Awesome Hikes in the Land Down Under

For out­door thrill seek­ers, Aus­tralia is a won­der­land of rugged ter­rain and dra­mat­ic topog­ra­phy. Time to grab your boots and plan your next trek.

Larapinta TrailLara­p­in­ta Trail
Total­ing 138.5 miles, this rang­ing trail spans 12 sec­tions which can be com­plet­ed in a sin­gle hike or bro­ken into day hikes—each sec­tion is vehi­cle acces­si­ble, so hop on and off as suits you.

The trail reach­es from Alice Springs in the east to Mount Son­der in the west. The diverse geog­ra­phy it takes in its path makes it one of the most pop­u­lar treks in the region. From sharply ascend­ing bluffs with views for miles too long, flat, mean­der­ing sec­tions past shady water­holes, there’s a stretch to suit every preference.

The Overland TrackOver­land Track
You’ll need seri­ous out­doors and fit­ness skills to tack­le this one. The rough­ly 40-mile track takes you through Cra­dle Moun­tain-Lake St. Clair Nation­al Park in Tas­ma­nia. You’ll need to pay a reg­is­tra­tion fee to com­plete the hike dur­ing the busy months (October–June). And whichev­er sea­son you choose, you’ll need to plan for expo­sure to the ele­ments and long, stren­u­ous days.

Con­di­tions are gru­el­ing on the six-day jour­ney. But every­thing you see along the way—from dra­mat­ic glacial­ly formed val­leys to dizzy­ing moun­tain panoramas—puts the splen­dor of the park in full display.

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, AustraliaThree Sis­ters, Blue Moun­tains Nation­al Park
The work of mil­len­nia, these aston­ish­ing sand­stone pil­lars were once, accord­ing to Abo­rig­i­nal leg­end, three beau­ti­ful women for­bid­den from inter-trib­al mar­riages to the men they loved. A trib­al elder turned them into stone to pro­tect them but, after dying in bat­tle him­self, was unable to restore them to human form. Here they stand to this day, their geol­o­gy so mag­nif­i­cent­ly full of life that the ori­gin of the myth is eas­i­ly understandable.

The trail to the sis­ters leads you through the for­est as old as the dinosaurs and past some of the most stun­ning for­ma­tions you’ll ever see.

Noosa National ParkCoastal Track, Noosa Nation­al Park
Because a stun­ning ocean view is always wel­come, this pret­ty stretch of trail is a must for area vis­i­tors. It’s one among sev­er­al routes in the park, which hosts just over nine miles of prime hik­ing paths. What makes the coastal track spe­cial, of course, is its access to some of the most gor­geous beach­es in Queens­land. This means that once you’ve done your mileage for the day, you can relax on the shore­line and enjoy the beau­ty of the sparkling sea.

Wilson’s PromontoryGreat Ocean Walk, Wilson’s Promontory
This mean­der­ing 60-mile trail lets you tra­verse every­thing from breath­tak­ing cliffs and rocky shores to wood­lands and estu­ar­ies, all through one of Australia’s most stun­ning nation­al parks. The park includes access to the south­ern-most light­house in oper­a­tion on Australia’s mainland.

Suit­able for mul­ti­day back­pack­ing adven­tures or hop-on, hop-off day hikes, much of the trail is acces­si­ble for wheel­chairs and strollers. But if you’ll be mak­ing the trip with a mixed-abil­i­ty group, check with park rangers to make sure your path is appro­pri­ate for the whole party.

Kosciuszko National ParkMain Range Walk, Kosciuszko Nation­al Park
The 13.6‑mile loop cov­ers some of Australia’s alpine high coun­try. Expect spare, rugged beau­ty and steep climbs. Observe the glacial­ly sculpt­ed geog­ra­phy and cross the Snowy River.

If you vis­it in sum­mer, you’ll rev­el in the fiery wild­flow­ers on dis­play through­out much of the jour­ney. But dur­ing the win­ter, expect a white-blan­ket­ed land­scape best crossed on snowshoes.

What­ev­er the sea­son, when you reach the trail’s sum­mit, you’ll be at one of Australia’s high­est points, sur­vey­ing moun­tains in all directions.