Caro Ryan from popular outdoor and hiking blog lotsafreshair.com shares three of the best day hikes in Australia to get you started and introduce a solid dose of outdoors into your life.
From physical fitness to mental health, the benefits of fresh air, sunlight and stepping away from the concrete to spend time in nature are endless. The Japanese are famous for their Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing) and doctors in Scotland have even started prescribing hiking for their patients. Australia has many enjoyable hikes, but here are three of the best day-long ones to give you a taste of the benefits of being in the great outdoors.
Distance: 8.5 kms (circuit)
Time: 3 - 5 hrs (depending on fitness)
Take in the view over the Werribee Gorge before descending on a well-defined and signposted track that leads you beside the Werribee River. Stretch your legs with some easy rock hopping and short scrambles (with the help of a fixed steel rope) and embrace the sense of adventure that experiences like this bring. Rest at Needles Beach and fuel up on tasty hiking snacks before winding your way back to the start at Meikles Point Picnic area.
Distance: 15.5 kms (return)
Time: 4 - 6 hrs (depending on fitness)
Western Australia’s epic Bibbulmun Track is a bucket list trek for the super adventurous. For the rest of us mere mortals, its 1000 kilometre length from Perth to Albany is split into sections which are achievable as stunning day walks. Sullivan Rock to Monadnocks is one of the best day hike segments and it’s only an hour from Perth. Avoid the hottest part of the day (or the heat of summer) and start early amongst classic Bibbulmun Jarrah forest, then climb up and feel small amidst the expansive views from Mount Vincent. Munch on a powerbar to keep your enthusiasm as high as the summit and remember, go slow if you’re not used to hills. You can turn around at anytime, that’s the joy of a there-and-back track!
Distance: 10 kms
Time: 2 - 5 hrs (depending on fitness)
This water-hugging track snakes its way from the Spit Bridge to Manly in Sydney’s north and takes in some of Sydney Harbour National Park’s best views. Accessible via public transport and finishing at the popular tourist spot of Manly, you’ll be gently led beside hidden beaches and coastal bushland, along a variety of raised walkways, stone and timber steps and bush tracks. Pause to catch your breath at the Grotto Point Aboriginal engraving site with incredible views across Sydney Heads. It’s the perfect spot to slow down and reflect on the history of the area, ancient and modern, whilst tucking into every hiker’s favourite snack, trail mix.
1 - Keep your energy levels up by packing lots of tasty hiking snacks and at least 2 litres of water per person.
2 - Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and pack a raincoat and a warm layer.
3 - Tell someone where you’re going and when you get home (show them your photos so they’ll want to come next time!)
4 - Download the Emergency+ app to help pinpoint your location if you need help and don’t forget a first aid kit. (Remember mobile phone coverage can be patchy in remote locations, so consider taking a Personal Locator Beacon if you’re really going off the beaten track.)
5 - Grab a good map and keep to the trail.
6 - Take some friends - adventures are best shared with someone else.
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