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Australia's Best Walking Trails
NEW SOUTH WALES
Sydney's Great Coastal Walk
Over seven days this 100km walk between Palm Beach and Cronulla will remind you why Sydney's coastline is so spectacular and make you wonder why you didn't do it sooner.
Opened officially in mid-2008, there are so many highlights along the way other than the beautiful beaches and ocean views. Be sure to explore Barrenjoey Lighthouse, completed in 1881; stop at Manly for cake and coffee as a well-deserved treat; and cool down with a swim at Bondi and Coogee Beaches.
If you can't do it end-to-end, create your own mini-adventure by choosing just a section of the track to conquer whether it be a day-trip, a few days, or just an afternoon outing with a picnic.
Many points along the way are accessible by public transport.
Six Foot Track, Blue Mountains
Follow the 45km trail of Australia's fifth largest marathon. It follows the original 1884 horse track that was created to take tourists from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves.
Over three days, wind up and down hills through rainforest, eucalypt forests and open-grazing country. Pretty waterfalls, caves, rivers, sandstone cliffs and green valleys will catch your attention on the way. Set up camp at each of the three campsites along the track and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the wilderness at night.
Keep an eye out for kangaroos, echidnas, wombats and possums and snakes too. When you arrive at Jenolan Caves, be sure to take a tour of one of the finest and oldest cave systems in the world to top it off.
Great Ocean Walk
Over the 100km Great Ocean Walk that hugs Victoria's stunning southern coastline, there are a range of walks on offer to tease you from easy circuits you can conquer in less than an hour to more difficult one-way hikes that will steal you away for a few hours at a time.
The track flows in such a way that hikers can choose short walk, day walk or overnight walk options.
The western end finishes just 1.5km short of the 12 Apostles visitor area, where spectacular coastline views will take your breath away or else a climb to the top of the cliffs will.
The eastern end finishes near a range of modern restaurants and cafes so you can celebrate with a delightful feast.
Throughout the Great Ocean Walk the remarkable natural wonders it's renowned for the lakes, waterfalls, beaches, national parks, cliffs and lookouts offering sweeping views will make you wonder why you didn't do it sooner.
Dry Diggings Track
If the famous 210km Goldfields Track from Ballarat to Bendigo scares you off, this easy to medium 61km section of the track will give you a taste of the historic mining landscapes in the area where gold was first discovered in the 1850s.
Over three days, starting from Lake Daylesford, the Dry Diggings Track showcases the isolated and rugged bushland in the region. Via Vaughan, Glenluce, Hepburn and Daylesford, discover ruins and artefacts from the gold rush days.
As you approach higher altitudes towards Daylesford, rows of ironbark, box and stringybark give way to candlebark and messmate forests. Keep an eye out too for wildlife such as grey kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and a variety of birds.
Fraser Island Great Walk
Catch the barge to Fraser Island and tackle the entire 90km, six to eight day Great Walk. But be prepared, because everything you will need over the entire walk you must carry on your own back. Experience the ever-changing landscape, from woodland to subtropical rainforest, coastal heathland and mangrove forest.
Set up camp along the way at one of the walkers' camps, or else your own beach camp, to rest your legs and enjoy the peace of the night before continuing on past crystal-clear lakes, coloured sands and vast sand dunes tomorrow.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, get in early to organise your camping permit places can be fully booked months in advance.
If the entire week-long walk seems a bit daunting, chose from the many half- to full-day adventures instead, or an easy stroll for your chance to still glimpse the stunning scenery on display.
Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway, Wooroonooran National Park
Walk on air and experience the rainforest from a different point of view in the canopy, 15 metres above the ground floor. This $10 million, 340m long rainforest walkway is the largest project ever undertaken in a Queensland national park, and it is wheelchair - and pram - friendly. It lies just 27km from the Bruce Highway turnoff so if you're on the road, this is the perfect chance to get out and stretch your legs if you don't mind a little detour, that is.
Wander along the forest track below, before experiencing the impressive views from atop the environmentally sustainable platform. A 37 metre tall observation tower will have you snap happy and feeling on top of the world... for a small price.
Tickets for the canopy walkway cost $20 per adult, $10 per child and $50 for the whole family, with discounts for pensioners. Opening hours are 9.30am to 5.30pm, with last entry at 4.30
Cape to Cape Walk, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
From Cape Naturaliste lighthouse to Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, this 135km challenge will wind you along the south-west coast, all the while showcasing the stunning coastal and forest scenery in the region.
Over five to seven days, you'll find yourself tramping along old 4WD vehicle tracks, constructed paths and natural beach sections (which are mostly sand), so you will need to be moderately fit especially if you are carrying a full pack. Stop at Canal Rocks to refill your water bottle and check out some of the cave systems within easy reach of the track.
Admire the wildflowers in bloom, look for dolphins or whales from the cliff-tops, and hope you're lucky enough to spot a southern brown bandicoot.
Kings Park Walks, Perth
If you don't have time to get away from the city, there are still walks available right on your doorstep. Pack up a picnic and enjoy it in one of the many picnic areas or grassy spots throughout Kings Park, then go for a relaxing stroll to burn it off.
Stop in at the botanic gardens to inspect some of the thousands of plant species on display, or go on an expedition to search for the rare scarp snail.
If you're looking to find out more and have your questions answered, join one of the free guided tours leaving from Fraser Avenue, outside Aspects of Kings Park, at 10.00am and 2.00pm daily.
Jatbula Trail, Nitmiluk National Park
This four-to-seven day walk will see you roam through 58km of tropical landscapes, savannah grasslands, monsoon rainforests and rocky gorges. Stop and rest your legs by the waterfalls along the way or examine the excellent Jawoyn rock art on display.
This is not just a wilderness experience but a cultural one as well. At the end of each day, set up camp and reward yourself with a dip in the water holes beside the campsites along the trail.
The Jatbula Trail can only be walked in one direction, from Katherine Gorge to Leliyn, and is closed from October to April. Due to the climate, terrain and length of the trail, it is challenging so a little bit of pre-Jatbula training may be helpful. Get in early and book as numbers are limited.
The Larapinta Trail
Take a journey through the heart of Central Australia on this internationally renowned 223km track through the West MacDonnell Ranges.
Over twenty days from Alice Springs to the summit of Mount Sonder, meander through terracotta gorges, scale steep ranges and pass through a range of desert habitats. Shimmering ghost gums, sage-coloured Spinifex, and some of the world's oldest metamorphic and igneous rock will catch your eye along the way.
Be mesmerised by the beauty of the Australian outback and the spectacular views on offer. Camp out each night under a blanket of stars and get up at sunrise for the spectacular show.
Along the Larapinta Trail you will encounter some challenging climbs and descents, but the rewards of each new day make it well worth it. If you're not so sure about completing the track end-to-end, create your own mini-adventure by choosing just a section of the track to conquer.
Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Hike
Just 15 minutes from the centre of Adelaide, the city dwellers have no excuses here. This 8km bush hike, a local favourite, trails past scenic gorges, beautiful waterfalls and lush fern gullies.
A steep ascent just before the summit will make a coffee and cake in the cafι at the top well-deserved.
At the summit, sit back and enjoy city views from the highest point in the Adelaide Hills. You will also have sweeping views of the coast and Piccadilly Valley.
On the way back down to charming Waterfall Gully, keep an eye out for koalas and if you're lucky, you may even spot an echidna. Still got energy to burn?
Try one of the other trails on offer in the area or explore the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens.
For the seriously dedicated and not the faint-hearted, this world-class, 1200km journey will keep you going for weeks... about eight weeks in fact. From Cape Jervis, south of Adelaide, north to Parachilna Gorge, this is a true wilderness adventure. You will witness spectacular and varied scenery as you wind through vineyards, rugged gorges, native bushland, pine forests, farms, coastal areas and historic towns.
Through national parks and state forests, and past the Flinders Ranges, the Barossa Valley and the stunning Wilpena Pound, if you conquer the entire journey you can even get a certificate to show off to all your friends and cloth badge to sew onto your backpack or hat as proof.
Basic campsites, huts and shelters are located along the trail, but walkers should aim to be totally self-reliant. If you want to cheat every now and then, sneak in a stop at a farm stay, hotel or bed and breakfast in one of the towns along the way; or perhaps take a sunset camel ride for part of your journey.
If you're keen for a challenge, but can't do it end-to-end, create your own mini-adventure by choosing a section of the track to conquer. The Heysen Trail is generally open to walkers from April to October, and is closed during the summer Fire Danger Season. Dates can vary so be sure to check all details before you go.
The Bay of Fires Walk
If you're a beach-lover, then this is the walk for you. Over four days, meander along the pure white sands of Tasmania's north-east coast at the edge of Mt William National Park.
Extending from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, the Bay of Fires walk will lead you over shell-covered beaches, alongside rocky headlands, and past sand dunes and Aboriginal middens (shell and bone desposits).
At the end of each day, set up camp and reward yourself with a swim in the ocean to refresh and recharge. Otherwise, relax and bird-watch or try your hand at some fishing to see if you can provide a tasty seafood dinner for the night.
Fall asleep to the sound of waves rolling in and get up with the sun to continue the trail tomorrow. If camping cramps your style but you don't want to miss out there is a lodge-based, guided tour available.
Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain National Park
Enjoy this rather easy 7.5km walk around Dove Lake, a glacial lake sitting at the base of Cradle Mountain.
A very popular wilderness walk in Tasmania, this two-hour circuit follows a raised boardwalk winding its way through rainforest and past quartzite beaches, and past a variety of native plants, ancient myrtles and the deciduous beech. In late autumn, the beech's leaves turn gold and copper before they are shed for the winter ahead, creating a fascinating display for visitors.
Along the way, the spectacular views up to Cradle Mountain will repeatedly steal your attention. As a beautiful and gentle walk, this is the perfect trail for all ages and fitness levels.
*information sourced from article "Australia's best walking trails"
By Tijana Jaksic found on news.com.au
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