Off the Grid Hiking Trails in Australia for True Adventure

Introduction

Australia is known the world over for its stunning natural beauty and vast expanses of wilderness waiting to be explored. Those seeking true adventure off the beaten path will find no shortage of possibilities among the incredible off-grid hiking trails that crisscross this diverse continent. From lush rainforests and rugged coastlines to sparsely populated outback and eucalyptus woodlands, Australia offers adventurers opportunities to immerse themselves in nature, challenge themselves physically and mentally, and experience solitude like nowhere else.

Cape to Cape Track, Western Australia

Overview

Stretching 135km along the rugged coastline of Western Australia’s Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, the Cape to Cape Track offers breathtaking coastal scenery and glimpses of the region’s diverse wildlife. The track ranges from sandy beaches and cliffs overlooking the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean to lush karri and marri forests and heathlands dotted with wildflowers. It is considered one of Australia’s best short hiking trails and can be comfortably completed in 4-7 days.

Permits and Equipment

A permit is required to hike the Cape to Cape Track and can be obtained online or from local ranger stations for a small fee. Camping is only allowed at designated campsites along the route. Hikers should carry tents, warm clothing, rain gear, and usual backcountry hiking equipment. Fresh water is available at campsites but should also be carried between sites.

Points of Interest

Some highlights include rugged Naturaliste Ridge Lookout, scenic Eagle Bay Beach, Cape Burney Coastal Park with its rugged sea cliffs, the arching bridge over Crystal Springs, and the historic lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin, the most southwesterly point of mainland Australia. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, emus, parrots and possible whale sightings along the coast between July-November.

Tips

The busiest times are spring and autumn, so consider hiking in shoulder seasons if preferring fewer crowds. Carry adequate food and water, as options are limited mid-route. Campsites do fill, so reserve early or consider booking affordable hut accommodation along the way through the track operator. Allow 4-7 days to fully immerse in the coastal beauty and diverse landscapes at a comfortable pace.

Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory

Overview

Stretching 223km through some of Australia’s most colorful and diverse scenery in the MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs, the Larapinta Trail offers a multi-day wilderness adventure through scenic gorges, palm-fringed creeks and savannah woodlands. It features twelve linked day-hikes of varying difficulty that can be tackled individually or combined for an epic off-grid experience. Sections close annually mid-November to April for the hot and wet season.

Permits and Equipment

No permits are required, but hikers must be fully self-sufficient with camping equipment and supplies. Carry at least 4 liters of water per person daily and refilter creek water. Vast remote areas mean being well prepared for first aid, repairs and extreme weather. Temperatures can plummet to freezing at night even in summer.

Points of Interest

Highlights include the scenic Gorge, Valley and Pass gorges, relics of Aboriginal rock art at Trephina Gorge Nature Park, sweeping views from Mount Sonder, palm-fringed creekside walks and spotting native wildlife like wallabies and birds. The terrain ranges from steep ascents and scrambles to flat creekside trails.

Tips

Time your hike for the dry season from April to November. Carry enough food and supplies for your entire route, as resupply points are scarce. Consider doing shorter sections if time-limited, or hiring an experienced guide. Expect isolation and carry essential equipment like GPS, EPIRB beacon or satellite phone. This is an outstanding route for those desiring an true wilderness challenge.

Bibbulmun Track, Western Australia

Overview

At over 1,000km, the Bibbulmun Track is one of the longest continuous walking tracks in Australia, stretching the entire length of the state from Kalamunda south-east of Perth to Albany on the south coast. Hikers can opt to walk the track in its entirety over 2-3 months or tackle shorter sections over several trips. The trail traverses six of WA’s diverse IBRA bioregions including karri, jarrah and marri forests, wetlands and heath.

Permits and Equipment

No permits required. Camping is permitted only at designated campsites with facilities ranging from basic bush campsites to more developed sites with toilets and showers. Carry full backcountry gear including tent, sleeping bag suitable for variable climate, cooking gear, first aid supplies and at least 4L of water per person daily. https://worldexpeditions.com/Blog/remote-and-challenging-multi-day-hikes-in-australia

Points of Interest

Highlights include scenic forest and woodland walks, sweeping coastal views at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Greens Pool, tranquil tree-top walks, Aboriginal heritage sites, and alpine-like heath landscapes of the Stirling Range National Park. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, echidnas, black cockatoos and parrots among the diverse flora and fauna.

Tips

Consider doing shorter sections or one-way hikes from transport hub to hub using shuttles. Book campgrounds during peak seasons. Moderate level of fitness required, with some steep ascents/descents. Carry extra food and supplies in remote southern sections. Best times are late winter-spring and late autumn-early winter to avoid summer heat and bushfire season or winter rains.

Overland Track, Tasmania

Overview

Winding 65km through Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the multi-day Overland Track is considered one of Australia’s finest alpine treks. It features jaw-dropping mountain scenery, forests of flowering leatherwood trees and sweeping views of glacier-formed lakes like Narcissus and St Clair. Most hikers allocate 6 days to complete the challenging route at a comfortable pace.

Permits and Equipment

A permit obtained well in advance is mandatory to hike the Overland Track from October-May during the summer season, as numbers are strictly limited to 50 walkers per day departing from each end to limit environmental impact. Full backcountry gear, suitable hiking boots and extra warm layers are essential year-round. River crossings or high snow may occasionally close sections temporarily.

Points of Interest

Highlights include cascading mountain streams, breathtaking montane moorland atop appropriately named Cradle Mountain, sweeping vistas of Lakes St Clair and Narcissus, historic Ronny Creek Hut and Kia Ora Hut buildings en route, and abundant wildlife from wombats and pademelons to rare birds like the bird catcher.

Tips

Expect variable weather at any time, bring raingear. Plan to book several months ahead for best campsite selection during the limited summer season. Moderate-high fitness required for undulating terrain and knee-stressing terrain. Opt for a guided experience if lacking navigation skills or not backcountry-equipped. Savor this quintessential Australian wilderness hike.

Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory

Great Ocean Walk, Victoria

Overview

Victoria’s Great Ocean Walk is a 98km coastal hiking trail extending between Apollo Bay on the Tortoise Coast and the fishing community of Port Campbell. It offers spectacular ocean vistas, secluded beaches and glimpses of endangered hooded plover birds nesting along the wild shore. The terrain ranges from soft-sloping trails to steep sections along clifflines with occasional boardwalks, taking around 6 days to complete at a leisurely pace including rest days.

Permits and Equipment

No permits required. Camping is allowed only at designated campsites with areas to pitch tents and shared toilet facilities. Carry full backpacking kit including tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, minimum 4L water per person per day and coastal/shoreline attire. Some sections may require scrambling skills.

Points of Interest

Highlights include pounding surf crashing against rocky coastal formations like the Twelve Apostles, pristine beaches great for swimming and relaxing like Maggie’s Beach and Moonlight Head, panoramic clifftop walks with breathtaking oceans views, historic lighthouses like Cape Otway, and prolific birdlife along the rugged shoreline.

Tips

Carry adequate food, as limited resupply options exist mid-trail apart from camping hub Outpost 47. Consider doing shorter one-way sections and arrange transport/accommodation logistics in advance. Spring/autumn shoulder seasons see fewer crowds but summer remains lovely and crowds are negligible midweek. Obtain detailed maps in advance and watch weather, as coastal cliff sections may become treacherous in storms. This trail rewards efforts with unparalleled coastal beauty.

Cumberland Wilderness Trails, Tasmania

Overview

Within Tasmania’s secluded Southwest National Park lies a network of over 60km of marked hiking trails through tall eucalypt forests and moorlands above coastal cliffs in the remote Cumberland Wilderness area. Trails feature stone cairns marking the route through pristine environments home to rare plants and animals. Multi-day traverses allow for exploration with hike durations ranging from one day to over a week.

Permits and Equipment

Permits required and must be arranged through Southwest National Park Visitor Centre located in Melaleuca at the northwest end of trails. Carry suitable gear for potential wet conditions, minimal amenities and challenging navigation in dense forest. Water sources and campsites are primitive requiring self-sufficiency.

Points of Interest

Majestic montane ash forests home to rare plant species like cushion plants and rare pencil pine, panoramic clifftop views over coastline from points like Mount Sedgwick, potential wildlife encounters with endangered Tasmanian devils and quolls, abandoned mining ruins and settlements provide snapshot into pioneering past.

Tips

Visit during summer-autumn when daylight is longer and rainfall averages are lower. Carry topographic maps, compass and navigational skills suited for route finding challenges in dense bush. Arrange vehicle pick up before or after for transport if undertaking linear or semi-loop routes. For true wilderness discovery away from crowds!

Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory

Strezlecki Track, South Australia

Overview

Winding 230km across the remote Great Victorian Desert in northern South Australia, the Strezlecki Track follows explorer Paul Strezlecki’s route through ancient sand dunes, stony plains, and mulga woodlands. It links the historic town of Marla to the Oodnadatta Track, offering walkers a true off-grid 4WD exploring experience through desolate Outback terrain.

Permits and Equipment

4WD essential to access start/end points and for navigation on sandy tracks. Carry spare parts kit, UHF radio, emergency GPS communication device like SPOT tracker or satellite phone. Camp only in designated areas – carry tent, well-insulated sleeping equipment suitable for winter nights in desert.

Points of Interest

Ruins of old cattle station at Artilla Spring, ancient sand dunes with unique ecosystems, stark desert beauty at Granite Wood and desert limestone outcrops, bird watching for rufous and mallee scrubwrens, stargazing under Australia’s vast night skies, insight into Outback pioneering peoples’ history.

Tips

Visit May-August for milder weather and avoid rainy summer months when tracks turn to mud and close temporarily. Carry ample food, fuel, water self-sufficient for duration between isolated communities and stations. Dispersed camping only in approved sites to leave no trace. Drive carefully over sandy terrain and assess track conditions before attempting any sections. For self-reliant adventurers seeking true isolation and landscapes of amazing contrasts!

Thorsborne Trail, Queensland

Overview

At 130km along the edge of the Great Dividing Range north of Monto, the Thorsborne Trail offers one of Queensland’s premier off-grid hiking experiences. It showcases the scenic yet rugged McAlister Range, Bunya Mountains National Park and brigalow scrub ecosystems home to endemic wildlife at a relaxed week-long pace.

Permits and Equipment

No permits needed. Suitable cross-country hiking gear essential and be well equipped to treat potential snakebites in remote region. Camp only at designated sites, carry tents, self-sufficient food and minimum 4L water per person daily.

Points of Interest

Majestic bushland scenery along the range, cascading Teewah Creek, crystal clear Blue Pool, rare bunya forests, glimpse endangered brush-tailed rock-wallabies, cattle ruins, outdoor sculpture trails and historic townships en route provide perspective of pioneering Outback livelihoods.

Tips

Undertake during cooler months Apr-Nov. Navigation and route-finding skills recommended for unmarked sections through thick brigalow scrub. Carry detailed maps, GPS devices recommended but not essential. Obtain trail notes on route from visitor centers. True immersion in Queensland’s unique and little-trodden natural environment!

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