Seven best multi-day Australian walks

Australia is home to some of the most diverse and impressive ecosystems in the world.

With landscapes ranging from mountainous valleys, rainforests, outback deserts, unique bushland and coastal expanses, there’s certainly something for everyone.

Multi-day hiking opens up a world of adventure opportunities, unlocking parts of Australia often accessible by no other means.

Here are seven multi-day hikes to tackle across Australia.

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Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, South Australia
The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail suffered significant damage in the bushfires that devastated communities in the summer of 2019–20. A modified Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail has now reopened for walkers hosted by licensed tour operators in the first steps towards recovery.

This five-day trek allows walkers to see the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail environment as it’s never been seen before. You’ll have an easier time spotting wildlife and have unbridled views that pre-fire vegetation masked.

Location: southwest Kangaroo Island.

Getting there: SeaLink operates a bus and ferry from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, or you can self-drive.

Distance / time: 61km / five days.

Difficulty: easy to moderate.

Best time to go: between March and November.

Scenic Rim Trail, Queensland
Hike through World Heritage-listed forests along the cliff-rimmed escarpment of an ancient volcano, taking in stunning views over the valleys and impressive peaks of southeast Queensland’s Scenic Rim.

Set amongst heritage-listed highlands and the Gondwana rainforests, the trail itself is a mix of four-wheel drive tracks, packed earth and scrabbly bushland. Luckily there’s a range of accommodation available including glamping options and classy cabins.

Location: Great Dividing Range.

Getting there: it’s about 110km or a 1.5-hour drive southwest of Brisbane. There is no public transport to the trailhead or trail exit.

Distance / time: 47km / four days.

Difficulty: grade 5 track suitable only for physically fit and experienced long-distance bushwalkers.

Best time to go: between March and November.

Read: Best travel walking shoes for men and women

The Overland Track, Tasmania
This premier alpine walk attracts visitors from across the globe.

The trail begins at the iconic Cradle Mountain and ends at Australia’s deepest lake – Lake St Clair. The journey takes you through a landscape of glacially carved valleys, ancient rainforests, eucalypt forests, golden button grass moorlands and beautiful alpine meadows.

Optional side trips take you to cascading waterfalls and mountain summits, including Tasmania’s highest peak, Mount Ossa (1617m).

You have two options for accommodation – camping or sleeping in simple communal huts. There are seven main huts along the trail for you to choose from but there may not always be room, so carrying a tent is essential.

Location: Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair National Park.

Getting there: head to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre to get the shuttle bus to Dove Lake.

Distance / time: 65km / six days.

Difficulty: grade four. For most fit people and experienced hikers, it’s a moderate hike. However, adverse weather conditions can quickly turn it into a difficult one.

Best time to go: December to February are the most popular months.

Fraser Island Great Walk, Queensland
Explore the world’s largest sand island on foot and discover ever-changing landscapes, stunning scenery and fascinating natural and cultural heritage.

With amazing scenery including towering rainforest, crystal-clear lakes and vast sand dunes, World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is the perfect place to slow down and reconnect with nature.

While the entire walk takes six to eight days to complete, shorter walks are available, ranging from easy strolls to half-day and full-day treks.

Location: Great Sandy National Park.

Getting there: approximately 300km north of Brisbane. You can access K’gari from either Rainbow Beach township or Hervey Bay travelling by vehicle barge, aircraft, commercial tour or private boat.

Distance / time: 90km / six to eight days.

Difficulty: easy to moderate.

Best time to go: walking is recommended from April to September to avoid extreme weather conditions.

Read: 101 ways to holiday in Australia: Discover new ways to travel

Three Capes Track, Tasmania
Few places on earth feel so remote and raw as the Three Capes Track. You’ll experience breathtaking scenery, get up close to Australia’s highest sea cliffs and look out to an ocean where the next landmass is Antarctica.

The track is designed in a ‘Y’ shape to highlight the phenomenal views. You’ll take in tall eucalyptus forests, coastal heath and breathtaking scenery during the day and spend the evenings in comfortable cabins at Surveyors, Munro and Retakunna.

For those short on time or if you prefer to pack light, it’s also possible to walk sections of the Three Capes Track for free on a day trip.

Location: Tasman Peninsula.

Getting there: walkers must check in at the Port Arthur Historic Site. A Pennicott Wilderness Journeys cruise then delivers walkers to the start of the track at Denmans Cove.

Distance / time: 46km / four days.

Difficulty: easy to moderate.

Best time to go: all seasons.

Waleka Trail, Northern Territory
This challenging walk makes up part of the southern walking track system in Nitmiluk National Park. It runs from Pat’s Lookout and follows the upper contours of the escarpment. It can be a challenging walk but you’ll be rewarded with fabulous views and unspoilt landscapes.

There are three isolated and often uncrowded campsites along the route – Dunlop Swamp, Smitt Rock and Eighth Gorge. Make sure to enjoy the stunning secluded swimming hole at Eight Gorge.

You need a permit for overnight walks in Nitmiluk National Park and must attend a pre-departure briefing at the Nitmiluk Centre.

Location: Nitmiluk National Park.

Getting there: long-term parking is located at the Ranger Station.

Distance / time: 14km / two to three days.

Difficulty: moderate to difficult.

Best time to go: all months, but it can be very hot between September and December.

Read: Top 10 things to do in the Northern Territory

Hakea Trail, Western Australia
The Hakea is a spectacular and rugged coastal walk trail in the East Fitzgerald National Park.

The trail winds through heathland, along beaches and over rocky headlands offering spectacular views of the ocean and coastline.

Named after the colourful royal hakea that grows in the area, the trail is a botanical wonderland for plant lovers. However, the plant life isn’t the only drawcard of this stunning trail.

It’s a beautiful and varied walk with deserted beaches, weird and wonderful plants and absolutely stunning rock features.

The Hakea Trail can be a challenging multi-day adventure or can be split into several smaller half-day excursions.

Location: East Fitzgerald National Park.

Getting there: head to the Cave Point car park.

Distance / time: 23km / two to three days.

Difficulty: grade four. Walkers need to be fairly experienced, fit and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Best time to go: spring, but the track is walkable from autumn through to spring.

Have you completed any of these multi-day walks? Are any on your to-do list? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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