If we have to name one of the best states to go amateur hiking in Australia, it has to be New South Wales. The tracks here move through different terrain, from the ocean breeze to the chilly Blue Mountains, as well as the red desert. Whether you’re a pro hiker or just an enthusiastic power walker, New South Wales has something for you. Walk a few kilometres, dive into the turquoise ocean and get back on the track, or set up your tent and enjoy the views. Get your shoes ready, and let’s jump to our list of the best walks in New South Wales.
1. Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk
The fascinating Kosciuszko Mountain provides one of the most exciting tracks in the states. A favourite among bikers and hikers, this track is well marked and rated Grade 3 difficulty. It starts within the Kosciuszko National Park at Charlotte Pass. It’s challenging for novices, especially the last 1.4km to the top, but the views are well worth it. In spring, you’ll enjoy the lush greenery and wildflower carpets, while in winter, you’ll spot some glaciers. Spring and summer are probably the best time to do this walk as it’s not recommended after a snowfall.
Distance: 18.6km return
2. Eastern Beaches Coastal Walk
Also known as the Bondi to Coogee Walk, this track is easy and suits all fitness levels. You’ll move through several bays, all hiding pristine beaches and some of the most captivating landscapes in the capital’s area. If you’re not up for the full 6km, do the short version from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach. This track doesn’t require any special equipment since you’ll be walking mainly on boardwalk, and it’s well marked.
Tip: go for a sunrise walk; this track is very popular among locals and tourists; therefore, it tends to get crowded.
Distance: 6km one way
3. Spit to Manly Walk
We are moving on to a moderate difficulty track. The Spit to Manly Walk starts at the northern side of the Spit Bridge and continues on to mixed terrain. You’ll be switching between the boardwalk and the unfinished paths, so wear suitable shoes. However, the track is well marked so that you won’t have troubles with orientation. Along the way, you get to enjoy a view of the Northern Beaches and Middle Harbour. Beware that there are no kiosks or rest stops, and the walk is long, so pack some snacks and water.
Distance: 10km one way
4. Tomaree Head Summit Walk
Don’t be fooled by the short distance – the Tomaree Summit Walk is rated as a Grade 5 track! This is mainly because of the steep incline towards the summit. It begins at the end of the Shoal Ba Road in Tomaree National Park. From there, you’ll need to walk 1.1km to the best view over the North Coast. Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic at the top after snapping some fascinating photos of the horizon.
Bonus: If the time’s right, you might even spot dolphins jumping in the ocean.
Distance: 2.2km return
5. Breadknife and Grand High Tops Walk
Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk is probably the best way to explore the beauty and wilderness of the Warrumbungle National Park. This exciting 14.5km track starts at Spirey Creek and moves through mountainous terrain to the Grand High Tops summit. The constantly changing scenery provides you with views of wildflowers, iconic rock formations, such as the Breadknife, and dense forest. The loop is a real treat for avid hikers and doable in a day. However, it requires a solid fitness level and suitable equipment. There are no refreshment stops, so pack some food and water.
Distance: 14.5 kilometre loop
6. Hare Point Walking Track
Hare Point walk starts at Red Point picnic area and traverses through dues, forest and beaches. This walk captivates some of the mesmerizing beauty of Jervis Bay, but it’s not an easy one! Due to the mixed surface and mainly walking on sand, you must have a good fitness level. Make a slight detour and a much-deserved break and dive in the ocean. Lay for a while on the whitest sand in the world before continuing your walk. While walking in the forest, you’ll enjoy the shades of the tall eucalyptus trees as well as tea trees and other unique Australian plant life.
Distance: 6km one way
7. Six Foot Track
Pack your hiking backpack and set off on a multi-day adventure. Six Foot is a widely popular trail that moves through the Blue Mountains National Park to the Jenolan Caves. The track starts at Explorers Tree, on Pulpit Hill Road in the National Park and takes you inside the dense rainforest. While moving through the challenging terrain, you’ll witness some fantastic waterfalls and heritage sites. It takes about three days to finish this hike, so make sure to pack enough food, water, a tent and a sleeping bag. There’s rarely any crowds as only the experienced tackle this hike.
Distance: 46km one way
8. Light to Light Walk
The Light to Light walk is the hidden gem of the Sapphire Coast that got severely damaged by the bushfires. It’s still in the rebuilding stage, and it’s opening in sections. It starts at Boyds Tower and continues for over 30km to Green Cape Lighthouse. You’ll need approximately three days to finish this hike. There are several campsites along the walk, so you won’t have trouble setting up for the night. The path moves along the coastline, so you’ll get to appreciate some marvellous views. It’s not a famous tack, so you’ll have as much privacy as you want.
Distance: 30km one way
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9. The Bathers Way Walk
Experience the beauty of the Newcastle coastline with this leisurely stroll. Starting at Merewether Baths, the track takes you to Dixon Park, the impressive ANZAC Memorial Walk and ends at Nobbys Lighthouse. It’s a great way to spot the best of Newcastle while staying close to the ocean. You’ll be walking on a flat, paved path, so no need for special shoes. There’s plenty of refreshment stops, as well as tracks to the beach for a quick dip. If you’re visiting during winter, keep your eyes open for some humpback whales on the horizon!
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
10. The Coast Track
The Coast Track is a combination of the best of both worlds – the mesmerizing ocean views and mystic bushland. This Grade 5 track starts at Bundeena, traverses through the Royal National Park and ends at Otford. While you might manage to do it in a day, it’s best to split it, staying the night at North Era Beach. Along the way, you can take a swim in the ocean, snap some photos of the iconic rock formations as the Wedding Cake Rock or admire the view.
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11. Cape Byron Walking Track
Get some unforgettable views of Byron Bay by doing the moderate Cape Byron Bay walk. It starts at Clarkes Beach and finishes at the Cape Byron lighthouse dating all the way back to 1901. It’s not a challenging walk, but there are some steep sections that some might find problematic. You’ll enjoy some fantastic coastal views, especially if doing the walk during sunrise or sunset.
Distance: 3.7km loop
12. Homestead Gorge Track
Moving all the way to the west, indulge in the unique and moderately challenging Homestead Gorge Track in the Mutawintji National Park. Far from the coastline and deep into the remoteness, this track provides you with the sighting of Aboriginal art and wildlife encounters – think emus, wallabies, goannas and rich birdlife. The trail moves along Homestead creek and through rugged terrain, including rocky cliffs, so wear suitable shoes.
Distance: 7.5km loop
13. New England Wilderness Walk
Engage on a three-day long journey from the New England Tableland to the Darkwood Road. Traversing through Snowy Ridge, several creek beds, and river crossings, this bushwalk is suitable only for highly experienced hikers. There are many flat areas where you’ll be able to set up your tent and light a fire on chilly nights. You can expect rainfall, so wear a waterproof parka, shoes, extra socks and enough food.
Distance: 33km one way
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