Combining awe-inspiring wilderness with the comfort of guides and fabulous accommodations, these Great Walks of Australia have Jac Taylor eagerly lacing up her walking boots.
Our island home is literally defined by her coastlines: a massive, majestic string of more than 10,000 beaches tracing its way around state after state, punctuated by wilderness, abundant wildlife and so many wonderful holiday-ready towns. More than that, Australian coastal life holds a special place in our national psyche, making the journey around our shores too special to rush. Take your loved ones, take your time, and take down the names of these, some of Australia’s greatest walks along our beloved coasts.
Get your Cape on
Western Australia’s Margaret River is a region dedicated to the good life, but in the right hands, wineries and walking can go hand-in-hand. On the spectacular four-day, 41-kilometre Cape to Cape Walk, limestone caves, aquamarine waters and watching passing whales provide a natural high, while wine-tasting, exclusive spa retreats and five-course dinners keep it decidedly civilised.
A stay on stunning Lord Howe Island is incomplete without exploring the natural wonders that make it such a sought-after destination. More experienced walkers will love the Seven Peaks Walk, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes in prehistoric banyan forests, secret swimming spots, sheer cliff ledge walks – though alternatives are available if you’re not into heights – and the island’s remarkable volcanic peaks over five epic days.
The Great Ocean’s great walk
Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is famous for good reason – but we think the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk is even more amazing. This stretch of coastline might be a major tourist draw, but the four-day walk takes you well off the beaten track to see fur seals and wallabies, pristine beaches, shipwrecks and rainforest, with the luxurious Twelve Apostles Lodge making a welcoming hub from which to explore.
The great wildernesses of Tasmania are a dream for walkers, and the Bay of Fires, on the island’s north-east coast, delivers untouched expanses of sand and crystalline surf, along with boulder-strewn drama and quiet coves. The four-day walk includes an optional kayak experience on the Ansons River and two nights’ stay at the multi-award-winning Bay of Fires Lodge.
If you’re looking to dip your toe into walking for the first time, Tasmania’s Maria Island is as easy-going as it is thoroughly beautiful. A short boat trip from Hobart, the island’s national park offers deserted beaches and easy bush tracks, while the Great Walk experience provides secret beach camps, heritage accommodation, candlelit dinners and the option to walk pack-free for extra ease.
Ultimate wilderness, ultimate comfort
Known as one of Earth’s greatest beaches, Wineglass Bay is high on any walker’s bucket list, yet the Freycinet Experience Walk takes you through remote, untouched parts of this spectacular part of Tasmania while seeing nary another walker. Accommodation on a 130-hectare private sanctuary also brings the chance to fully enjoy Freycinet’s famed wilderness.