If you’re a hiker who has ticked off the easy stuff, gained experience and has good equipment (and you’re willing to carry it all on your back), then it might be time to shift up a gear and try one of these challenging three-day hikes. Preparation is key to staying safe and getting the most out of your adventure. Be sure to take appropriate hiking clothes and equipment, download the Alltrails app and take an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). A good first-aid kit is essential, and don’t forget items such as insect repellent, sunblock, and FESS Nasal Defence Nasal Spray to help relieve nasal congestion caused by allergies or hayfever. With all your equipment packed, you’ll just need to decide which hike to tackle first.
NSW: Kanangra to Katoomba
Whether or not you’ve bushwalked around Katoomba in the Blue Mountains before, this three-to-four-day hike is a little different. Starting from the Kanangra Walls carpark and finishing in Katoomba, the 47-kilometre hike is a true wilderness experience. The terrain can be unrelenting, and the hike is best tackled in the cooler months. Many sections are overgrown, so take a good map or do some research before you leave. You’ll need to be totally self-sufficient, but the campsites generally have a water source.
VIC: Duwul to Durd Durd
This mountain adventure traverses the toughest section of the new Grampians Peaks Trail in Grampians National Park (also known by the traditional name Gariwerd) in western Victoria. The full 160-kilometre trail takes around 13 days, but this 33-kilometre section is a great way to sample the highlights, including rock scrambles, creek crossings and steep, lung-busting climbs.
Starting at Redman Road, south of Halls Gap, you’ll scale Redman Bluff before dropping down to Duwul Campground for the night. Day two will see you climb Mount William (Duwul), the highest peak in the Grampians, and cross the remote and wild Major Mitchell Plateau. It’s all downhill on day three, which finishes at Jimmy Creek Road.
Grampians Peaks Walking Co offer shuttles to and from road ends, and other hiker support services. Campsites need to be booked in advance from Parks Victoria.
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QLD: Thorsborne Trail
Lying just between Townsville and Cairns, Hinchinbrook Island (or Munamudanamy) is Australia’s largest island national park. Expect paradise-like beaches, lagoons and blissful swimming holes beneath cascading waterfalls.
The island is a true wilderness experience, with no infrastructure other than campsite toilets and a few picnic tables. The trail traces the beaches and forests of the east coast and is less demanding than other hikes on this list, with relatively short hiking days. You will need to carry everything though – and it’s recommended that you don’t attempt this trail in the heat of summer. Allow yourself three nights at a minimum, so you can spend time swimming and soaking up the scenery. Absolute North Charters will get you to and from the island, but it’s recommended to book six months in advance.
NT: Standley Chasm to Hugh Gorge
Australia’s outback has never looked better than from the Larapinta Trail, a long-distance (223-kilometre) trek through the ancient West MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, near Alice Springs. There are 12 sections and various entry points, so you can break the trail up as you choose. Standley Chasm to Hugh Gorge is a tough, 32-kilometre hike – especially gruelling if it’s hot - but you’re rewarded with wildlife galore, stunning geological formations and serene waterholes.
The section begins at Standley Chasm/Angkerle Atwatye, located on a private flora and fauna reserve belonging to the Iwupataka Land Trust, then climbs steeply to Brinkley Bluff for some of the best views on the trail. Days two and three have everything from ridgetop skirting to riverbed rambling, with plenty of mad boulder scrambles thrown in. It’s technical and tough Grade-5 hiking, not to be underestimated.
TAS: Mount Anne Circuit
The raw beauty of Tasmania’s remote Southwest National Park has always attracted intrepid hikers. Excellent fitness, mental fortitude and navigation skills are required to stay the course along this 35-kilometre hike, which begins at Condominium Creek car park.
Mount Anne is the highest mountain in south-west Tasmania, rising 1423 metres above the button grass moorlands, wedged between knife-edge quartzite ridge lines and pendant-like mountain lakes. You’ll be scrambling up jumbles of granite blocks and slippery rock faces that fall away steeply on all sides. You’ll also need to tackle a vertical rock chimney that requires some serious shimmying (and potentially a rope to haul up your packs).
Spread over three nights, the distance might seem short, but the terrain is never easy and the circuit should only be attempted by experienced hikers.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with FESS Nasal Defence Nasal Spray.
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