From the outback regions of the far west to the verdant wilderness areas of Tasmania, Australia is home to some of the world’s great walking tracks. Some of them can take weeks to complete, while others can be done in four or five days. Some are easy and some are hard, but they all have one thing in common: they are all great experiences. Here are 5 of Australia’s Greatest Walking Tracks:
The Larapinta Trail
The Larapinta Trail is fast becoming a legendary walking track through the heart of one of the world’s most sparsely inhabited regions – the Northern Territories. This 138 mile (223km) track takes you atop the spine of the McDonnell Ranges, down into deep gorges and through the Red Center to Alice Springs (or the other way around). It normally takes around 14 days to complete and is divided into 12 stages. If that sounds like too much for you or if you’re short on time, there are many shorter options to choose from. In fact, the Larapinta Trail is so well set up and chronicled; most of the guesswork is taken out of it, with each section graded for difficulty. The best time to go is between April and May, when temperatures during the day are not too hot and at night not too cold.
The Six Foot Track
Quite a bit closer to civilization but still a spectacular wilderness experience, the Six Foot Track in New South Wales is one of Australia’s most famous and frequently walked. Located in the beautiful Blue Mountains, just a couple of hours by car or train from Sydney, the track takes you through the Megalong Valley from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves. The 25 mile trek ideally takes about 4 days to complete and there are plenty of campgrounds along the way to choose from.
The Great Ocean Walk
If you’ve ever heard of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, you’ll know you’re in for a treat if you take the Great Ocean Walk. The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s great touring roads, but just when the coastline becomes the most breathtaking, it turns inland. When you take the Great Ocean Walk, all of this spectacular coastline is yours to enjoy. Although “only” 64 miles long, it is recommended to give yourself up to a week. You’ll want to savor every step of the trail.
The Kidman Trail
South Australia’s Kidman Trail extends for 160 miles through 3 great wine growing regions. It begins in the Barossa Valley, into Adelaide and the wineries on the outskirts of Adelaide and on to McLaren Vale. As long treks go, this is one of the most pleasant, with plenty of comfortable accommodations, restaurants and, of course, wineries to stop at for a rest or a night if you so choose. Shared by hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers, it is so beautiful, you’ll probably want to experience it in every way you can.
The Overland Track
Australia’s and one of the world’s most popular walking tracks, Tasmania’s Overland Track takes you on a magical 40 mile journey through some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever experience. It is so popular, in fact, that it is strictly controlled by National Parks Tasmania. An access fee is required and you can only walk it in one direction; from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair. In spite of, or perhaps because of these restrictions, this six day trek is often called a “life changing experience” by those who complete it. The best time to go is during the drier months between November and April, but even then, expect some rainy spells.
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