I love the feeling of pure escapism that bursts through me when I head on a day hike with a few good mates. Sometimes though, I need to go much deeper into the wild to get my nature fix. A multi-day hike is the remedy I self-prescribe.
But where to go in NSW? Rugged coastline tracks and mountain passes? Outback isolation and river trails? With more route options than you can shake a walking stick at, narrowing it down to a ‘top five’ is rather difficult, but here are my top picks.
Kosciuszko National Park
“I’ve bagged Australia’s ten highest peaks in three days”; there’s something almightily impressive about this statement. Although it sounds like something ‘20-schooner Harry’ would announce at a remote outback pub, it’s actually 100 per cent achievable, believe me.
I started the Main Range Circuit track from Charlotte Pass (50km from Jindabyne) which runs for approximately 55km through Kosciuszko National Park. Undulating between Mt Northcote (2131m) and Mt Kosciuszko (2,228m), I ran into many day-trippers going only as far as the Blue Lake, whilst the more adventurous, like myself, pushed on for the three-day adventure. I set up camp at sunset atop of Australia with views across the horizon that blew my mind; throw in a dash of alpine lakes and a sprinkle of glacial lagoons, and I was served with one of the country’s best hikes. My favourite is at Mueller’s Pass, overlooking the pristine Albina Lake.
Nadgee Nature Reserve, Far South Coast
Coastal walks don’t get much better than the Nadgee wilderness walk.
Suitable for experienced walkers only, this four day escape took me 50km from Merrica River to Mallacoota through pristine coastline. The walk is a melting pot of wilderness experiences, from secluded campground and lagoons to 50m deep sea caves and empty pristine beaches, which I made sure to make the most of.
Those with an affinity for birdwatching are also in for a treat here; native Short-tailed Shearwaters, Ground Parrot, Eastern Bristlebird, Sooty Oystercatchers, Striated Fieldwren and Hooded Plovers all call here home.
Budawangs National Park
An explorer’s playground south of Sydney, the Budawangs is an awe-inspiring wilderness area. Like others on this list, it’s only to be attempted by seasoned, highly-prepared hikers. I started this walk at the campground in Wog Wog, weaving along a 55km trail that took me through a number of awe-inspiring sites, including the gravity-defying Corang Arch, Mt Coles’ cavernous camping caves and the Corang River to name but a few. While this can be done over two days, I’d recommend a slower three days to ensure the balance between pain and pleasure is palatable.
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Green Gully Track, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
There are very few multi-day bushwalks in Australia that a tent is not required for. Along the Green Gully Track I found myself feeling like I was ‘living the high life’ in this beautifully restored heritage hut that came complete with all the manners of creature comforts. So after a tough day on the trail, vagabonds like myself can ditch the therma-rest and sink into a mattress for the night! Make a booking here.
I conquered this spectacular 65km loop monster track within four-days, where I found myself traversing along a variety of terrain within the world-heritage listed Oxley Rivers, from pre-historic gorges and untamed rivers to thick rainforest and towering ridge lines.
New England National Park
Have you completed several overnight hikes in challenging conditions and are now itching for your next challenge? If so, give yourself a pat on the back, I know I did; it’s absolutely essential that you’ve got your ‘map reading’ badge for this one.
With an abundance of rivers and creeks to negotiate en route, it’s a wild swimming mecca (at the right time of year) so don’t forget to pack your budgie smugglers. The 33km three-dayer sent me along ridgelines and subtropical rainforest, ensuring a wildly varied walk. In spring you’ll probably see more snakes than in an Indiana Jones movie, so wearing gaiters is a necessity.
Please note that some of these location highlights are incredibly isolated and should only be attempted by experienced hikers that are skilled to handle such conditions and terrain. For more information on hiking safety see the NSW Police Think Before Your Trek tips.
Always check the safety and bushfire alerts when planning your trip on the NPWS website.