Wild Women Approved Hiking Trails In Queensland

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

If you’re looking for glorious beaches, ancient rainforests, spectacular rock formations, astonishing waterfalls, crystal clear lagoons, vast sandstone escarpments and pristine natural wilderness, you can’t go past the fabulous walks of Queensland.

These walks are hiking heaven. They include a world-class collection of wonderful trails on protected lands, including four majestic World Heritage Areas ranging from moderate hikes to epic multi-day challenges.

Most of these hikes will require you to get hike fit and practice a bit of independent overnight hiking before you head off, but some come in luxury options and/or can be done as day walks. They are all on marked trails with easy-to-find trip notes and maps. For more information on how to prepare for these hikes and recommended gear lists, check out How to Prepare for World Class Treks. 

Here’s a little taste our favourites hikes:

Fraser Island Great Walk

Where: Fraser Island (K’gari) Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park. 

Distance: Up to 90km one-way (a path where the start point is different to the finish point).

Time suggested: Allow eight days walking time.

Grade: Grade 4 walking track

Pack weight: Full pack.

Fraser Island, World Heritage listed and the world’s largest sand island, is nothing short of mind-blowing. The ever-changing landscapes and stunning scenery, sparse golden dunes, crystal clear lakes, magnificent towering forests, and never-ending lookouts make this a bucket lister like no other. Our Wild Women have made several trips here and every visit is a winner.

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This is an area of exceptional natural beauty, with uninterrupted sweeps of ocean and striking sand cliffs, as well as spectacular dune blowouts and remarkable flora and fauna. The freshwater lakes are pure heaven, as are the champagne pools and whale watching.

This is a moderate hike, but you’ll need to carry all your gear and tents so make sure your train to be self-sufficient.

Carnarvon Great Walk

Where: Carnarvon National Park, 593km north-west of Brisbane 

Distance: 87km circuit

Time suggested: Allow seven days walking time.

Grade: Grade 5 walking track 

Pack weight: Full pack

Carnarvon National Park lies within a vast, elevated section of sandstone country in central Queensland, approximately 600km north-west of Brisbane and 300km south-west of Rockhampton. The bold, striking landscapes of the Carnarvon Great Walk links the spectacular Carnarvon Gorge with Mount Moffat via pristine canyons, vast plateaus, soaring spurs, rolling ridgelines and the breathtaking views of the Queensland high country, making this an adventure not to be missed.

You’ll need to be fit, strong and experienced with overnight hiking and be totally self-sufficient to take on this fabulous wilderness challenge. 

Thorsborne Trail

Where: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island, Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area 

Distance: Up to 32km along the island’s east coast

Time Suggested: Allow four days walking time.

Grade: Grade 4 walking track 

Pack weight: Full pack

If you’re after an out-of-this-world hike that’s as epic as they come, tackling the Thorsborne Trail should be on your list. Described by some as the adventure of a lifetime, this World Heritage Listed ancient wonderland is rated as one of the top 10 walks on the planet and was one of the first multi-day overnight hikes done by Wild Women.

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There is a limit of just 40 people per day on the trail, which adds exclusive allure to the secluded, coastal wilderness. Packed with towering mountains in the mist, cascading waterfalls and plunge pools, white sandy beaches and mystical mangroves, you’ll rejuvenate your senses and refresh your soul on this extraordinary adventure.

This is a moderate hike, but you’ll need to carry all your gear and tents so make sure your train to be self-sufficient.

Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

Where: Lamington and Springbrook National Park 

Distance: 54km one-way hike

Time Suggested: Allow three days walking time.

Grade: Grade 4 walking track 

Pack weight: Full pack (or luxury supported options available)

The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk links up world-renowned subtropical and temperate rainforests from Lamington to Springbrook via the Numinbah Valley, through to the rim of the ancient volcanic lands of the Tweed Volcano. You’ll love strolling by the plummeting waterfalls, plunging into deep lagoons and hiking through misty Antarctic beech forests. This area is teeming with frog, snake, bird and marsupial species, including many rare and threatened plants and animals.

You can choose from a number of day walks, take the challenge of the full Great Walk, or join one of the many commercially-guided walks and stay at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat of Binna Burra Lodge.

Note: Heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge was badly damaged by the 2019 bushfires but will be reopening soon.

Mt Barney

Where: Mt Barney National park, two hours south-west of Brisbane. 

Distance: 10 – 13km return.

Time suggested: 7 – 9 hours.

Grade: Grade 4 walking track plus steep scrambling.

Pack weight: Day pack.

Mt Barney is one of the most iconic peaks in Queensland and a fabulous adventure for newbies and seasoned hikers alike. Wild Women have done it many times and we love it every single time. If you’re a newbie, consider hiring a guide from Mt Barney Lodge and using the South Ridge route because the trail is steep, requires strong rock scrambling skills and can be a little tricky to find.

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For moderate and hard core hikers, the full circuit going up via the South East ridge and down the South Ridge is awesome, but make sure you do your homework before you go because we’ve been slightly lost in here and so have 400 other hikers over the years. You can set up a base camp at the bottom of the mountain or take the comfort of Mt Barney Lodge, which is awesome. You can also bring the family for a fabulously fun adventure, including gorgeous walks and plunges along the spectacular gorges and canyons. There’s lots of other magical day walks in the area including the Lower and Upper Portals, Cronan Creek Falls and Yellow Pinch.  

Cooloola Great Walk

Where: Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park, Noosa 

Distance: 102km one-way

Time suggested: Allow five days walking time.

Grade: Grade 4 walking track 

Pack weight: Full pack

The Cooloola Great Walk is an extraordinary five-day immersion in the rainforest, coastal woodland and heavenly heath plains between Noosa and Rainbow Beach. Carrying your full pack, you’ll climb over vast sandblows, explore luscious lakes and stunning sandy beaches with sweeping views of the ocean. You’ll discover abundant wildlife from snakes, skinks, lizards, frogs, emus and echidnas before rejuvenating in remote river and lakeside campsites. You’ll also experience the wonder of towering rainforest and aromatic eucalyptus forests as you pitch your tents to brew your evening billy.

This is a moderate hike but you’ll need to carry all your gear and tents so make sure your train to be self-sufficient.

Has this sparked your wanderlust? Come and join us on epic Wild Adventure. 

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