We’ve stayed at home. We’ve baked sourdough. We’ve learnt at least one Tik Tok dance. And now, my friends, it’s time to lace up our Merrell’s and hit the trails. It’s time to breathe some gum-scented, fresh Australiana air. It’s time to get out of the urban jungle and into some wilderness.
We may not be able to travel overseas but we sure as hell can road trip it out to our regional areas. Eat a meat pie chased with a vanilla slice. Go for a wander. Because Australia is V. blessed with some V. good hikes and you’d be a drongo not to make the most of the parklands near your home city.
To make your hiking life easier, we’ve listed a bunch of sweeeeeet day trips within two hours of each capital city. Thank us later.
Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk
Oh hello, Macedon Ranges region, you beauty! This Werribee Gorge wander is just an hour outside the city, to the north-west. If you’re looking for a got-it-all hike, then this is it. You can go on-trail, off-trail, reach lookouts, make river crossings, climb a few cables even. Plus there’s a heap of wildlife. This one would suit an experienced/adventurous hiker, considering the whole gorge drop-off thing. Still good, but.
Ironbark Basin Walk
This trek can be found tucked away between Bells Beach (yeeewwwww) and Point Addis along the Great Ocean Road’s ridiculously magnifico Surf Coast. The Ironbark track follows a bushed inland basin that takes you all the way down to the beach. Expect your classic bushland Australiana setting featuring native plants, native birds and maybe a few echidnas. If you’re lucky.
Bouddi Coastal Walk
Fancy a seaside wander? Bouddi is all about those undulating beach vibes. Located just outside Gosford, this coastal hike is known for absolutely bloody pristine beaches, boardwalk and birdlife. Pack a picnic, play spot the whale or even rinse off the sweat at Maitland Bay with a quick dip. The weather’s bound to be decent, it always is in Sydney.
Six Foot Track
Is there anywhere better than the Blue Mountains National Park? That’s a rhetorical question FYI because the answer is a big hell no. This NSW trek is guaranteed to take your breath away. In a good way. The route follows a horse-track that dates all the way back to the 1880s and winds through state forest, heritage sites, woodlands, rainforest and even a suspension bridge.
Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty
Whoever said you shouldn’t go chasing waterfalls is a doucheturd. This trail is just a half-hour from Adelaide and is kinda like the South Aussie version of the Bondi to Bronte walk. It’s an easy wander, full of signage (impossible to get lost) and it’s even got cafes at each end. Run it, walk it, love it.
Onkaparinga River Hike
Again, this fella is super close to Adelaide – just a 40-minute drive from the city centre. The trail will take hikers along a super pretty gorge walk, into valleys, beneath cliff faces and to the edge of watering holes. It’s pretty easy but gets steep in parts so wear your best pair of sneaks. Pack a sanga too, you’ll get snacky.
Scarborough-Trigg Heritage Trail
Here comes Western Australia with the landscape goods. The Scarborough-Trigg trail follows the coastline and guides trekkers through ridiculously good-looking beaches. Hello surfers. Good afternoon fishermen. The three loops total about 7.3km in total, making it a doable but V. satisfying day hike.
Penguin Island Boardwalk Trail
As if you don’t want to visit somewhere called Penguin Island. This hike involves a ferry over to the island followed by a boardwalk and trail loop. En route keep your eyes peeled for the local colony of Fairy Penguins. The whole island is also a bird sanctuary so pull a David Attenborough and get twitching.
Organ Pipes, Mt Wellington
You can’t visit Hobart without taking a trip up Mt Wellington, the mountain that towers over the city. Instead of driving up, you should totally trek Organ Pipes instead. This trail requires a bit of moderate climbing up the extraordinary rock formation. When the hard yakka is over you’re rewarded with first-class, panoramic views.
Wineglass Bay is Insta-famous for a reason. That’s because Freycinet National Park is a wonder, packed with all the good, pretty, outdoorsy things. Pack a picnic and haul ass up the mountain from Coles Bay to the lookout on the saddle between Mt Amos and Mt Mayson. It’s guaranteed good views and even better vibes.
Mount Beerwah Summit
Located in the Glass House Mountains National Park about 75kms from Brisbane, Mount Beerwah is a tricky, but fun, hike that’ll have you scrambling to the summit. Allow one to two hours to get to the top and a solid rest period for admiring the pano views. Heads up though – hot foot it back down at the first sign of bad weather. It’s not a trail that’s meant for wet weather.
Twin Falls Circuit
Fact: there can never be too many waterfalls. The Twin Falls Circuit, in Springbrook National Park, is a grade three track that passes Tamarramai Falls, Twin Falls, Tallanbana and Blackfellow Falls. You see? A lot of falls. Pack your togs (or whatever they call them in QLD) and take a dip in one of the many pools fed by the falls after trekking through the rainforest.
Litchfield National Park
Never heard of Litchfield? Let me introduce you to one of the big players in the Top End. If you can imagine hiking through tropical rainforest to a secluded watering hole, then you’re almost on the money. The 30-minute walk out to Florence Creek is by far the easiest option, otherwise, pack lunch and high tail it out to the Upper Cascades. Just make sure you remember your waterproof sandals and read the signs: nothing would ruin a day hike more than a crocodile encounter.
Mary River Region
An hour south-east of Darwin you’ll find the Mary River National Park. A wonderland of monsoon rainforest and billabongs and boardwalks. If you’re into birds or crocodiles, this is the NT hiking region for you. For a first-class short walk don’t miss the trail through the woodland savannah of Brian Creek. Oh Brian, you beaut.
The Centenary Trail
This 145-kilometre loop sweeps all the way to the NSW border to the north and into the Murrumbidgee to the south. You don’t have to do the lot, but you can break the route up into day trips. Whether you want to wander past Parliament House, find a secret picnic spot or get lost in some serious wilderness, the Centenary has it all folks.
Mt Ainslie Summit Trail
AKA the Kokoda Track, this 4.5 km return hike, located just behind the Aussie War Memorial, is a sweat-inducer albeit a charming one. Expect shrubby woodland packed with gum trees, super intense birdsong (hello rosellas) and a pretty damn good view of the Parliamentary Triangle. Don’t forget to stop and read the plaques commemorating the Kokoda Track and Aboriginal soldiers. Howzat for some history with your hiking.
Image: The Hobbit