There’s nothing quite like the grandeur of Australia’s National Parks, is there? From the ancient gorges of Kakadu to the blue-hued beauty of the Blue Mountains, these wonders offer some of the best bushwalking trails in Australia’s national parks. But aside from providing us with jaw-dropping views, did you know that hiking these trails is also a ripper for our health?
Regular hiking doesn’t just help to maintain physical health—think improved cardio-respiratory fitness, lower risk of heart disease and stroke, and a boost to muscle strength. It’s also brilliant for our mental wellbeing. When we’re out in the open air, surrounded by the sounds of the bush and the scent of eucalyptus, it can reduce stress and anxiety levels and even help to improve our sleep. So really, it’s a win-win situation!
Top Scenic Hiking Trails in Australia’s National Parks
With over 500 national parks spanning across this great land, it can be a bit of a challenge to pick which ones to explore first. To help you out, we’ve rounded up a list of the top trails in some of Australia’s most stunning national parks. So, grab your boots, fill up your water bottle and slap on some sunscreen—let’s hit the trails!
Blue Mountains National Park
Our journey begins in the majestic Blue Mountains National Park. Just a stone’s throw from Sydney, this beauty is home to several iconic trails. The Three Sisters Walk is a must-do, offering spectacular views of the famous Three Sisters rock formation from Echo Point. It’s a short and sweet 1km walk, perfect for beginners or those pressed for time.
For a more challenging trek, the Grand Canyon Track is your go-to. This 6km loop takes you through shaded gullies, over creek crossings and under overhanging rock walls. It’s a longer jaunt, but the sights are worth every step.
Kakadu National Park
Next, we head up north to the vast wilderness of Kakadu National Park. This World Heritage-listed park is teeming with native wildlife and Aboriginal rock art sites. For a relatively easy walk that leads to a stunning waterfall, the Jim Jim Falls Walk is ideal. It’s a 2km return walk, perfect for a quick splash in the plunge pool at the base of the falls.
The Ubirr Walk, on the other hand, offers a unique cultural experience. It features a collection of ancient Aboriginal rock art and culminates in a panoramic view of the floodplains and escarpments from the Ubirr Rock lookout. Truly a sight to behold!
Tips for Hiking in National Parks
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Moving down south to Victoria, we find ourselves in the stunning wilderness of Wilsons Promontory National Park. Commonly known as “The Prom”, this place offers some of the best coastal hikes in Australia.
The Mount Oberon Summit Walk is a crowd favourite. The trail winds its way up to the summit of Mount Oberon, rewarding hikers with 360-degree views of the park and the Southern Ocean. It’s a moderate 6.8km return walk that is well worth the effort.
For those keen on a longer, more adventurous journey, the Sealers Cove Walk is just the ticket. This 19km return track takes you through lush rainforest and along the beautiful Sealers Cove beach. It’s an ideal option for those seeking a multi-day hike.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
For the last leg of our journey, let’s hop over to Tasmania’s crown jewel, the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. It’s a breathtaking piece of wilderness known for its jagged peaks, deep gorges, and diverse wildlife.
The Dove Lake Circuit is a popular choice here. It’s a relatively easy 6km loop that circles the serene Dove Lake and offers fantastic views of Cradle Mountain. It’s one of those walks that really allows you to soak in the natural beauty of your surroundings.
For the more adventurous hiker, the Cradle Mountain Summit Walk is a challenging but rewarding endeavour. This 13km return trail will test your limits as you climb to the summit of Cradle Mountain. At the top, you’ll be greeted with a breathtaking view of the national park and beyond.
Tips for Hiking in National Parks
Before we wrap up, let’s go through some essential tips to make sure your hiking adventure goes as smoothly as possible. These trails aren’t just a walk in the park, so it’s important to be prepared.
First up, planning for your hike is crucial. Take some time to research the trail, check the weather forecast, and make sure you’re physically ready for the journey. If you’re heading off on a longer hike, consider your accommodation options—you might need to book ahead for some campsites. For more detailed guidance, check out this handy article on things to take on a hike in Australia’s national parks.
Packing right is equally important. Some essentials you’ll want to bring include a map and compass (don’t rely solely on your phone!), plenty of water, healthy snacks, sun protection, and appropriate clothing and footwear. A first aid kit is also a good idea—you never know when it might come in handy!
When you’re out on the trail, remember to follow the marked paths. This not only helps to preserve the environment but also prevents you from getting lost. Don’t forget to let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return—this is especially important if you’re trekking alone or heading on a multi-day hike.
Remember, safety should always be your priority. Be mindful of wildlife—after all, this is their home we’re exploring. If you’re hiking in a snake-prone area, know what to do in case of a snakebite. Equally, take precautions around water bodies, especially if they’re prone to strong currents or have crocodile warnings.
Most importantly, don’t rush—take your time to enjoy the journey. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of the bush, and marvel at the breathtaking landscapes. This is what hiking is all about!
And there you have it, mate—a guide to some of the best scenic hiking trails in Australia’s National Parks. From the lush rainforests of the Blue Mountains to the rugged wilderness of Cradle Mountain, each trail offers a unique adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned bushwalker or a newbie hiker, there’s a trail out there waiting for you.
So why not lace up your boots, pack your gear, and hit the trails? Not only will you get to explore some of the best bushwalking trails in Australia’s national parks, but you’ll also be doing wonders for your physical and mental health. Win-win, right?
If you’re keen to find more great trails, don’t forget to check out Australia’s best hiking trails. Whether you’re into multi-day hikes or prefer coastal hikes in Australia, there’s something for every adventurer.
Happy hiking, and remember—the journey is just as important as the destination!
For more tips and advice on hiking and walking in Australia, don’t hesitate to dig into our other resources. Stay safe and enjoy your adventures in the great Aussie outdoors!