10 TOP Half Day Hikes in 10 HOT Australian Holiday Spots

Last Updated on August 19, 2020 by Red Nomad OZ

Mt Sonder from the Larapinta Trail, via Ormiston Gorge, Central Australia
Mt Sonder from the Larapinta Trail, via Ormiston Gorge, Central Australia

I’m SO not a hard-core hiker for lots of reasons. Wrong temperament. Wrong size. Wrong fitness level. And my holidays are NEVER just about the hike. Or hikes.

But although I’m the world’s slowest hiker, I like my holidays served up with a bit of hiking on the side. So my holiday destinations have to give me a hiking workout without feeling wrecked at the other end AND some different activities for when I’m over the hiking.

So my Top Ten half day hikes come packaged with their very own holiday destination. Hike to your heart’s content – but when you’re done, you’ll find plenty of different things to do.

PS Half day hikes often take me longer – so being the world’s slowest hiker will probably explain why you’re more likely to trek these trails faster than me!

1.  Kims Lookout Circuit, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

  • Where is it: Lord Howe Island is 600 km east of Sydney.
  • How to get there: Flights leave from Sydney and Port Macquarie.
  • When to go: Any time; September to June are most popular; July and August can be cold.
  • The Hike: 7 km Loop Trail; Moderate to Difficult
Looking South from Kims Lookout, Lord Howe Island
Looking South from Kims Lookout, Lord Howe Island

Going places on Lord Howe Island generally means walking or cycling – so depending on where you’re staying, just getting to the trailhead near Ned’s Beachwill add some extra mileage (why isn’t ‘kilometerage’ a word?) to the distance.

Start climbing Malabar Hill straight away and soon you’ll have sweeping views down to Neds Beach on one side and Old Settlement and northern part of the island on the other. A little higher and you’ll see Mounts Gower and Lidgbird, Balls Pyramid, highest volcanic rock stack in the world, and the Admiralty Islands. That’s if you can bear to look over the sheer cliffs plunging down, STRAIGHT down into the ocean.

North Beach and Mt Eliza from Kims Lookout, Lord Howe Island
North Beach and Mt Eliza from Kims Lookout, Lord Howe Island

The track continues along the cliff tops (don’t look down!) to Kims Lookout with magnificent views over most of the island. Then it’s just a matter of heading down to the Max Nicholls track and back via Old Settlement Beach. Luckily, you’ll pass a cafe on the way!

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  • While you’re on Lord Howe Island: Highlights include Cruises around the Island, to the Reef, North Bay and Balls Pyramid; Hiking, Water Sports, Birding, Historic Museum. MORE about Lord Howe Island

2.  Bararranna Gorge, Arkaroola, South Australia

  • Where is it: Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, 730 km north of Adelaide, Outback South Australia.
  • How to get there: Self-Drive on fully sealed roads to Copley, 600 km north of Adelaide. Arkaroola is 130 km north-east of Copley on an all weather dirt road.
  • When to go:  Anytime, but please note temperatures from November to March can be well above 30° C.  Contact Arkaroola if planning to travel during this time to avoid closures.
  • The Hike: Bararranna Gorge Loop Trail, 6.8 km, Moderate
Barraranna Riverbed Rock
Barraranna Riverbed ROCK! Arkaroola, South Australia

Actually, the hike can be a bit more than 6.8 km.

How much?

How far up the dramatic Bararranna Gorge you can get depends how much water is in Bararranna Waterhole.

Detour from the main trail to explore the gorge – an added extra to an already varied walk through a remote outback landscape scattered with waterholes, intriguing geological features (aka ‘rocks’) and wildlife.

Time passes quickly when you’re rock-hopping, admiring the dramatic cliffs, fossil-hunting and resting stopping for (endless) photos. Hunger and fatigue finally drove us back to the main track, where we finished the loop.

Only to find we’d doubled the suggested 3 hour walk time. But hey! We ARE the world’s slowest hikers!

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3.  Dales Gorge Circuit, Karijini National Park, Western Australia

  • Where is it: Karijini is 75 km East of closest town Tom Price; 1422 km north-east of Perth and 962 km south-west of Broome.
  • How to get there: Self Drive. Bitumen roads all the way on main routes; dirt roads throughout the Park.
  • When to go:  During dry season cooler months May to August; May and June are best
  • The Hike: Dales Gorge Loop combines all walks from Dales campground; ~4.5 km, moderate – Class 3 and 4, some steep sections with ladders
Dales Gorge and Fortescue Falls, Karijini National Park, Western Australia
Dales Gorge and Fortescue Falls, Karijini National Park, Western Australia

Could a track possibly lead safely down the sheer cliffs under the Three Ways Lookout to Circular Pool – 100 metres below? Of course! The REALLY steep bits have ladders! But the first part is the worst part as the track follows the winding river through groves of trees with steep RED rocky walls towering above. Actually, make that BEYOND red.

Circular Pool from Above, Karijini National Park
Circular Pool from Above, Karijini National Park

The river cascades down across treacherously slippery rock shelves as the trail winds steadily uphill towards Fortescue Falls.  Then it’s up even further to popular swimming hole, the Fern Pool. Take a break there, because it’s a steep climb out of the gorge and another 2 km back along the Gorge Rim trail to the Lookout trail head.

Just as well this remarkably scenic walk gives weary walkers plenty of reasons to stop – photos, bird watching, admiring the view – that don’t sound like ‘resting’!

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4.  Nelly Bay to Arcadia, Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland

  • Where is it: Magnetic Island is 8 km and a 20 minute ferry ride east of Townsville. The hike starts near the ferry terminal at Nelly Bay.
  • How to get there: Townsville is 1336 km north-west of Brisbane, and 347 km south-east of Cairns on fully sealed roads.
  • When to go: Anytime, but the wet season between November and April can be hot and humid.  Most popular time is during the Australian winter months June to August.
  • The Hike: Nelly Bay to Arcadia, 6 km + 2-3 km extra to walk from Arcadia back to Nelly Bay (local bus available), moderate
The mainland from the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walking trail, Magnetic Island, Queensland
The mainland from the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walking trail, Magnetic Island, Queensland

Experience life on a tropical island! AND see killer scenery from several vantage points overlooking island scenic hot spots and the mainland as the trail heads upwards through thick rainforest. It probably wouldn’t be anywhere near as tough a climb without the ever-present tropical humidity, but who cares with wildlife like Koalas and Black cockatoos on the trail?

Bottom view of Koala, Magnetic Island
Bottom view of Koala, Magnetic Island

After a detour to the Sphinx lookout, the walk ends at Arcadia aka Magnetic Island ‘suburbia’. Unless you extend the hike by taking the Junction Track to the Forts, Arthur Bay, and even Horseshoe Bay if you’ve still got the energy! Walk back to Nelly Bay – or take the regular bus service!

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5.  Jarnem Loop, Keep River National Park, Northern Territory

  • Where: The Park is 3 km east of the WA/NT border; 203 km west of Timber Creek; 68 km east of Kununurra
  • How to get there: Self Drive on fully sealed roads from Timber Creek or Kununurra. Dirt roads throughout the park.
  • When to go:  Cooler months from May to August.  Seasonal closures due to flooding from November to April
  • The Hike: Jarnem Loop Trail, 7 km, Moderate
Keep River National Park, Northern Territory
Keep River National Park, Northern Territory

The weirdly striped sandstone domes lining the Jarnem Loop trail and filling much of the landscape beyond are often described as a ‘Lite’ version of the more well known Bungle Bungles. But whether or not that’s true, the view from the fantastic 360° lookout over ranges and plains is anything but Lite!

The trail winds back down to a palm-lined valley getting much closer to the wind-scoured layers and shapes of the rounded domes. Along the creek line are caverns with Aboriginal rock art, then the trail returns to the picnic area.  And although it was peak tourist season, we had it all to ourselves!

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6.  Mt Abrupt, Grampians, Victoria

  • Where: Mt Abrupt is in the Southern Grampians near Dunkeld, 280 km west of Melbourne
  • Getting there: Self-Drive to Gariwerd (Grampians National Park) and the Grampians Region on fully sealed roads. Dunkeld is 64 km south of the more central Halls Gap.
  • When to go:  Anytime. Spring (Sept – Nov) best for wildflowers.
  • The Hike: 6.5 km return, Moderate to Difficult.
Signal Peak and the Serra Range from Mt Abrupt Summit Trail

It’s got one of the most spectacular views of the wilder parts of the Grampians, but the view of Mt Abrupt’s forbidding sheer cliffs from Dunkeld make it look a LOT more difficult to climb than it really is. The trailhead starts just north of Dunkeld and climbs steadily through the bushland. After passing Signal Peak, the views unfold all the way to the summit over the Victoria Range and Valley, Serra Range, Southern plains and Dunkeld.

Returning via the same route means a chance to catch up on the photos you were too knackered to take on the way up!

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7.  Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, Queensland

  • Where is it: 220 km (136 miles) north-west of the Burke and Wills Roadhouse, between Cloncurry and Normanton;
  • How to get there: Self-Drive. Take National Route 83 from Cloncurry. At the Burke and Wills Roadhouse, take State Route 84 – the Wills Development Road – to Gregory Downs. Boodjamulla is 100 km from Gregory Downs on a dirt road.
  • When to go:  Dry season from May to October.  Roads can be impassable during the wet.
  • The Hike: Several Hikes from 2-7 km, varying degrees of difficulty. The combined hike suggestion below is about 8 km, moderate to difficult.
Lawn Hill Upper and Middle Gorges, Boodjamulla National Park, Queensland
Lawn Hill Upper and Middle Gorges, Boodjamulla National Park, Queensland

It takes more than one walk to do Lawn Hill justice and discover everything this stunning blend of towering red cliffs, crystal clear water, palms, bushland, crocodiles, spa-like cascades, lookouts, giant carp and magnificent vistas has to offer. Chances are it’ll be HOT whatever time of year you’re there – and if you’ve come all this way you’d be mad to leave without seeing it all. So combine some of the shorter walks into a longer hike – or avoid heatstroke, stay a few days and do them one by one!

Lawn Hill Gorge Rim
Lawn Hill Gorge Rim

That way you’ll have time for the other activities!

But for the full experience in just one day, start early and take the Middle Gorge track to Duwadarri and Indarri Lookouts. Return the same way, or take the loop down the cliffs and back to the campground. Then do the Island Stack loop, and finish up by taking the Cascades detour – may as well have a natural spa before returning to the campground.

And don’t say I didn’t tell you to stay an extra day!

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8.  Mt Kosciuszko Summit, via Jindabyne, New South Wales


View over Lake Cootapatamba, Australia's highest lake, Kosciuszko Track
View over Lake Cootapatamba, Australia’s highest lake, Kosciuszko Track
  • Where is it: The Mt Kosciuszko summit can be reached either from Thredbo, 212 km south-west of Canberra; or Jindabyne, about 34 km from Thredbo.
  • Getting There: A number of routes access Thredbo, Jindabyne and the Kosciuszko National Park. The best route will depend from which direction you’re heading.
  • When to go:  Anytime, but the track is generally snowbound from June to October – you can reach the summit on cross-country skis or snowshoes, but the track had no snow poles.
  • The Hike: 13 km return, Class 3 Moderate (from Thredbo); or alternatively18.6 km return, Class 3 Moderate (from Charlotte Pass).

En route from Thredbo to Mt Kosciuszko’s summit (Australia’s highest mountain), you’ll see Charlotte Pass (Australia’s highest permanent settlement) where Australia’s lowest temperature (-23° C) was recorded, Australia’s highest lake (Lake Cootapatamba) and Australia’s highest Public Loo (Rawsons Pass).

Kosciuszko National Park from Mt Kosciuszko Summit
Kosciuszko National Park from Mt Kosciuszko Summit

A long ride up the Kosciuszko Express chair lift from Thredbo quickly knocks off 600 metres of altitude.  Then it’s a 6.5 km undulating walk to the summit on a specially constructed raised walkway protecting the fragile alpine vegetation beneath. Congratulations! You’ve climbed a Seven Summits peak!!

Hard to believe that back in the good old days you could drive nearly to the top – so the trickiest part of your climb will be to convince everyone how difficult it was!

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9.  Ormiston Gorge and Pound, Central Australia, Northern Territory

  • Where is it: Ormiston Gorge is in the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park, 135 km west of Alice Springs.
  • How to get there: Self-Drive on fully sealed roads from Alice Springs.
  • When to go:  Anytime, but April to October is best for hiking.
  • The Hike: Ormiston Gorge and Pound Loop, 7 km, Moderate
Ormiston Gorge and Pound walk, West MacDonnell Ranges
Ormiston Gorge and Pound walk, West MacDonnell Ranges

Every kilometre the scenery changed. A steep gorge gave way to a hillside dotted with wildflowers and stunning views of Mount Sonder before descending into a spinfex-strewn valley leading up onto a scree-strewn saddle to a lookout over the Pound, ringed with rugged ranges. Down into the pound, across two creeks, then rock-hopping the gorge, red walls towering above us.

At the end of the gorge – only a kilometre to go – recent rain meant the final creek was running higher than usual. Sadly, I hadn’t yet mastered the art of levitation, so I chose to wade through the frigid water – a kilometre in wet underwear WAY better than a 6 km back-track! If you get lucky and don’t need to choose, I say you’ll be missing a super-COOL experience!

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10.  Deep Creek Cove, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

  • Where is it: Deep Creek Conservation Park is on the Fleurieu Peninsula, 108 km south of Adelaide
  • How to get there: Self Drive along Main South Road from Adelaide, about 1.5 hours.
  • When to go:  March – May and September – November.  Summer (Dec – Feb) is dry and hot with temperatures from 30-35.  Winter (Jun – Aug) is wet, so tracks can be slippery.
  • The Hike: Deep Creek Cove from Trig Picnic Area, 6.4 km return, Moderate
Deep Creek Conservation Park Coastline, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
Deep Creek Conservation Park Coastline, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

Deep Creek Cove is accessible from two points: a moderate, but longer hike from Trig Picnic Area, and a shorter, more difficult hike from Tappanappa Lookout. But for us, two attempts = two FAILS and I’ve NEVER reached the Cove!

On our first attempt (via Trig) I was off work after an eye operation so we’d decided to explore. That was wrong. VERY wrong. And you’ll be glad to know I was punished for breaking the sick leave rule by actual illness when my eye turned to the dark side and I couldn’t finish the hike. My bad.

‘Where are those explosions coming from?,’ I wondered aloud to Pilchard on our 2nd attempt from Tappanappa as we started down the hill. ‘I didn’t know there was a quarry in the area’. Turns out there wasn’t and the explosions we heard were actually thunderclaps heading our way. So we abandoned the hike, scuttled back to the car and leftf the park before the rains hit the dirt roads.

The Deep Creek Cove hikes and several others (including the Deep Creek waterfall hike which I actually HAVE done), combine to make up the 10.9 (and much more difficult) Deep Creek Circuit. And at this rate it’ll only take me another 10 years to finish it all.

In the meantime, if YOU get to Deep Creek Cove before I do, let me know what it’s like!

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Mt Abrupt from Dunkeld Arboretum
Mt Abrupt in the Morning, from Dunkeld Arboretum

There are lots more hikes in Australia and I know I’ve probably missed some good ones.  What’s YOUR favourite half day hike holiday hot spot?

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  1. Australia is blessed with so much nature (and I am really sorry to read about how the wildfires are destroying so much of it now!) and you’ve listed some really amazing hikes here. After reading the description and looking at the pictures, I would pick Kim’s lookout circuit for several reasons – I love coastal views and the view of Neds Beach below is breathtaking. Also, it’s about 7 kms, totally doable, and as you mention, moderately tough which is what would suit me!

    1. Australia will bounce back from the bushfires, Medha – and there is still a lot of the country not affected. The Kims Lookout hike is one of my favourites too – hope you get to experience it one day!

  2. I am a sucker for a good hike trail and Australia has been on my list for a very long time. Glad to inform that I am currently planning my trip to Australia for this summer and I would surely love to add some of these places in your recommendation list. I surely agree that when you go on tough hikes you should always pick your partners wisely, someone that you can share your pace with.

    1. Looking forward to seeing where you decide to go when you visit Australia, Daniel! There’s a lot to see and do so choosing places to visit can sometimes be overwhelming 😀 Happy hiking!!

  3. I travelled to Australia many years ago when I wasn’t a hiker or a great outdoors person compared to how I am now, and I feel I missed out on so much. I really love these great hiking ideas and the canyons as well as all the viewpoints, especially the first one : Kims Lookout Circuit, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales. I have read how the great outback can be really tough but I feel I am ready for it when I see all these pictures!

    1. It’s always nice to revisit places you once went to in your earlier life, Pashmina – if you’ve changed so much, it’ll be like visiting a new country! The outback can be very rewarding if you take care 😀

  4. Love a great half day hike. I might be right there with you as one of the world’s slowest hikers. 🙂 Great variety in your list, both water and desert and bush views. We’ve visited Oz many times but haven’t really done any hiking except the Blue Mountains.

    1. Haha, there’s no shame in being a slow hiker, Debra – I might just start up a support group!! The Blue Mountains are great … but they’re only a VERY small part of the Aussie natural attraction collection 😀

  5. I have been wanting to get into the hiking experience for some time now but with young kids as my travel buddies this has not gone as I would have liked to. I have not travelled down under yet and plan to go there next year and the kids would be a bit more older so this post is a perfect start for me to start planing. What a view from Lord Howe Island and even though it is 600 km east of Sydney would be one I would not miss for anything. I would be in touch with you before I start for sure for some tips. Thanks for sharing a new Australia with me and making me think of hiking again.

  6. All 10 hikes mentioned look interesting to me. Good information on each of them. I was scanning for the easiest among these :P 
    Only 6 and 7 seems difficult and others moderate. May be I will choose one among those.

  7. I feel you about not being a great hiker. Aside from the lack of physical expertise, I actually really enjoy hiking slowly to take in the view. For the Kims lookout, is there no railing at all? How thin is the trail? The Dales gorge circuit looks beautiful. Glad there’s a swimming hole to cool off in before the hike back. Did you swim? I tend to avoid that type of thing, but my kids love it. Do you know why it’s called Magnetic Island? Is it actually magnetic? Or just a name? Bad luck about having to wade through the river at the Ormiston Gorge. In all honesty, I think I would rather back-track than wade through water up to my waist. I’m not brave enough for that.

    1. Slow hiking is one of the joys of life, Rhonda – I hike as much for the scenery, wildlife, wildflowers and photos as for the exercise! The Kims Lookout trail is quite narrow and close to the cliff edge, but you’d have to step over the vegetation to go over the cliff 😀 I didn’t swim at Dales Gorge, but certainly will next time!! Magnetic Island was so named because it apparently had a magnetising effect on Captain Cook’s compass when he was exploring the Aussie coastline – I didn’t notice it when I was there, but I wasn’t carrying a compass! As for Ormiston Gorge, if I hadn’t seen a number of other hikers safely navigating the river, I would have been reluctant to do it myself too! But hey – it’s an adventure, right??!!

  8. We are starting to collect ideas for our trip to Australia in 2020. You have collected an amazing collection of spots to add to our travel agenda. I did not realize how amazing the National Parks are in Australia. I sure hope that many are safe from the fires. Thanks for putting difficulty levels on the hikes you included. Some great teases to start to get us excited.

    1. There is an amazing array of natural attractions and a great range of habitats in Australia’s National Parks, Linda – even if you don’t do the hikes, they’re still amazing places to visit 😀 All these hikes are (so far) not affected by bushfires. Enjoy your trip!

  9. Doesn’t matter what your ability is, if you can hike, even if it’s for a few kilometers and you get to check out some of the beauty that this world offers, then you are amazing. I am a hiker also and tend to go for a little bit longer each day but I love my mountain hikes. I havent done any hiking in Australia yet but would love to check out some of these paces. They look so beautiful. I just hope the recent bushfires haven’t ruined these places.

    1. My shameful secret is that I’m the world’s slowest hiker, Danik – so while these hikes might be a couple of hours or half a day for experienced trekkers, most of them would take me the whole day!! But in my defence, I take a lot of photos and my partner is a birdo, so we stop quite a lot!! As far as I know, all the hikes in this post are (so far) not affected by the bushfires.

  10. We truly live in the lucky country, eh! So many amazing places to see all over the place. Cheers for the useful insight; still plenty more for us to tick off!

  11. I’m with you Red. I like a hike but I don’t want it to be too long or too hot. My best intentions don’t always measure up to what I can actually feel comfortable doing. Glad to see you have included my favourite hike in Western Australia, Dales Gorge. A nice swim before the return walk always helps in the heat. Swim in your clothes makes the walk back much easier.

    1. Haha, those best intentions are always tricky to deal with, Jill! Dales Gorge is one of my favourite hikes too, although it wasn’t too hot the only time I did it so I didn’t feel like a swim. Would love to do it again one day 😀

  12. Thanks for your post to remind my trip. If you love hiking Australia is the best place. Personally I have done with Barraranna Riverbed and Lawn Hill.

  13. I’m all for moderate-easy half day walks – so I’m with you Red. My tip for Dales George, where I have been several times is to walk in at the Fortescue Falls end, have a quick dip in Fern Pool, and then climb out at the Circular Pool end. This way the walk in is relatively easy and the climb out – steeply up and including ladders is much easier than climbing down. Well in my opinion anyway. Happy hiking!

    1. I’ll have to try your suggestion next time we are there, Jill – we did it the other way around and while there’s a lot to be said for having a swim at the end of the walk, I was pretty tired by then!! And yes, I agree that going UP a ladder is way better than going down!!

  14. Wow! Thanks for such a helpful post. My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Australia next year so I’m going to keep this in mind when we’re there. I knew that Australia was beautiful but I never realized how diverse the scenery was so thanks for sharing your amazing photos with us. I’m also glad that there are some good half day hikes available to choose from as sometimes we simply don’t want to spend the whole day on foot. Thanks a lot for this – added it to my favorites and I’ll definitely be back once we make it to Australia!

    1. Haha, everyone thinks Australia is just beaches and desert – but there’s a lot more in between, Stefan! I hope you get to see a lot more than just the usual places and get to try out some of these great hikes 😀

  15. I feel like the Kims Lookout Circuit has views on par with those in Indonesia and Bali! I’m more into ocean views as I hike so Nelly Bay to Arcadia would be another hike I would try.

    1. Well, Kim’s Lookout is on a small Pacific Island, so I guess there’s a connection Gina! But there’s a LOT more hikes I had to leave out or I would’ve had the world’s longest post, haha!

    1. Thank you Agness! All of the trails are challenging to me – but I am not super fit. If you have a moderate level of fitness you would be able to do them all fairly easily – but of course you would need proper hiking boots, comfortable clothing, water, food/snacks and sunscreen (always in Australia!).

  16. If I had known about the Magnetic Island hike, I would probably have made this a stop on our East Coast tour last year… shame. Have the Grampians meanwhile fully recovered after those devastating fires in late 2013/early 2014? And Mt. Kusciuszko is definitely on the list – that would make me a two-summit climber, having done Mt. Kilimanjaro three years ago. I’m missing a little bit the hike around Kings Canyon in the Outback. But, to be honest, that’s the only hike in Australia I’ve done so far, so I can’t judge whether it should be in the Top10 or not…

    1. The Grampians keeps being affected by fires followed by floods followed by fires, Dennis. So ‘fully recovered’ isn’t a phrase I’d use, but they’re certainly still able to be visited and enjoyed – you’d just need to get advice on which parts are open. Good luck with climbing 2 summits – I suspect I will only ever be a 1 summit climber!! Kings Canyon certainly DOES deserve to be on the list – it’s a great hike – but I thought I’d put in hikes that fewer people are aware of for this post!

    1. Hope you get to see a few of these hikes for yourself, Vidyut! I always recommend proper hiking boots – trails can be rocky, uneven and gravelly with shifting stones, so good footwear is essential. As for clothing, just make it comfortable! Always check the weather conditions where you’ll be hiking – some of the hikes (eg Mt Kosciuszko) have changeable conditions, so you might need to take extra layers.

  17. I’d totally love to do the Lord Howe hike – that’s definitely on my list!! This is such a great comprehensive list and unfortunately I can’t say I’ve done one of these! Awesome tips for each destination – well done!
    Kristie – you.theworld.wandering

    1. Lord Howe Island would probably be on everyone’s list if they could see what it looks like, Kristie!! But if you haven’t done ANY of these, then I guess this post makes a great starting point!!

  18. I am totally like you – I am not a MASSIVE hiker, but I do love a good hike here and there on holiday. I must say, I lived in Australia for 8 years and never got to do any of these hikes that you have suggested! I can’t believe it. And they look so beautiful! I have loved hiking in Noosa, Byron Bay, Hunter Valley etc. But some of these spots looks like next level beautiful. The red cliffs of Lawn Hill sounds amazing and I hope when I am back in QLD next that I will get to experience this and do this hike justice!

  19. Like you Red, I’m a slow hiker. Much better – you get to smell the roses! Not that I suspect there are many on the hikes you mention particularly Karijini, which I’m dead keen to get to soon. Your photos of all the hikes are as ever, spectacular, and I’ve bookmarked several for future adventures – Lord Howe looks so scenic.

    1. Haha, not so many roses, but PLENTY of wildflowers, birds, animals and scenic views, Jo – all of which are mighty fine excuses to slow down (read: stop) and take a photo (read: have a rest), haha!

  20. Oh wow, love this post. So many hiking posts seem to almost be showing off how hard core the writer is, which is great if you’re into hardcore trekking but this is fantastic for those of us who want to be able to see some beautiful places but are neither of the temperament or fitness to do those major treks. I love the ones with coast or river views the best, so beautiful. Bookmarking!

    1. Hey, you won’t get ‘hard core’ hiking from me, Kavey!! And I’m so glad I’m not alone – it’s all about the scenery and the experience for me, not how fast I can do it!! It was REALLY hard to cut it down to just 10- there’s a lot more out there, so look out for Part 2!

  21. Oh wow this list is definitely handy for non hard core hikers like me! Australia sure doesn’t have any scarcity when it comes to awesome views and hikes! Would definitely like to tick some off of your list when I get there.

    1. Haha, I knew there were more of us non-hard-core hikers out there Darlene! This is just a small cross section of hikes – you’ll have to come down and discover all the ones I haven’t listed here 😀

  22. Oh, I knew I was going to be wowed the second I started reading this article. Can Australia get any prettier? Seriously. These are such great hikes. I want to go on them all, if only for the scenery and views!

  23. I’m like you – I enjoy hiking but I’m a slow hiker. 🙂 I’d LOVE to return to Australia and do some of these hikes, though! Gorgeous views!!

    1. I’ve been a bit surprised how many slow hiker confessions I’ve had in the comments for this post, Cate! I reckon there’s enough to start an international slow hiking movement, haha!

  24. I say this to myself all the time….I”m not cut out for hiking. And now I read what you say about wrong temperament, wrong size and wrong fitness level. Seeing posts like these, makes me question everything and say…why not? Maybe I will give it a shot, one day.

    1. Haha – if I can hike then pretty much anyone can, Punita! Even though it’s not my natural thing, it’s sometimes the only way to see a place properly!! Go for it 😀

  25. I always believe that it’s not how fast you go. What’s important is you don’t let things stop you from having a great adventure. Also, taking things slow is a good thing, too. You breathe in the vibes of the place more. You are inspiring people who have the same sentiments as you, girl. Keep saying yes to adventure!!! <3

    1. It’s amazing how many people seem to embrace the ‘slow hiker’ thing, Trisha! The longer I’m there, the more I feel as if I’ve immersed myself in my surroundings – and the hike is just a vehicle to embrace the natural world!

  26. Interesting list. I always try and add some bit of adventure in my itineraries. Adding a couple of these hikes should be good. Thanks for the elaborate details on them.

    1. Yes, it’s good to mix it up a bit, Indrani! We like variety too – a bit of exploring, a scenic drive, a hike, a museum. It’s the best way to see a place. IMHO, of course!

  27. This list is gold! I always try to hike on each country I’m visiting but I’m not a hard core so I just try 2-3 hours trail. Will keep this guide saved for my trip in Australia.

    1. These are perfect if you don’t want to spend every minute of your holiday on the hiking trail, Christine!! I hope you get to try some of them out – although then you’ll probably see how slow a hiker I really am 😀

  28. Unlike you I am a fan of hiking and whenever I travel I will add hiking to my plan. I have bookmarked this piece for when I am going to visit Australia. I needed this 🙂 Thanks.

    1. Glad it’s useful, Mansoureh! Don’t get me wrong – I DO like hiking, but I’m just slow!! I guess that means I spend longer out in the natural attractions though, doesn’t it?!

  29. Thank you so much for this amazing list of hikes in Australia. Many of these I hadn’t heard of before! Good to know these can be done in half a day too. I love all of your pictures and really appreciate the info you provided. Definitely pinning this to reference when we plan our trip to Australia!

    1. They’re mostly half a day if you’re hiking at normal speed – but if you’re a slow hiker like me it’ll take a bit longer, Jen! Hope you get to do some of them for real one day!

  30. What an amazing list! It is so useful and comprehensive. For a slow hiker like me, this is gold! 🙂 The views from North Beach and Mt Eliza from Kims Lookout, Lord Howe Island are just so magnificent. would love to do a couple of these some day! 🙂

    1. Haha, I’m thinking of starting a world-wide ‘slow hiker’ movement Divyakshi! I think there are more of us around than I first thought!! Hope you get to do some of these hikes one day – I bet you won’t regret it 😀

  31. Ok, I need to go to Lord Howe Island! It’s the second time I’ve heard about it and seen pictures of it this week and it looks amazing! 7kms sounds doable too, and with views like that, it’s worth it! I’m just starting to get into hiking and I love this list! Dales Gorge Circuit at Karijini National Park looks breathtaking and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I would love to do that one day (but maybe get my fitness a bit up beforehand). Jindabyne is close enough to us, but the hikes in Queensland have caught my attention! I’m bookmarking this for when I have some more annual leave and can explore our backyard a bit more!

    1. Yes, EVERYONE should be so lucky to go to Lord Howe Island, Kim! It must be a sign if you’ve seen it twice this week – it’ll make a nice spring break!! I’m basically a lazy hiker, so if I can do these hikes, then most people should be able to. Just take it easy – my best trick is to take a lot of photos because then no one knows you’re having a rest break!!!

    1. Yes, I wouldn’t travel halfway across the country just to take a half day hike, Natasha – so it helps that there are other things to do in each of these places!

  32. You’ve got me itching to hike in Australia now! Looks absolutely incredible! Mt. Abrupt would be my top choice for sure! Although Kim’s Lookout looks very nice as well!

  33. We haven’t been to Australia but it’s definitely on our list. The first hike, Kim’s Lookout Circuit at Lord Howe looks so beautiful and seems an easy enough place to get to from Sydney. I’d love to one day hike there and catch a snack at the cafe to enjoy those gorgeous views.

    1. It’s just a short flight from Sydney to Lord Howe Island, Brenda – but a long way to go to sit at a cafe, haha! Only kidding – the hike is great too, but it’s also fun just to hang out there!

  34. Wow, what a collection of hikes! Love the diversity in landscape and skill levels. Hiking is one of our favorite things to do on holiday, and we always try to seek them out on our travels. I would love to do the coastal Deep Creek walk. The scenery looks amazing!

    1. I agree, Drew – hiking is one of the best ways to really get to see the local landscape. And I’d love to actually finish the Deep Creek walk one day – see you there, haha!

  35. I should really see more of my home country, there are some truly beautiful places that you’ve captured. Thank you for sharing some lovely hikes through Australia.

  36. Super post! Like you, I like to include some hikes when I visit a new country. In Australia, I had to cancel the Grampians hike but I did the blue mountains (perfect for independent travelers), a bit of Larapinta Trail and the day hikes around the red centre. If you want to be close to perfection, I suggest you to add the best months to do these hikes (may be obvious for Australians, less for foreigners). For my part I have pinned, bookmarked and flipped your post. Thanks!!!

    1. Thank you Elisa – that’s a great suggestion and I’ll add it in. You’re right – it’s often obvious to us Aussies, but we also forget our seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere and that adds another layer of confusion!

  37. All these 10 hikes look really the stuff of exhilarating experiences. The one thing I really love about hikes is the opportunity to get close to nature which is such a high. Australia seems a haven for outdoors and nature lovers and all these treks bring out the best of the spirit of the outdoors.

    1. It’s a lot easier to get away from it all down here, Sandy N Vyjay – such a big geographic area with a relatively small population means you can generally find somewhere close to nature, away from the crowds! On many of these hikes, if we saw anyone at all, it was only 2 or 3 other people! That’s the way I like it!

  38. This is such useful information. Thank you for the share. I have always wanted to go to Australia and would love to hike the region. But finding manageable half day hikes is a challenge. I will keep your list in mind when I finally go. Thank you!

  39. I’m with you – I used to be big into long hikes and treks, though now I’m happy with shorter half day adventures. Lord Howe Island is on my bucketlist, so Kims Lookout Circuit is noted. We went to Jindabyne last year around now and went to hike the Sentinel trail, which is supposed to be spectacular, but when we got to the top to start hiking across the rim, 120 kph winds and fog so thick we had to turn back – crazy, but made for a memorable day! Will have to get back and do the Kozi hike too 🙂

    1. ‘Adventure’ sounds SO much more appealing than ‘trek’, doesn’t it? But lets face it Meg – maybe it means these days we’re just more into instant gratification??!! Our biggest fail was on a track on Mt Bartle Frere – it was actually a long, several day hike, but we planned to walk it for a couple of hours to a waterfall then return. We actually made it about 50 metres down the track but it was a) VERY muddy and b) raining VERY heavily! I guess that’s what you get from one of the wettest places in OZ, haha!

  40. I love hiking too, even though I’m not in the best shape for it, but it’s all about those spectacular views and the memories you make along the way. Love love the view of Lord Howe Island, it’s worth all the panting and tired feet 😉

    1. Haha, I’m not in the best shape either, Vlad – why do you think I chose the half day hikes??!! But you’re right – getting to the high point makes it all worthwhile!

  41. I haven’t done any hikes in years (since I got ill) but this write up is the first that’s gotten me a bit jealous. Maybe on day I can give it a bash

    1. Jealousy can sometimes be a good motivator, Suvarna! Sorry to hear you are ill, but hope that won’t stop you from getting outdoors – maybe on some more gentle hikes. Good luck!

  42. I did a lot of hikes in Australia but I haven’t done half of this. Now more reason to go back. These are just half days ? I feel like it will take a full day for me. But the views are lovely.

    1. Most of them are actually full day for me too, Karla – it’s just that I’m a VERY slow hiker, so it takes me a lot longer!! I hope you get to do some more travel – and hiking – downunder someday!

  43. I done half of the Magnetic Island trek and the heat completely wiped me out. Thankfully I’m not a keen hiker so i own’t put myself true that again. Loved the pictures though, I’ll pretend i took part ha.

  44. Good to know I am not the worlds slowest hiker! 😉 Great post, you have some amazing pics here! Not sure when we will make it to Oz but Mount Abrupt has just gone to the top of the list!

    1. Haha, maybe I need to set up a ‘slow hiker’ movement – or at least a support group, Sarah! Are you in?? Seriously, hope you make it down here one day and get to see them all for real!

  45. Gorgeous photos! These hikes look amazing – we’re not big hikers (mostly because we have a three year old) but this has made me want to try some out!

    1. HAha, a 3 year old might just cramp your hiking style a bit, Jodie! But you can always leave her in the mini-club, right??!! Hiking really is a great way to see the view 😀

  46. I love the photo from Deep Creek Cove. I’m an avid hiker and I’d love to someday explore the trails in Australia. On my first trip, I visited for just five days (such a shame I know for a country that size) after a trip to New Zealand where there was plenty of hiking, so I was a bit exhausted and only visited cities. Next time maybe.

    1. Deep Creek has an amazing coastline – although it was very hazy the day we visited, it’s still spectacular and dramatic – we also saw hang gliders there! Hope you make it back one day, Natasha – those hikes will still be waiting for you down here:D

  47. Oh to be young enough to do some to do those hikes now. I have been to some of those places when younger. I loved Lord Howe Island, the Grampians, Fleurieu Peninsula, Magnetic Is and Lawn Hill. My dream is to climb Mt Koscuiszko before I pop my clogs. Two of my favourite walks are Wine Glass bay in Tasmania and Bald Rock near Tenterfield.

    1. I’m glad these have brought back some happy memories for you, Diane! But you’re one ahead of me – I didn’t do any hiking in Tassie, so I’m looking forward to doing Wine Glass Bay myself one day! I LOVE Bald Rock, but I only hiked via the cowardly route through the bush, not the straight up and down one! Mt Kosciuszko is long, rather than difficult – but I do remember ‘climbing’ it when I was a child! In those days you could drive nearly to the top, haha!!

  48. Wow, spectacular. I’ve done the two Western Macdonnell hikes and Mt William (not Mt Abrupt) in the Grampians. Next year I’m hoping to get to Lord Howe Island.
    Thanks for compiling this list and sharing it. I’ll try and do them all one day. Cheers

    1. I hope you enjoy Lord Howe Island as much as I did, Katherine! The main hike is beyond my capabilities – Mt Gower is a 14 km all day guided hike up ~900 metres of exposed ridges and cliffs. If you can do it, it’d be marvellous! But if not, Kim’s Lookout is awesome too! Good luck!!

  49. THis is something I have to bookmark for my next hiking adventures in Australia. I love hiking but haven’t done much in Australia. Firstly because I travel solo and while I like hiking on my own I don’t do long ones. Last year I visited the Binna Burra in Queensland and did the Daves Creek Circuit. It’s one of the 24 hiking trails in the Binna Burra Section. Amazing place. I hope to do more hikes in Australia either on my own or in a small group.

    1. Most of these will be perfect for you then, Michela! If I can do them, you know they will be not too dangerous or difficult! I have only been to Binna Burra once on a day trip and loved it – we keep planning to go back and stay there, but haven’t yet. If you are looking for group hikes, have you tried the ‘meetup’ platform? There may be a group doing hikes in the area you’re interested in – I haven’t used it myself, but it’s a non-threatening way to meet people and do group activities based on specific interests – like hiking!

  50. Nice information about beautiful hiking trails across Australia. What I like the most is that they can all be done in small amount of time like half a day. I will try some of these out when I go to Australia

    1. A half day hike like these ones will give you the chance to get out and see some extraordinary sights without committing to a lengthy time or a higher level of fitness. I’m looking forward to seeing which ones you decide on, Neha!

  51. Haha. I’m also a slow hiker. My friends get frustrated when they go hiking with me. But, it does not really matter. So long we get to enjoy the beauty of the island and bike at our paces.

  52. I haven’t done any of these walks sadly. I must remedy this somehow. I have completed hikes at Kilbarri National Park, The Bungle Bungles and Natmiluk National Park and these were pretty warm. I was just looking at one in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. But I would also love to do the Three Capes Walk in Tassie. There are so many, but probably not as “hot” as the ones you have so eloquently highlighted.

    1. It was so hard narrowing it down to just 10 ‘hot’ hikes, Kathy – like you, I’ve also hiked at Kalbarri and Natmiluk, but I’ve never been to the Bungle Bungles, and I haven’t done any hikes in Tassie. I could have done the whole post about hikes in the NT – it seems to have more than its fair share of great hikes of this length!

  53. I’m not a big hiker, so I love that you share your photos of your hikes with us. Here in New England (USA, not Aussie), I think anywhere along the Appalachian Trail or Long Trail in Vermont will be good for views. Christie

    1. I’ve seen some stunning photos of the Appalachians Christie – it’d be great to do some hiking there! Although I’m really NOT a hard core hiker, I like a good hiking workout 😀

  54. I don’t know why I haven’t been seeing your posts for ages but it’s really good to see your wonderful photos again. You really are the ultimate tourist guide! I can no longer hike (or sit very long at a computer to read blogs) thanks to the (insert nasty word) that is osteo but I have no objection to living vicariously. Thank you.

  55. I’m not a hard core hiker either Red. But I am glad to say that I have been on 3 of these hikes – Dales Gorge, which I must say is my favourite gorge walk at Karijini, Keep River in NT, on a stinking hot day even though we arrived early in the morning, and part at least of Ormiston Gorge. Wonderful post as always Red. But, where are the loos with views? LOL Happy travels!

    1. Haha, I was going to include some loos, Jill – but hey! It’s a blog post about hiking!! Although now you mention it there is a connection, haha! I suspect it’s always pretty hot at Keep River, and Dales Gorge was my fave too! Let’s talk again when you’ve done all the others 😀

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