I actually can’t stand exercising, but like it or not it’s something we’ve all gotta do for health reasons. One exercise thingy I do like though, is hiking. And NSW is filled with beautiful day hikes you can do on Saturdays and Sundays. Chock-full of ’em.

The thing day hikes need are about a 3-5 hour track (ideally looped, they’re the best ones) and to be an hour or so out of your hometown. Great views and animal sightings are a bonus, obviously.

Here are some primo day hikes around NSW.

1. Glow Worm Tunnel, Wollemi National Park

Look, I can’t stand glow worms but lots of people think they’re cool – and they kinda are, they’re just insects and all insects are terrifying to me. That being said, this hike is easy, gorgeous and leads you to an old train tunnel filled with the glowy bastards.

This one is a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney, near Lithgow.

2. Crystal Shower Falls Walk, Dorrigo National Park

Near Coffs Harbour is this lil’ day hikes beauty, a 3.5km return trip to a little, fairylike waterfall that you can walk behind, even.

3. Burramoko Ridge Trail, Blue Mountains National Park

At 10km return, this is one of those day hikes where you nail your steps, too. Located at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, Burramoko Ridge trail features breathtaking gorge views.

4. Cape Byron Walking Track, Byron Bay

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You may know of this beauty already, but if you don’t – you MUST visit. If you live on the GC, you’re so close! It’s worth the day trip into Byron – even if you’re not necessarily a fan of the luxe-hippie town – for the walk, which winds uphill to the famous lighthouse and puts you at the most eastern point in Australia.

5. Jerusalem Creek Walk, Bundjalung National Park

Now, if you LIVE in Byron, you can head down to Bundjalung National Park for a day trip. It’s just outside of Yamba/Iluka area, one of my fave places, and is a 10.3km loop so really will take you the full day – make sure you get out there early.

6. Tomaree Head Summit Walk, Tomaree National Park

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That VIEW – this walk near Port Stephens takes you 161 metres above it’s entrance. The beach views are spectacular, and you’ll work up a sweat too.

7. Aboriginal Heritage Walk, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

This magical walk is just outside of Sydney, and will take you past ancient rock art and engravings by the local Indigenous peoples of the area, including Red Hands Cave.

8. Cliff Top Walking Track, Blue Mountains National Park

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One of the most popular Blue Mountains day hikes, the Cliff Top Track is still ridiculously breathtaking even if you’ve done it a million times. It just doesn’t lose it’s sparkle.

9. Bynguano Range Walking Track, Mutawintji National Park

Wayyyy out near Broken Hill lies a spectacular national park with some great day hikes, like the Bynguano Range track. It’s rocky and outback-heavy, so at Grade 5 it’s not for newbies. That being said, if you can handle it you’ll cop phenom vistas and some amazing Aboriginal rock art.

10. Forest Path, Royal National Park

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Royal National Park is so close to Sydney, so heading there for day hikes is practically mandatory. The forest path walk is major rainforest vibes, and as a 4.4km loop gives you plenty of time to sleep in before you head there.

11. Grove Creek Falls Track, Abercrombie Karst Conservation Reserve

A short way out of Bathurst, this 6km return track takes you to THAT gorgeous waterfall. The perf spot for a picnic, no?

12. Grand High Tops Walk, Warrumbungle National Park

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For the big kahunas – this 14.5km loop will take you 5-6 hours. Get there early, and be prepared – but if you can handle it, my god… the views.

Image: National Parks NSW