Coast, bush, mountains, marvels – lace up for these magnificent hikes across New South Wales’ varied terrain
Where? Lord Howe Island
The island’s signature trail involves an eight-hour-return trek to the 875m summit of Mount Gower, from which height the island’s remote and rugged location becomes all the more pronounced. The walk involves rope-assisted climbs and some strenuous sections.
Where? Dorrigo National Park
A gentle 5.5km loop, the Rosewood Creek Circuit takes you through UNESCO-listed rainforest and leads past a number of waterfalls and streams. It’s great for birdwatching too – satin bowerbirds and superb lyrebirds are among the 120-plus species in the park.
Where? Royal National Park
Running along the wave-bashed shoreline of Royal National Park – which sits just south of Sydney – this 26km trail takes in beaches, cliffs and glorious ocean views. Many people split the walk over two days, but for experienced hikers it’s possible to complete it in one.
Where? Snowy Mountains
Australia’s highest point also serves up one of its most memorable walks. It’s no light undertaking, taking up to six hours each way, but in good conditions it’s an achievable goal for visitors of moderate fitness. The rewards, from 2,228m above the Snowy Mountains, are worth the effort.
Where? Ben Boyd National Park
This coastal hike through Ben Boyd National Park in the south of the state is a great multi-day walk, covering 31km but following fairly easy tracks throughout. The trail takes its name from the lighthouses that mark its start and end points.
Wylies Baths, Coogee (Destination NSW)
Sydney is full of excellent hikes, but the classic is this 6km jaunt along the city’s shoreline, taking in a handful of beautiful beaches, sparkling sea views and numerous cafes and picnic spots. Hugely popular, and deservedly so.
Where? Jervis Bay
Take the spectacular White Sands Walk from Greenfield Beach to Hyams Beach along the shores of Jervis Bay. The beach is surrounded by beautiful natural attractions that include the Jervis Bay Marine Park, Booderee National Park, headlands with clifftop walking trails and native forests. If your luck’s in, you might spot kangaroos, rosellas or even dolphins.
Where? Blue Mountains
These eucalyptus-hazed highlands deserve far more than a day-trip from Sydney, so consider this three-day hike through the heart of the range. The Six Foot Track covers 44km and follows what was once an old horse route. Challenging, but ever-changing and spectacular.
The handsome bays and exposed headlands of the Kiama region make for some of the best ocean-side walking in the state. This coastal trail leads for 22km past wide beaches and lagoons; between May and November you might even spy whales.
Where? Blue Mountains
Another long-distance walk culminating in the Blue Mountains, this three/four-day, 45km trek begins in Kanangra-Boyd National Park and weaves its undulating way north to Katoomba. Ideal for mountain-lovers, it offers a breathtaking array of spires, cliffs and peaks.
Mount Warning at Wollumbin NP (The Legendary Pacific Coast)
Where? Wollumbin-Mount Warning National Park
It’s a five-hour-return hike to the summit of Mount Warning, involving a fair amount of scrambling near the top. Worth it though: the full-circle panorama from this ancient caldera stretches all the way from Byron Bay to Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Where? Bouddi National Park
A moderate 8km trail between Putty Beach and MacMasters Beach on the central coast, the Bouddi Coastal Walk serves up beautiful ocean scenery and atmospheric rainforest.
Where? Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
Main image: Walkers at the top of Kanangara Walls, Blue Mountains (credit: Chris Jones, Destination NSW)
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