It may be hard to believe, but the chilly weather will soon be behind us for another year. Before you know it, the flowers will be in bloom, the swimmers will come out from the back of your closet, and the temperatures will start climbing to the upper 20s.
The best way to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather in our Great Southern land? Hitting the open road in search of one of Australia’s best hikes!
Shrug off your winter woollies, climb out from under the comfort of your doona, and dust off your best walking shoes. Here is a selection of some of the best road trip hikes that South Eastern Australia has to offer.
Best hikes in Tasmania
Every state in our country could claim to be the best for avid hikers, but Tasmania stands out when it comes to natural beauty. With iconic mountains, pristine, lush landscapes, and exotic flora and fauna, a road trip through Tasmania might feel more like a journey through Middle Earth.
If you are looking for an easy hiking trail on the Apple Isle, Cape Hauy is a great choice. (Tip: “Huay” is pronounced “hoy” if asking locals for directions!) Located in the Tasman National Park and a stone’s throw from historic Port Arthur, this 8.8 km return walk takes approximately four hours and offers the best of both worlds. You’ll get incredible vistas of Fortescue Bay at the beginning before finding yourself in heathland and bushland. Note that the final leg requires a steep stair climb to reach an unmissable lookout point.
The coastal sensation is accessible from the Tasmanian capital, so pick up a rental car from our Hobart car rental location to make your journey as breezy as possible. Within Tassie, we also recommend Dove Lake Circuit, located in world-famous Cradle Mountain National Park. The full loop only takes 6 km to complete, so why not tick it off your travel bucket list?
Best hikes in Sydney
Want to get hiking without straying too far from the city limits? Sydney offers the best of both worlds. The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is a must-try, taking only 6 km start to finish. Prepare to set aside a full day for this though, to allow for the many tempting stop-off points along the way. Take in the stunning coastal scenery the area is renowned for, or stop off for a fresh juice or bite at the many cafes dotted along the route. We suggest planning a visit in October or early November to catch the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, where you’ll see incredible works of art against the natural backdrop of Sydney’s famous coastline.
Already ticked that one off your Sydney hiking trail list? Take your adventures inland and have a go at the Caleys Lookout Track, a short half-hour drive from our Penrith car hire location. Nestled within Bents Basin State Conservation Area, it’s only 1.2 km return, but can be steep in parts. It features a pristine lookout of the peaceful surrounds and ample picnic tables, so pack a lunch!
Best hikes in Melbourne
The city of Melbourne wraps itself comfortably around the immense Port Phillip Bay, so of course, coastal walking should be your first port of call upon arrival. The Bayside Coastal Trail, stretching the length of the coastline of the bayside areas, is technically 17km in length, but can easily be broken down into manageable shorter hikes. Our recommendation is to start out at Black Rock and meander in the direction of the city. This will take you past exclusive Sandringham, Hampton, and Brighton beaches, and you can take a well-deserved rest at beautiful Half Moon Bay.
Potentially the most well-travelled hiking trail in the greater Melbourne region is known as ‘1000 Steps’, but its official name is the Kokoda Memorial Track. The trail consists of (you guessed it) 1,000 challenging steps, and while it’s often bustling with hikers on weekends and in summer, planning a hike there this time of year will give you a more serene experience. The track, a drawcard of the tranquil Dandenong Ranges National Park, takes up to two hours to complete. The clean, forest air is a real treat for city dwellers, and it’s a very Instagram-friendly hike thanks to the scenic lookouts. The best part? It’s only an hour’s drive from the city.
Thrifty offers a large number of convenient Melbourne car hire locations across the city, so be sure to hire a car to easily get you to the 1,000 Steps!
Which of these exceptional Aussie road trip hikes will you be taking on as the weather warms up?