The national parks of Queensland will spoil hikers with their diversity and spectacular landscapes. Here are some of the best guided wilderness walks from across the state.
Queensland’s national parks are symbols of state pride, landscapes of extraordinary beauty and often places of scientific or conservation value. National parks are also magical places for impossibly perfect hikes that will lift the heart and help reset the year. Next time you’re looking to explore the wilds of Queensland, we suggest you do it on two feet, with one of these 11 local guided tours and learn a little bit more about yourself as well as your own backyard.
Multi-Day Guided Walking Holidays
Few places on earth have as many primitive plants that can trace their roots back 100 million years as the lush reserves that make up the Gondwana Rainforest 90 minutes south-west of Brisbane. Ascribed World Heritage listing in 1985, this spectacular terrain is the backdrop for a five-day, 55km guided tour through untouched wilderness.
During the Spicers Scenic Rim Trail itinerary, one of the most popular Queensland walks, you’ll follow an old logging trail deep into Gondwana Rainforests and take in the dramatic peaks, ridges, and escarpments of the Main Range National Park. Each day ends with a hot shower and a chilled beverage plus a hearty meal and a luxury pillow at the Spicers’ eco-bush camps.
Keep those boots laced; Southern Queensland Country has a three day/two-night guided mountain trail dubbed by one happy hiker as “a time traveller’s journey through ancient forests in the footsteps of pioneers and graziers.” Starting near Killarney, the hike follows the historic Rabbit Board Fence for 35km to the foothills of Wilson’s Peak and includes a night camping on Farmer Mal’s property and a night in a cottage.
For something a little more remote, follow Trek West Hiking founder Shelley Hawkins as she takes you across the northwestern pocket of Outback Queensland – on foot. Small group tours depart from Mt Isa and hikers enjoy guided trekking, sunset refreshments, chef-prepared meals on tables laden with linen tablecloths, and an already-pitched tent and sleeping mat. Try the Big Loop Trail, a five-day, 66km trek that follows the limestone gorges of the Boodjamulla National Park along some of Australia’s most remote and untouched landscapes.
In 1937 a Stinson Model A Airliner crashed into the surrounding World Heritage-listed McPherson Ranges killing five people on board. Ten days later, local farmer turned hospitality guide Bernard O’Reilly used a generation of bushcraft to clamber over tough terrain to reach the plane and mount a rescue operation for the two survivors.
Today, experienced hikers exploring the best Queensland walks can trek the 9.2 km from Christmas Creek to Westray’s Grave and rock hop along the creek bed to get to the crash site. The main prize is the physical and mental accomplishment and a sense of tapping into a footnote in Australian history, as well as the keen insights of your knowledgeable guide from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Resort where you’ll be accommodated.
Mt Barney Lodge owner Innes Larkin has climbed a lot of mountains in his life, including to Everest base camp. This passionate man and his wife Tracey have created out-of-the-box weekend hiking adventures that come with an easy sleep at their property, 90 minutes drive from Brisbane.
Try the Mountain Fit Series; three Queensland walks in three months at low, medium and high elevation designed to improve fitness, or the Three Peaks Challenge, a week of planned mountain hikes that explore the lush wilderness tracts of the Scenic Rim. You can also release the training wheels and try a Navigation Workshop and the art of mountaineering.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and it’s clocked up more than 25 years as a World-Heritage listed site. Now, there’s another reason to visit Fraser Island with the launch of the K’Gari Blue Lakes Hike. Ticking off five of the island’s most beautiful freshwater lakes over a three-day, two-night, self-guided, fully supported trail, the hike includes 4WD transfers to the daily starting point, luggage transfers, and a daily hosted arrival that also comes with a pre-pitched campsite and a hearty meal.
A lifetime away from the surfside glamour of the Gold Coast is a 54km trail that meanders along the rim of the ancient Tweed Volcano. In the rainforest-clad hills, hikers will spot possums, sugar gliders, and tree frogs and keep an ear out for cockatoos and lyrebirds. Retreat from the heat and team up with Life’s An Adventure for a four-day pack-free walk in comfort.
Bite-sized Guided Hikes for Travellers Short on Time
The Daintree Rainforest is the world’s oldest rainforest and a remarkable biosphere. Dip your toe in this prehistoric wonderland on a three-hour forest walk with a professional naturalist from Venture Deeper. Walks to this prehistoric paradise depart from Mossman Gorge.
Located 720 kilometres north-west of Brisbane, amongst rugged ranges, is the Carnarvon Gorge, an Eden of sandstone wilderness marked by a series of cliffs bisected by deeply eroded gorges. Here, knee-deep freshwater streams are scattered with boulders and ochre stencils decorate cliff faces. Take a full day walk with Simon or Michelle from Australian Nature Guides and see the gorge through the eyes of an expert who has lived there for more than 20 years.
Move over Disney, the Jellurgal team has a playlist of creation stories that are bigger, bolder and better than any Hollywood blockbuster. And each story makes sense of the iconic Burleigh Head National Park that forms the backdrop of this two-hour walking tour presented by Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Hardcore hikers can also now tackle one of the most challenging terrains in the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park with a guide. One of the best Queensland walks, trek through lowland rainforest and coral fern-dotted clearings before scrambling over boulders to the Devils Thumb, a significant cultural site that tells the story of fire creation. It’s ten hours and 10km, but the soul soaring views over Main Coast Range make it worthwhile.
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