The Best Day Hikes In Australia's Capital Cities

By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick at Wild Women On Top

If you’re looking for some great ways to get out in nature this long weekend, look no further! These gorgeous day walks are the perfect summer activity – take the kids, friends, family or go by yourself for a solitary soak in nature’s playground. 


Spit to Manly Walk

Distance: 9km.

Difficulty: Medium.

Transport: Public transport available at start (bus) and finish (bus, ferry). 

This is an astonishingly beautiful bushwalk on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It’s best to start at The Spit in Middle Harbour and finish at iconic Manly for lunch or dinner. There are swims along the way, secret coves and all sorts of stunning views and spectacular lookouts. 


Hermitage Foreshore Trail

Distance: 1.8km one way.

Difficulty: Easy.

Transport: Buses available at start and finish. 

This lovely harbourside walk shows Sydney Harbour at its best by hugging the shoreline to visit many secluded beaches and pristine bushland. Enjoy spectacular views of Sydney Harbour, including the Harbour Bridge, Shark Island and Bradley’s Head. 


The Coast Track, Royal National Park

Distance: 27.5km.

Difficulty: Challenging.

Transport: Public transport available at start (ferry) and finish (train).

Starting with a ferry ride from Cronulla to Bundeena, this fabulous hike takes you from rugged bush trails to breathtaking cliff tops, along deserted beaches, challenging rock scrambles and tropical palm forests. It’s well signposted and finishes near the train stop at Otford. You’ll need to be fit and experienced to do it in a day. 


Dandenong Ranges National Park

Distance: 4.3km.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Transport: No public transport, parking is very busy so arrive early in the day.

There are many gorgeous walks in the Dandenongs but one of the best ones to get you fit and fabulous for bigger goals, as well as being stunningly beautiful, is the Kokoda Memorial Track, also known as the 1,000 Steps walk. This beautiful winding trail will immerse you in nature while you puff your way to strength and fitness. We recommend popping on your backpack and doing sets if you want to get really strong. 

You Yangs Northern Range Circuit

Distance: 12.3km

Difficulty: Moderate 

Transport: No public transport

Starting and finishing at Turntable car park, this dramatic trail, which includes a bit of rock hopping and a steep gradient on Saddle Back Track, is a great day out. There are a number of trails for you to explore and if you’re full of energy you can also climb the 450 steps to Flinders Peak. 

The Coastal Walk, Mornington Peninsula

Distance: 30km.

Difficulty: Hard.

Transport: No public transport.

This spectacular trail stretching 30km between Cape Schanck and Point Nepean is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in the best that coastal nature has to offer. You’ll walk along bush trails, ocean beaches, soft sand, sand dunes, fire trails and hilly headlands to finish at the iconic Quarantine Station at Point Nepean. A winner for sure. 



Mount Coot-tha Summit and Mahogany Trail

Distance: 5km.

Dfficulty: Easy.

Transport: Public transport available. There is a free shuttle bus from Brisbane CBD. 

This easy, picturesque trail starting at the summit car park loops though glades of majestic trees, ancient rocks and shrubby bush until it comes out at a clearing of Mount Coot-tha. You’ll pass the JC Slaughter Falls and return via the Mahogany Trail. A lovely way to get some fresh air just a thirty-minute drive from the CBD. 

Mt Coot-tha.jpg

Mount Beerwah Summit, Glasshouse Mountains

Distance: 4.3km.

Difficulty: Moderate/challenging.

Transport: No public transport.

This steep climb begins at the car park and heads up into some quite exposed rock scrambling up to the base of the cliff line. From here you follow the cliff line around before heading up an obvious track to the summit. Return the same way. You’ll need good weather and grippy footwear as well as some rock scrambling experience before you go, but it’s well worth the effort.

Glasshouse Mountains.jpg

Daves Creek Circuit, Lamington National Park

Distance: 12km.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Transport: No public transport.

This gorgeous trail is one of the most botanically diverse tracks in Lamington with rapidly changing vegetation from rain forest to eucalyptus to heathland. The track is scattered with lillies, orchids, wattles, ferns and wildflowers in late winter and spring, as well as lookouts over Woggunba and Numingah Valley. If you’re lucky, you’ll also hear lyrebirds. 

Lamington National Park.jpg

Note: This area was impacted by fires in 2019, which devastated large areas of the National Park including the historic Binna Burra lodge. The Binna Burra section of the park is closed at the time of writing. Please keep an eye on the latest updates from Queensland parks. 


Waterfall Hike, Belair National Park

Distance: 6.5km.

Difficulty: Easy to moderate.

Transport: Bus available.

This wonderful waterfall walk just 35 minutes from Adelaide includes two waterfalls, lovely escarpment lookouts and Echo tunnel. The waterfalls only flow after heavy rainfall but the park is still spectacular and well worth the look for local koalas, as well as other lovely walks in the park. 

Waitpinga Ciffs to Kings Beach, Heysen Trail

Distance: 11.5km.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Transport: No public transport.

The spectacular Heysen Trail runs along the south coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula and a highlight of this iconic, long-distance trek is the Waitpinga to Kings Beach section. Starting at the Waitpinga Campground, following the coast above the Waitpinga cliffs, the trail climbs on fire trails before hitting the coast with clifftop views. You’ll see white-bellied sea eagles and experience the best that coastal hiking has to offer. 

Waitpinga Cliffs.jpg


Kings Park 

Distance: 3.5km.

Difficulty: Easy.

Transport: Public transport available.

Kings Park is an extensive area linking the Botanical Gardens with native bushland, beautiful views and options to extend your hike onto footpaths and linking soft trails. Take a wander through the gardens with a picnic blanket and enjoy the stunning views over the river. Check out the Kings Park and Botanic Garden website for a map of specific walking trails. 


Bold Park 

Distance: 10km +

Difficulty: Easy – moderate

Transport: Public transport available

Located right near City Beach and easily accessible by public transport, Bold Park has a network of walking trails and over 436 hectares of native plants and wildlife including birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians and invertebrates. There are also beautiful views with the beach just a stone’s throw away if you want a refreshing splash when you’re done. 


Bibbulmun Track Day Walk 

Distance: Up to 1,000km of trails

Difficulty: Moderate 

Transport: Private car

For the uber hiker, the 1000km Bibbulmun track is a serious bucket lister which takes six to eight weeks to complete. However, there are day walks highlighted in the Bibbulmun Track Foundation’s day walk map pack and it’s possible to start some of these in the hills on the outskirts of Perth. 

One of these is the 12.4km out and back walk through the Beelu National Park, starting from the Perth Hills National Park Centre. Check out the Bibbulmun Track website for details.



Mount Wellington Organ Pipes 

Distance: 8km loop.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Transport: Private car.

The spectacular Mount Wellington towers above Hobart and is a bushwalkers paradise. In addition to the panoramic views over the city and the mouth of the Derwent river, there are hundreds of spectacular hikes through forests, native bushland and dolerite cliffs. One of the most iconic is the Organ Pipes circuit, which includes a mix of gentle walking, as well as steep descents and ascents. The trail is well marked and starts from the Springs which is clearly marked on the road up the mountain. If you’re visiting Hobart, even for a half day, there’s no better hiking in the country. 


Wellington Falls 

Distance: 16km – 25km return.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Transport: Private car.

Located on the south face of Mount Wellington, the impressive Wellington Falls cascade down to the North West Bay River and make for a fabulous hiking adventure. You can start on the Pipeline Track at the Neika Trail head, or from Fern Tree. The trail is easy going with a short climb up the waterfall. From here there are many beautiful tracks to explore in the sub-alpine forest. 

Mount Amos, Wineglass Bay 

Distance: 3-5km.

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging.

Transport: Private car.

The rock scramble up Mount Amos takes you to the iconic view over Wineglass Bay on the East Coast of Tassie. If you’re feeling super adventurous after the summit, you can return to the saddle and climb over to Wineglass Bay and take a plunge in its famous turquoise waters. 

This hike is best done in dry conditions as it can become slippery and treacherous in the rain. And while you’re on the Freycinet Peninsula, don’t miss out on other beautiful hikes such as Hazzards Beach and Mount Graham. 

Mt Amos Summit.jpg


Black Mountain Trails

Distance: 2km – 10km.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.

Transport: Public transport available.

The iconic Black Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the largest and most prominent reserves in Canberra Nature Park. The native vegetation includes a variety of orchids, eucalyptus species, birds, mammals and reptiles. The views from the summit, which is easily reached via The Summit Trail, looks out over Lake Burley Griffin and the Botanical Gardens. There are many easy to find trails for you to explore. 

Black Mountains.jpg

Gibraltar Peak, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Distance: 8km.

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging.

Transport: Private car.

Tidbinbilla is a diverse region of outstanding wildlife and nature with many walking trails meandering through the wetlands, eucalyptus forests, fern gullies and sub-alpine forests. There’s koalas, kangaroos and migratory bird life for you to enjoy, as well as Brush Tailed Rock Wallabies, emus, platypus, wombats and potoroos. Gibraltar Peak starts from Dalsetta, via the Eliza Saddle, and returns the same route.

No, we haven't forgotten about Darwin, but we haven't actually hiked there yet so we can't recommend trails! If you are a Darwin local and have some great suggestions, pop into our Wild Women Community and let us know. 

If you are in Sydney or Melbourne, come and join us at Trek Training and explore some of these beautiful trails with a supportive community of women. 

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