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9 Thru-hikes to Explore in Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are a hiker's paradise. With an amazing variety of natural landscapes, our 9 hiking guides offer an array of regional hikes.

Stephanie Stuehler      Trails      05/04/2021

Stephanie Stuehler

Trails

05/04/2021
A red dirt trail winds through a green tropical desert forest.

1. Bibbulmun Track

The Bibbulmun Track showcases ancient old growth karri forests, tingle trees, breathtaking wildflowers, and stunning coastal scenery. A long distance hike that passes through small country towns and peaceful forests, there are well placed shelters with water tanks each night, and tiny birds that sound like bells will wake you up each morning. A journey for the soul not to be missed; just keep watch for snakes!

Explore the Bibbulmun Track
A green coast meets a blue ocean on Australia's coast.

2. Cape to Cape Track

A wild, uninhabited coast line with majestic forests, cliffs, caves, headlands and rocky formations awaits the Cape to Cape hiker. The white sandy beaches, beautiful spring wildflowers, Karri forests, rocky beach side ledges, and thundering surf mean this walk is always fun and interesting! The route meanders along the whole length of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, which forms the backbone of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in the far south west of Western Australia.

Explore the Cape to Cape

3. George Bass Coastal Walk

Named after the renowned maritime explorer, George Bass (a man hardly known for walking), this is a wonderful walk along clifftops and sandy beaches. Popular among locals, the expansive views of the cliffs, headlands, and the wild Bass Straight oceans are well worth it.

Explore the George Bass Coastal Walk

4. Larapinta Trail

The Larapinta Trail travels 223 km (140 mi) through the heart of Central Australia, covering some of the most spectacular ranges and gorges within the vast Australian outback desert. The deep red gorges and cool waterholes offer an oasis in a very hot and arid land. On the rugged rocky ridges, you can see all the way to far off ranges without any sign of human development.

Explore the Larapinta Trail
A solitary rocky mountain juts through a red grassy landscape.

5. Overland Track

The Overland Track is Tasmania’s iconic hike, located in a World Heritage Area. Hikers will start at beautiful Dove Lake and travel through towering mountains, spectacular views, alpine lakes and plains, magnificent forests, and clear rivers. The rugged and remote Mersey River Gorge and Pine Forest Moor will provide you with a wonderful sense of being in the wilderness. A side trip to Tasmania’s highest peak, Mount Ossa (1617m), will provide 360 degree views across to Frenchman’s Cap and beyond.

Explore the Overland Track
A landscape photo of lots of green hills and mountains.

6. Te Araroa

Te Araroa is New Zealand’s premier long-distance hiking trail, stretching 3000 km (1860 mi) across the country’s two main islands. The trail travels from Cape Reinga on the North Island to Bluff on the South Island, passing through 9 distinct regions on its way. The trail offers spectacular views of all the amazing landscapes that New Zealand has to offer, from bustling cities to towering volcanoes. Te Araroa is truly an experience of all aspects of New Zealand – historic, cultural, and natural. From ocean beaches to deep forests, the trail is perfect for thru-hiking, backpacking, section-hiking, and day-hiking.

Explore Te Araroa
A rocky island sits in the blue ocean along a rocky coastline.

7. Three Capes Track

The Three Capes Track is a cliff hugging hike in the wilds of Tasmania. The amazing, ancient dolerite cliffs of Cape Pillar, Cape Hauy, and Cape Raoul drop 300 meters directly to the ocean, making them the tallest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere. This is a hut hike and allows only 48 hikers each day. Hikers start and finish their journey at the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site. Hikers might even see migratory whales, dolphins, and resident fur seal populations. The hike takes you through woodlands, ferny forests, and coastal areas.

Explore the Three Capes Track

8. Walk the Yorke

Get away from it all. Walk long stretches of coast with no one else in sight; walk on tracks and quiet country roads next to spectacular coastlines and cliffs. Walk the Yorke starts in the historic copper mining town of Moonta and ends in Port Wakefield. The hike hugs the coast for almost all of the journey around the Peninsula. The remote trail showcases views of the St. Vincent Gulf, the saltbush plains beside the Yorke Highway, quiet country roads, and spectacular coastlines. Expect fabulous scenery, not many people, and delicious fish and chips. This walk suits the hiker who enjoys peace and the sound of the sea.

Explore Walk the Yorke

9. Wilson’s Promontory Grand Circuit

Hike the Prom, one of the best loved hikes in Australia. Follow the coast, with its turquoise blue beaches, ferny glades, and huge granite boulders covered in orange lichens, to the southernmost point of the Australian Mainland. With 53 km of good track hiking, this walk has a lot to offer. The campsites are shady, and most are set close to beautiful sandy beaches. For a unique overnight accommodation, spoil yourself at the historic lighthouse which can only be reached by foot. Enjoy seeing wildlife such as wombats, wallabies, possums and a mix of interesting reptiles.

Explore Wilson's Promontory Grand Circuit

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Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association
A lake reflects a nearby wildflower meadow and trees.
Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Download our popular hiking and biking guides!
About the Author

Stephanie Stuehler

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland Stephanie longed to one day see the Rockies. Upon receiving her Bachelors in Fine Arts with a track in graphic design she and her Frenchie, Nugget, decided to drive 1,677 miles, sight unseen to colorful, Colorado. She was left speechless (and winded) from her first hike in Idaho Springs. Steph has a huge passion for design and all things style. In her free time she enjoys working out or hiking in Boulder! Colorado is Stephanie’s happy place.