Five Epic Multi-Day Hikes to Conquer Near Brisbane
Pack a tent, water and lots of snacks and walk your way through the most beautiful parts of Queensland.
Land of white-sanded beaches, tropical islands, ancient rainforest and endless summer — Queensland has enough long distance walking material to keep you going for years. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Brisbane to the north are the volcanic terrain, dreamy waterfalls and prehistoric forests of the Gold Coast hinterland. To the south lie the behemoth sand dunes, wildflowers and remote beaches of the Sunshine Coast. Meanwhile, popular tourist destination K'gari (aka Fraser Island) takes on a whole new dimension when you get exploring on foot. Here are five epic multi-day hikes near Brisbane to try. Strap on your hiking boots and get trekking.
GOLD COAST HINTERLAND GREAT WALK
The Gold Coast might be best known for its high rises and endless beaches, but the hinterland is like another world. And you can see it in-depth on the 54-kilometre-long Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. This walk begins at O'Reilly's Campground in Lamington National Park, about two hours south of Brisbane. It then winds along the rim of the 25 million-year-old Tweed Volcano crater, through the world heritage-listed Gondwana rainforests, across babbling mountain creeks and into natural amphitheatres — all before finishing at Springbrook National Park. For overnight accommodation, there are campgrounds, glamping spots and cabins to stop at along the way.
How long? Two-to-three days.
SUNSHINE COAST HINTERLAND GREAT WALK
Another inland escapade that takes you away from coastal crowds and into unexpected territory is the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. This 59-kilometre trail begins at Lake Baroon (about 90 kilometres north of Brisbane) and travels through the beautiful Blackall Ranges, passing through three national parks along the way: Kondalilla, Mapleton Falls and Mapleton. The walk is particularly scenic, with numerous lookouts affording views over forest-covered mountains and dramatic gorges. At ground level, picturesque rock pools and cascades provide plenty of tranquil places to rest. For your overnight stays, there are three camps, plus motels and self-contained cabins to choose from.
How long? Three-to-five days.
COOLOOLA GREAT WALK
If you prefer the sandy side of the Sunshine Coast, take on the Cooloola Great Walk instead. Like the Hinterland Walk, this one avoids tourist traps, travelling for 102 kilometres through the remote reaches of the Great Sandy National Park. The track kicks off from Noosa North Shore (about 150 kilometres north of Brisbane) and ends up at Rainbow Beach. You'll visit colourful wildflower meadows (in spring), climb massive sand hills and soak up incredible views of the Sunshine Coast in every direction. Stop by a few of the perched lakes for a dip — these offer crystal clear pools formed in sand dunes. En route, you'll find four campgrounds for walkers. giving you ample space to pitch your tent.
How long? Five days.
K'GARI (FRASER ISLAND) GREAT WALK
The biggest sand island in the world, K'gari is found just off the coast, 300 kilometres north of Brisbane. The best way to discover everything this gorgeous location has to offer is to walk through its heart. The 90-kilometre-long K'gari Great Walk starts at Dilli Village in the south and finishes at Happy Valley in the north, which are both on the island's east coast. You'll pass through the perfect white shores and sparkling waters of Lake McKenzie, the impossibly tall rainforest trees of the Valley of the Giants and the extraordinary Wongi, Hammerstone and Badjala Sandblows. Campgrounds are dotted along the way. And yes, there are dingoes, so brush up on a few safety tips before setting off.
How long? Six-to-eight days.
CARNARVON GREAT WALK
This 87-kilometre circuit carries you through the peaks and valleys of the Central Queensland Sandstone Belt. You'll begin in Carnarvon Gorge (about 700 kilometres northwest of Brisbane) and follow Carnarvon Creek, which is flanked by gradually-narrowing sandstone cliffs and surrounded by palms, cycads and wildflowers. Take a side-track to see some of Australia's best Aboriginal rock art in Cathedral Cave. Next, the trail climbs steeply, reaching a height of 1000 metres above sea level and travelling across peaks, plateaus and ridge lines — expect mind-blowing views aplenty. To master this track, you'll need to be fit and pack your tent, with campgrounds placed at the end of each section.
How long? Six-to-seven days.
Note: The Carnarvon Great Walk is closed from the start of November to the end of February every year because of the heat. For more details, head to the visitor's website.
Top image: Tourism and Events Queensland
Published on November 12, 2020 by Jasmine Crittenden