Touring Australia’s diverse continent typically includes snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and driving through the famed Outback, but the country’s nearly 3 million square miles include some hidden gems, many of which are in Australia’s western territory. From vast desert to coastal cities, Western Australia has hiking for all talents. If you’re looking for a winter escape outside of the American Southwest, check out these hikes and start planning.
The Bibbulmun Track
Where: Perth to Albany
Total Distance: Roughly 600 miles – access points throughout
Located southwest of Perth, this long-distance walking and hiking trail is considered one of the world’s premier multi-day excursion. The bush walk trail stretches more than 600 miles from Kalamunda, in the heart of the Perth hills, to the historic southern town of Albany, on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Along the way, you’ll find a number of attractions and accommodations for those looking for less camping and more glamping. You’ll intersect Serpentine National Park and multiple wineries too, with plenty of fun detours for the whole family. As you approach the end of your trip, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking coastal views.
Ghost House Trail
Where: Yanchep National Park
Total Distance: 7.5 miles
This day hike isn’t far from Perth’s city center, but offers unspoiled encounters with Western Australia’s extraordinary wetlands. There’s even the possibility of koala and kangaroo sightings. After trudging through miles of deep, luminous scrubland, you’ll approach the ruinous Ghost House. The dystopian remains of a home consumed by nature rest easy on the edge of Tuart forest. The looped walk includes a variety of cliffs and limestone caves suitable for all ages. Tours given throughout the day feature more details about the region and its wild inhabitants.
Cape to Cape Track
Where: Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
Total Distance: 84 miles
This hike begins on the southwest corner of Western Australia in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, just 150 miles south of Perth. Beginning and ending with a lighthouse, this hike is a coastal paradise. Along the way, you’ll be enticed with views of comely beaches and reticent forests. Nearby are a number of attractions including wineries, specialty cheese shops, and museums. While the hike is mostly on smooth, level ground, there are a few challenging scrambles required of hikers, but there are various access points throughout the trail for a less strenuous experience.
Mandu Mandu Gorge
Where: Ningaloo Reef National Park
Total Distance: 1.8 miles
If you’re unable to see the endangered Great Barrier Reef before coral bleaching further devastates it, Ningaloo Marine Park is a peerless alternative. The park protects more than 150 miles of coral on the mid-north coast. Park officials encourage visitors to snorkel through Coral Bay and swim with the native marine life, including sharks and dolphins. Hikers looking for a challenge are encouraged to take the end of the Mandu Mandu track and follow the northern ridge of the gorge to a panoramic view of the Ningaloo Reef. This hike usually requires a high level of fitness due to rugged terrain and scrambling.
Where: Nambung National Park
Total Distance: 1.2 miles
Dry, idyllic desert takes form at Nambung National Park, located in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. The Pinnacles are limestone spire formations created from the seashells of ancient marine life. The Pinnacles are best visited from August to October, and opportunities for wildlife sightings in the park are opulent. Western Gray Kangaroos, cockatoos, and emus are often recognized in the park. There’s a short scenic walking and driving trail that winds around the Pinnacles, giving you easy access to these once-in-a-lifetime sights.