Health Benefits of Australia's 7 Best Bushwalks
Travellers are motivated to wander for many reasons – to explore new destinations, to find meaning or purpose in their lives or debunk a belief, to seek out connections and make life-long friends.
Last year, I decided to attempt what seemed at the time as the impossible. I was battling auto-immune disease which was riddling my body with joint pain, fatigue and anxiety. I was reaping the benefits of single-day walks through wilderness within my home-state of Victoria and in other states when I flew out for short getaways.
Fresh air would fill my lungs, the soothing sounds of bugs and reclusive native birds, and gentle outlooks to green wilderness all around me always gave me a healthy boost so I could deal with my auto-immune issues in my everyday life. I always felt energised and alive, being a human that was connected with her natural surrounds.
I decided that I would attempt a bushwalk that would take me out of my home-state and the Tasmanian rugged wilderness over four days. There was only one way in and one way out. The only time I would be evacuated would be by helicopter if I was suddenly affected by a life-threatening emergency, or if there was a natural disaster. I felt out of my depth and out of my comfort zone. Over the course of those four days, I learned three things – I am capable of so much more than what I allow myself to be, I am resilient and I can achieve what I set out to achieve.
The lure of adventure and the blunt reality of the Australian wilderness strengthened me on so many levels; both physical and mental. Wandering those final steps on that last day proved to me that I could achieve anything if I set my heart and mind to it.
7 Benefits of Bushwalking
- Ease the body out of stress and into a more relaxed state
- Improve mood, increase happiness and outlook
- Fuel the body with fresh air
- Increase core strength (especially if you’re carrying a backpack) and bone strength
- Bring your awareness into unfamiliar territory for increased mindfulness and focus
- Explore your own ‘backyard’ to discover new destinations with friends
- Give your mind and body a break from the indoors with a mini digital detox (perhaps, try leaving the phone at home?)
As the travel quote goes, “Those who wander are not lost.” Bushwalking is the first stepping stone of this ever-important will to wander and Australia is teaming with unique and wondrous bushwalking sites for inspiration. A bushwalk is also never linear, just as is life, and a great Australian bushwalk is the ultimate way to get out in Australian nature so you can achieve in what you set out in life knowing that almost any obstacle can be tackled.
Here are just a few to get you moving in your travels – or life journey – whether it’s a day of bushwalking, a few days of challenging hiking through the bush or even a mission to bushwalk your way around Australia? Go find your hiking boots or sneakers so you can summon the will to wander Australia’s natural world, and discover the beauty of your inner world too.
The Three Capes Track in Tasmania
There’s a special place lying beyond the gates of Tasmania’s historical convict site of Port Arthur. The Three Capes Track runs over four days and three nights (in eco-cabins) of walking in the direction of Cape Hauy while reaching as far south as Cape Pillar as you can. There’s only one way in and one way out via a weaving boardwalk so you can protect the delicate nature hugging them. Such remoteness, partnered by the raw sounds of Tasmanian nature, is the gift here on the 'track' is what strikes walkers along the way. Those who partake a trip on The Three Capes Track truly feel alive, while feeling painfully small in this big, bright wilderness, a perception sharpened as you witness the jagged cliff edge named ‘The Blade’.
- Freycinet National Park
- Bay of Fires
- Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
- King Island
- Larapinta Trail
More Tasmanian Bushwalks here.
Blue Mountains in New South Wales
The blue haze that drapes the peaks of Sydney’s outskirts can be credited for this stunning World-Heritage site. The Blue Mountains offer endless opportunities for your adventurous self to wander their natural world. Quaint towns including Leura and Blackheath are nestled in these mountains, though it’s the surrounding natural wilderness and rolling outlook that take the front seat. Scenic Skyway at Scenic World offers walkers views from 270 metres in the air. Lengthier walks can be taken, both guided and unguided, at ground level.
Explore New South Wales
- Coffs Coast
- Lord Howe Island
- Murramarang National Park
More New South Wales Bushwalks here.
Great Ocean Road Walk in Victoria
Victoria is famed by its stunning ocean-side drive that is the Great Ocean Road. This natural landmark encompasses 200-plus kilometres of sprawling Victorian coastline starting at Torquay, dotted by the ever-iconic 12 Apostles attraction and hugged by the Great Otway National Park further inland. The Great Ocean Walk is a truly beautiful way to explore this part of Victoria and walkers have been welcomed on this bushwalk since the early 2000’s that meanders through Great Otway and Port Campbell national parks. You can choose between camping or more comfortable lodgings while undertaking multi-day walks.
- Grampians National Park
- The Dandenong Ranges
- Great Otway National Park
- Mornington Peninsula
- The You Yangs
More Victorian Bushwalks here.
Mount Remarkable National Park in South Australia
Australia is a remarkable country in which to live, and our isolation is nature’s gift to us. Unique flora and fauna accentuate the countless bushwalks throughout this southern land. South Australia echoes this. To emphasise this remarkableness, take a hike into Mount Remarkable National Park. Trails are lined by river red gums, tranquil waterways and brilliant, rich ochre ridges that scissor through the landscape and deep gorges to enclose yourself in.
Explore South Australia
- Morialta Conservation Park
- Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail
- Cleland Conservation Park
- Deep Creek Conservation Park
More South Australian Bushwalks here.
Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park in Western Australia
Another picturesque pocket of Australia that is rightfully World Heritage-listed is Purnululu National Park. Here, the Bungle Bungle Ranges can be discovered and explored. These orange and black striped rock formations emerge like giant beehives that can be explored by embarking on a hike of the area. If the bushwalker in you is seeking a shorter walk, you can take one with an Indigenous Australian guide so you can learn more about the area’s 20,000 year history.
Explore Western Australia
- Bibbulmun Track Denmark Albany
- Swan Canning Riverpark
- Kokerbin Nature Reserve
- Monkey Mia Reserve
More West Australian Bushwalks here.
Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory
If you want to feel an overwhelming sense of being alone with the wilderness, then Kakadu National Park is one destination to wander. Up to 20,000 square kilometres of roaming land seeped in traditions of indigenous Australian Dreamtime story and culture, this national wonder brings to visitors towering red wilderness to suit many fitness levels, while learning about the heartland of this country’s ancient indigenous history. Choose a Kakadu walk at a level to suit you.
Explore the Northern Territory
- Kata Tjuta NT
- Katherine Gorge National Park NT
- Kings Canyon NT
- Litchfield National Park NT
More Northern Territory Bushwalks here
Misty Mountains Rainforest in Queensland
Traveling off the beaten track is instilled in the Australian traveling psyche. It’s so easy to get off the beaten track anywhere you go in Australia, even more so in the depths of tropical Queensland. Mountaintops shaded in mist, lush blankets of emerald shrubbery and smooth hillsides characterise the wilderness tracks in Misty Mountains Rainforest. Unruly creeks cascade along trails, pristine water is crystal clear and its path is mighty in stature; urging you on to trudge through the mystery that the unexplored trail is unveiled.
- Conondale Range Great Walk
- Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk
- Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail
- Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island National Park
More Queensland Bushwalks here.