More than 4.3 million domestic and international overnight visitors last year choose to hike in NSW as part of a holiday experience. What makes this even more significant is that they’re not just heading to the usual haunt of the Blue Mountains. Across the state there are loads of amazing places to hit the trails, not just for a hike, but a run!
Here are some of NSW’s great trails, as well as some hidden gems just waiting to be explored:
- The Seven Peaks Walk is one of the newest walks to join the list of Great Walks of Australia. This challenging hike on Lord Howe Island is for experienced hikers, with a few sections of the walk off-track and requiring a steady head for heights.
- For a coastal trek, try the three-day Light to Light walk which hugs the coastline between Boyds Tower and Green Cape Lightstation in Ben Boyd National Park on the Sapphire Coast. If hiking in luxury is more your style, Light to Light Camps can carry your gear, set up camp each night and cook your dinner, all while you enjoy the walk at your leisure.
Secluded and unspoilt
- Explore the secluded beaches and spectacular cliffs while hiking the rugged coastline of the Kangarutha Walking Track in Bournda National Park near Tathra on the South Coast. Suitable for most ages, this moderately challenging hike is 9km each way.
- The Murray Valley Regional and National Parks, near Mathoura on the Murray River, are home to part of the world’s largest stand of River Red Gums. The short walks in and around this park take you through stunning red gums and to an impressive Ramsar-listed wetlands, Reed Beds Wetland.
- Part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, Washpool National Park, between Grafton and Glen Innes, offers wonderful undisturbed wilderness including the world’s largest stand of coachwood trees. With walks ranging from just a few hours to multiple days, the 45km Gibraltar-Washpool World Heritage walk is the most challenging. This four-day walk takes you through eucalypt forests, rainforests, wetlands and granite tors in the rugged Northern Tablelands.
Song-lines and cultural tales
- Ngaran Ngaran Cultural Awareness runs a two-day tour that includes climbing Mount Gulaga, an extinct volcano rising 797 metres above sea level near Narooma on the South Coast. Mount Gulaga is culturally significant to the local Yuin people, particularly women.
- Tri State Safaris offers guided tours of Mutawintji National Park and through the Mutawintji Historic Site. Boasting one of the best collections of Aboriginal art in NSW, a challenging two to four hour guided walk through rocky terrain visits Aboriginal rock engravings and ochre stencils, as well as the remains of fireplaces, stone flakes and grinding stones.
Close to Sydney, but feels like a million miles away
- Pack your bags for a challenging two-day hike in the Hawkesbury, along the Colo River. The Mountain Lagoon Loop via Colo Meroo and Tootie Creek is a challenging river walk along the lower reaches of the Colo River. The Hawkesbury hiking guide has details of 12 bushwalks in the area.
- Explore the trails of the World Heritage-listed rainforests of the Barrington Tops National Park. With more than 18 walking trails, from two hour hikes through sub-alpine forests and wetlands, to the challenging 38km Gloucester Tops to Careys Peak trail that offers scenic views from the tops.
- Stretching 426kms, The Hume and Hovell Track is an epic trail in the south east of NSW that traverses rugged and beautiful countryside following a mix of public roads, fire trails, purpose built single tracks and over 100 footbridges. For trip planning, check out the interactive map and photos showing 360 degree views of the campsites along the way on the Hume and Hovell Track website.
- Snow shoe Australia’s highest peak with K7 Adventures on the Mount Kosciuszko Majestic Tour. Kosciuszko National Park is as compelling in the winter months as it is during the summer wildflower season and although the weather can be challenging, the experience is truly remarkable.