Adventure

Your Guide To Queensland’s 11 Best Hikes, From Easy Strolls To Multi-Day Adventures

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If you’re not yet aware that Queensland is a ridiculously beautiful place, then you’ve been living with your head under a rock. It’s a particularly good time for nature lovers or anyone who enjoys a bit of adventure.

While the Great Barrier Reef might get the most attention in this part of the country, the many hikes here will prove there’s a lot more to love. There are so many different terrains throughout the Sunny State: from red dirt deserts to white-sand beaches and bright green rainforests.

The best part is, it’s one of the areas in Australia that just about gets to skip winter as we Southerners know it, so you can take a trip most of the year-round.

For your convenience, we’ve ranked them from ‘easy stroll’ to ‘intense camping’ experiences. You’re welcome.

#1 Ngaro Sea Trail, The Whitsundays

The details: four hours to two days, 5-15km, easy to moderate, parts are accessible.

 

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What could make a hike in The Tropical Whitsundays better? Getting to jump on a boat as part of your journey. This trail actually continues over three islands: Whitsunday Island, South Molle and Hook Island.

There is technically no set length for this one. You can take it all on and hike your way up peaks, along winding pathways and through open forests, or just enjoy one island. Many areas around these islands still hold cultural significance for the local Ngaro people. Read more about it and possible pathways to take here.

#2 Mt Ngungun Summit, Glass House Mountains

The details:  two hours, 2.8km, moderate, some areas of the national park accessible.

 

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Between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast sits a series of dramatic mountains. There’s a track through the area to suit most hiking levels, from ones that kids can do to legit scrambles. What doesn’t change is the outrageously beautiful views from every angle.

One of the best hikes is up to the peak of Mt Ngungun, which is short but very steep so be prepared to scramble. When you make it to the summit though, you’ll be rewarded with striking 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, hinterland and coastline.

#3 Forts Walk, Magnetic Island

The details: four hours, 4km, easy to moderate, not accessible.

 

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Sure, there are a few hill climbs and steps, but you’ll often see kids along this trail. In fact, it’s one of the most popular on the island. You’ll get to wander through eucalypt forests, past coastal lookouts, spot koalas in the wild, and get a bit of history with some World War two ruins.

#4 Walshs Pyramid, Aloomba

The details: five hours, 6km, difficult, not accessible.

 

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While steep, rocky and still a fairly difficult hike, this is a shorter and easier alternative to Mt Bartle in Wooroonooran National Park (see below). You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with 380-degree views of the surrounding ranges, however.

As there isn’t a lot of scrub to provide shade, hikers are urged to plan for a sunny and hot hike and to leave early in the day.

#5 Devil’s Thumb, Daintree National Park

The details: 10 hours, 10km, difficult, not accessible, may require a guide.

This is something of a backcountry scramble, but when you reach the large boulder –known as Devil’s Thumb — overhanging the stunning rainforest of Daintree National Park, the views make it all worth it. Look out over the Main Coast Range, the coastline and Coral Sea.

You’ll need to be something of a hiking expert to attempt this one, especially if you’re going it alone. However, you can now join a guide to be sure you get there and back safely. This one is actually better during winter, aka ‘dry season’ from May until November.

#6 Kahlpahlim Rock, Davies Creek National Park

The details: 11 hours, 12.3km, difficult, not accessible, park fees may apply.

 

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At approximately 1300 metres above sea level, Kahlpahlim Rock (aka Lambs Head) is no small walk to tackle, but it’s doable if your fitness and hiking shoes are up for a challenge.

As the highest point in Davies Creek National Park’s Lamb Range, this climb up striking granite boulders results in some pretty epic panoramic views of the area. There are two paths to choose from, but both are steep and converge near the top, so it doesn’t really matter which you take.

#7 Carnarvon Great Walk, Central Highlands

The details:  one day, 14km, moderate, accessible visitor area, park fees and camping permits apply.

 

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We’re still a while off popping over to the Grand Canyon, but Australia has its own smaller version in the form of Carnavon Gorge in Queensland’s central highlands. Expect grand sandstone cliffs, vibrant natural colours and diverse flora and fauna on this mostly flat trail. There’s also a lot of Indigenous sites here too, so you get nature and culture.

You can get around the gorge in an easy and popular 14km hike, or follow the whole 87km Great Walk through the entire national park.

#8 Mount Bartle Frere, Wooroonooran National Park

The details: two days, 15km, difficult, not accessible, camping permits and fees apply.

A little south of Cairns in Wooroonooran National Park is Queensland’s highest mountain, Mt Bartle Frere. Rising 1622 metres above sea level, this is an undertaking for the fit and experienced, but golly the views are worth it.

There are two trails up the mountain, and both are also better from May to October when the weather is typically cooler and drier.

#9 Hinterland Great Walk, Gold Coast

The details:  three days, 54km, moderate to hard, not accessible, park fees and camping permits apply.

 

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If you’ve made it to the Gold Coast but haven’t explored the hinterland area, you’re doing it wrong. Have an adventure on the whole 54km of winding track along the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, through Lamington and Springbrook National Parks and along the rim of ancient Tweed Volcano (did you know we had extinct volcanoes? Because I didn’t).

You can cover the main hike in three days, but many people choose to add a couple of extra days to their trip so they can take a few of the stunning shorter hikes in the area. The parks recommend checking the weather a few days before you plan to go, as it can range from 36-degree days in summer to 0-degree days in winter.

#10 Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island

The details: four days, 32km, difficult, not accessible, pass fees apply.

 

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This trail across the untouched Hinchinbrook Island is absolutely the avid hikers dream, but a bit hard to book into seeing as only 40 people are allowed on the island at a time — so book well in advance.

It’s almost like you’re trekking through Jurrasic park, with dense rainforest, cloud-covered mountains towering 1000m above sea level, rocky headlands and mangrove-fringed waterways. And yes, this is where those epic photos of a natural infinity pool are from.

#11 Cooloola Great Walk, Sunshine Coast

The details:  five days, 102km, moderate to hard, not accessible, park fees and camping permits apply.

 

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Noosa isn’t just for the recently wed, it’s for adventurers who love an ocean view. This 102km hike takes you through sand dunes, beaches, lighthouses and the Noosa River.

If you go at the right time of year you can even catch migrating whales off the shore from Double Island Point lighthouse.


(Lead Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)