Multi-Day Hikes in Australia for When the Cradle Mountain Overland Is Booked Out

Multi-Day Hikes in Australia for When the Cradle Mountain Overland Is Booked Out
Contributor: David Johnston

The popularity of the Cradle Mountain Overland Track, a 6-day alpine trek in Tasmania’s highlands, has reached new heights in recent months. At one point, Tasmania’s Parks Service was forced to temporarily close registration for the upcoming hiking season after a flood of interest from hikers caused system issues. While registration did re-open, much of the season is now completely booked out.

The good news is that the Overland Track is just one of many multi-day hikes in Australia.

There are actually thru-hikes and long hiking trails right around the country, many of which are far less busy and just as fulfilling. Among the alternatives, you’ll find a convenient mix of lengths, difficulties and landscapes to hike through. They are also open at different times of the year, giving you hiking options year-round.

6 of the best multi-day hikes in Australia

Woman Hiking on the Larapinta Trail, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Larapinta Hiking Trail, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory, Australia. Getty

Three Capes Track, Tasmania

Many people will be surprised to learn that the Overland Track isn’t even the only multi-day hike in Tasmania. The Three Capes Track is a relatively new trail that opened in 2015 and has quickly made a name for itself.

Rather than crossing Tasmania’s highlands, the Three Capes Track takes hikers across the Tasman Peninsula in southeastern Tasmania. Taking four days and covering 48 kilometres, the Grade 3 track runs along the peninsula’s rolling hills and mighty cliffs.

Interestingly, the experience starts not by hiking, but with a boat ride from Port Arthur over onto the peninsula. From there, you’ll hike along the Cape Hauy and Cape Pillar, and enjoy views of the third cape – Cape Raoul – from one of the viewpoints.

Overnight accommodation on the Three Capes Track consists of cabins, equipped with mattresses and kitchens, that can sleep 48 people.

Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory

Winter can be a poor time for hiking in Australia, with many trails closed or inaccessible due to weather. But one multi-day hike in Australia that is actually at its best during the middle of the year is the Larapinta Trail.

This challenging trek takes hikers across the remote West MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia, called Tjoritja by the Aranda people, the land’s traditional owners. End-to-end, the Larapinta Trail runs a serious 230 kilometres, which is broken up into 12 sections starting at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station.

Following the trail takes you across the region’s rugged, rocky landscape into gorges and along creek beds. Almost all sections are Grade 4 or 5, meaning bushwalking experience and navigation skills are recommended. Because walking the entire trail is such a big task, many choose shorter 4 to 9-day routes instead.

Southern Prom Circuit, Victoria

Wilsons Promontory National Park is a popular holiday destination at the southernmost tip of Australia’s mainland coast. But few visitors get to see most of the Victorian promontory, which is made possible by hiking the Southern Prom Circuit.

Walking the Southern Prom Circuit can take between 3 and 5 days, depending on your pace and which route you end up taking. The shortest circuit takes hikers from Telegraph Saddle near Tidal River, across to the beaches at Sealers Cove and Little Waterloo Bay, and back up to the starting point.

Extending the hike is easily done by adding a detour to the Wilsons Promontory Lightstation, where you can even stay in a cottage if you like. It’s quite common to take this longer 59-kilometre route, as the trails remain at a Grade 3, and there are two additional campsites to break up the last legs.

Bibbulmun Hiking Track, Western Australia

If time isn’t a concern, then the Bibbulmun Track through southern Western Australia may be the trail you’ve been looking for. This extensive track covers just over 1,000 kilometres, running from the hills outside Perth through forest and bush all the way to Albany on the south coast.

But maybe you don’t have the six to eight weeks outside of summer it normally takes to complete the end-to-end hike of the Bibbulmun Track. Instead, take your pick of the 9 sections of the trail or even smaller segments within these sections.

Shorter sections of the track to consider are Collie to Balingup and Pemberton to Northcliffe. Both take 3 days and offer the comfort of staying in towns before and after the hike. The longest time between access points on the trail is four days and between towns is 12 days.

Yuraygir Coastal Walk, New South Wales

Brilliant seaside scenery awaits along the Yuraygir Coastal Walk if you can manage this considerable 4 to 5 day hike. This 65-kilometre walk runs from Angourie to Red Rock in northern New South Wales near Grafton, taking you from one end of Yuraygir National Park to the other.

On the Yuraygir Coastal Walk, you’ll spend your time walking a combination of trails, beaches, and rock platforms, some of which are only accessible at low tide or in calm seas. It’s for this reason, along with several steep sections, that the walk is a Grade 4 hike recommended for bushwalkers with some experience.

Besides walking and camping each day, your days in this land traditionally owned by the Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl nations can be spent at the beach swimming and snorkelling. Also, keep your eyes peeled for whales off the coast.

The Heysen Hiking Trail, South Australia

For a hike with incredible range and diversity of landscape and terrain, you can’t look past the Heysen Trail through South Australia. This is the longest marked trail in Australia, measuring in at a staggering 1,200 kilometres.

The Heysen Trail connects Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula with Parachilna Gorge in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges. Not only does the trail offer coastal and semi-arid mountain sections, but it also takes hikers past the vineyards of the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley.

Again, 50 to 60 days of hiking is a lot to ask, so you’ll more than likely want to narrow your focus to shorter thru-hikes on the trail. Most sections of the Heysen Trail are marked at Grade 4 or 5 difficulty, so even a few days of walking is sure to test you.

Shorter hikes to consider are the 5-day Wild South Coast Way on the Fleurieu Peninsula or the trails in the Adelaide Hills between Cudlee Creek and Tanunda.

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