greens, look out over gorgeous views of the forest and Queenstown. Treat yourself to a spot of afternoon tea, delivered in the historic surroundings of Penghana’s drawing-room with assorted cupcakes and sweet treats.
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 147 – USD 164
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: 32 Esplanade, Queenstown, TAS 7467, Australia
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.
Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk Quick Facts
- Weekends on the Walk are very busy, so make it your mission to complete this hike on a weekday.
- Keep an eye out for migrating humpback whales, which are fairly common off the coast from May to October.
- If 6 kilometers seems a little short, the route can be extended to Maroubra Beach, a great spot for photographing surfers — or ripping the waves yourself!
Where to Stay: Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach Sydney
Sure, you could hike Bondi to Coogee to Maroubra. But why not stay midway along the route and really take your time over the sand, surf, and numerous sea baths. Right on Coogee Beach itself, this resort-style hotel makes for a lavish stopover as you beach bum your way across Sydney’s sunkissed suburbs. The heated outdoor pool is good for a splash if you’re visiting during the winter months, while the terrace at Estate gives you a great vantage point over the coastline. For an extra swanky stay, request a Seaside Suite to enjoy an oversized oceanview balcony and a sizable soaking tub — just for you.
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 178 – USD 407
Guest Rating: 8.0
Address: 242 Arden Street, Sydney, NSW 2034, Australia
Which Hikes in Australia Can You Not Wait to Dig Your Heels Into?
From sublime scrubby coastal walks to remarkable Red Centre rambles, hikes in Australia are difficult to top. But the Aussie adventure doesn’t end at these 7 spectacular routes. Which trails do you rank above the rest? Let us know in the comments below!