We all love a good road trip here at CarLoans, but sometimes it’s great to get out and stretch the legs and do some exploring on foot. No matter what capital city you’re near, Australia offers some simply splendid bushwalks, here are our recommendations.
NEW SOUTH WALES (Sydney): Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Aside from the spectacular Blue Mountains, which is around 2 hours from Sydney city, Australia’s largest capital city offers a range of nature reserves and walking experiences for all the family. The Cowan to Brooklyn walk, in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is definitely one worth venturing. It’s actually part of an epic 250km track called the Great Northern Walk, but this 11km route is regarded as a sample for the less serious. It features dedicated boardwalks, taking you through to Jerusalem Bay and into the natural bushland of Ku-ring-gai Chase. You’ll get to take in the breathtaking views of Cowan Water, before ending at the pub near Hawkesbury River Train Station. This is one of the more solid walks in our list, with steep sections sure to get the heart pumping. It takes around 5 hours to complete and is located around 1 hour from Sydney.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (Canberra): Mount Majura Nature Reserve
Canberra is known for being quite flat, but in the surrounding areas there are a number of view-worthy lookout points such as Mount Ainslie, which provides an extraordinary view of the city and parlimentary axis. About 20 minutes north of the city though is Mount Majura. This is a council-maintained recreational park that features a number of groomed and rated mountain bike tracks. But there is also a 3.8km walking trail that takes around 2 hours. It’s a moderate level track with car park access, leading you along the top of Mount Majura ridge. Standing 890m tall, Mount Majura is the tallest peak in suburban Canberra, so there are excellent views all around.
VICTORIA (Melbourne): Sherbrooke Falls – Dandenong Ranges
Like Adelaide’s wine regions below, Melbourne’s Yarra Valley is a world-renowned site for some of Australia’s finest wines. It’s also right next to the Dandenong Ranges which offers plenty of walking experiences. The Sherbrooke Falls Trail is a delightful walk through the lush forest of the Ranges, allowing you to mingle with sassafras and giant mountain ash trees that are around 200 years old. Doing a return loop takes around an hour, and is of easy to moderate difficulty. A convenient picnic ground has been set up too so you can refresh and enjoy the tranquillity. Sherbrooke Falls is located near Ferntree Gully, about an hour east of Melbourne city.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA (Adelaide): Mount Lofty
Known for its internationally-celebrated and award-winning wineries, Adelaide Hills is also a great place to do some on-foot exploring. Mount Lofty, which pokes up right in the middle of the Hills region, is just west of the German-inspired region of Hahndorf and about a 25-minute drive from Adelaide city. It’s like it’s a purpose-built walking mountain, offering guests eight different routes to get to the top. These offer varying degrees of difficulty, from steep and calorie-burning, to gentle and family-friendly. Along the way you can take in the sights of Waterfall Gully and enjoy the sunset views of the city. Walks range from around 2 hours and up to 5 hours for the keener adventurers.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA (Perth): Erskine Nature Trail
As the name suggests, the Erskine Nature Trail is all about taking in the natural environment. This 2hr walk starts from Mandurah Quays and encompasses Peel Inlet, which means you’re in the middle of where the land meets the sea. This brings excellent wildlife spotting opportunities, including dolphins that are known to swim right up to greet guests. You won’t even realise you’ve covered 6km along this family-friendly walk, which is rated at an easy level. Erskine Nature Trail is located near Mandurah, which is about an hour drive south of Perth.
NORTHEN TERRITORY (Darwin): Wangi Falls
Darwin, or more specifically, the Kakadu National Park, is known for its arid rocky landscape and incredible waterfalls. A closer waterfall we recommend is the Wangi Falls Walk. Although it does entail an 18.5km journey of pretty serious difficulty, there is an easier 1.5km circuit that starts from the natural plunge pool and climbs to the top for a beautiful view. The walk includes opportunities to go for a swim at the base of the falls, and there’s even availability for camping. This location is a must for bird lovers and animal lovers alike, with wallabies often hopping around, and colourful parrots and kingfishers making for quite an active spectacle. Wangi Falls is located around 1.5 hours south of Darwin, in Litchfield National Park.
QUEENSLAND (Brisbane): Mount Coot-tha
Brisbane is a fast-growing city with booming mining and tourism industries. But it’s also known for its surrounding mountainous landscape which provides a viewing deck of the city, making it ideal for walking and photography enthusiasts. In among the landscape is Mount Coot-tha, which is about a 20-minute drive from the city. The local council has done a fantastic job of creating a number of man-made tracks and circuits, offering various degrees in difficulty from easy to moderate. The main circuit is roughly 5km long, and includes a postcard-like view of Brisbane from the Summit lookout. You’ll pass the trickling natural waters of JC Slaughter Falls, and enjoy taking in the fresh air from the range of surrounding giant trees and native plants. The trail is pet-friendly, with an on-leash rule applying for the dirt and paved tracks.
TASMANIA (Hobart): Annie Falls Circuit at Waterworks Reservoir
Tasmania is a mecca for bushwalking, and perhaps one of Australia’s best-known go-to places for walkers of all skill level, from novice explorers looking to take in the tranquil and natural surroundings of the stand-alone state, up to serious bushwalkers looking to undertake multi-day treks into the remote corners of the massive island. For families, sticking near the capital city of Hobart, there are a plethora of options available. One walk that stands out for us is the Annie Falls Circuit, which takes you around the Waterworks Reservoir. It’s a 1.3km gentle hike that offers amenities, photo vantage points, and car parking, located just east of Dynnyrne, about a 15-minute drive from Hobart. The kids will love the vast expanse of the upper fall, which is actually a hand-cut channel which was carved out of the sandstone terrain back in the 1940s.