Setting off into the wilderness on one of Queensland’s Great Walks with your pack and hiking boots sounds enticing, right? Nothing beats the chance to explore the pristine beauty of nature that abounds in the Sunshine State while escaping from the cares and responsibilities of everyday life … just for a little while.
Think: glorious beaches, spectacular geological formations, crystal clear lagoons, ancient rainforests and rich Indigenous culture, just to name a few of the treasures that await.
Queensland’s Great Walks are a world-class system of walking tracks through some of our best protected areas, including four magnificent World Heritage Areas. With a range of experiences on offer, from half and full-day walks to extended overnight adventures (2–8 days), there’s a walk to suit all ages and abilities.
But hold up—there are a few things to take care of first before you set off. Here’s what you need to do to go on a Great Walk.
1. Choose your walk
Check out the Great Walks on offer. With ten Great Walks across the state, as well as iconic hikes such as the Thorsborne Trail and Goldfield Trail, you are truly spoilt for choice.
Hike for a day or a week on the K’gari (Fraser Island) Great Walk through towering rainforest, past crystal-clear lakes, coloured sands and vast sand dunes; or tune into the sounds of the forest, the calls of bowerbirds and catbirds, as you enjoy a refuge from Queensland’s hot summers on the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.
Experience a unique blend of seaways and picturesque walks across Whitsunday, South Molle and Hook islands on the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail; or explore lush subtropical rainforest dotted with rockpools, waterfalls and stunning views in three national parks—Kondalilla, Mapleton Falls and Mapleton–on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk.
Take an unforgettable journey through dense rainforest, deep gorges, steep escarpments and tranquil farming communities on the Mackay Highlands Great Walk; or delve into Indigenous culture as you experience the remote and beautiful landscape of towering sandstone cliffs, sweeping tablelands and shaded side-gorges on the Carnarvon Great Walk.
2. Book your permits
Once you’ve chosen your walk, do your research (see link to our website at end of blog) to find the best time to visit the region and hike the track. Decide if you want to do a half-day or full-day walk or a multi-day hike. Remember that multi-day hikes require overnight camping and all camping in Queensland’s parks and forests needs to be booked in advance. So if you plan to hike and camp, make your bookings, obtain your camping permits and you are good to go (almost). Keep reading …
3. Get your bearings
Our Great Walks traverse remote areas so you’ll need a brochure with a detailed map, compass and/or a GPS.
Six of the ten Great Walks have brochures with topographic maps (see link at end of blog for where to obtain topographic maps). These maps provide safety information and good orientation with accurate topographic data to help you enjoy walking through some stunning scenery without getting lost. Low resolution versions of the topographic maps are available on our website to help plan your walking trip in these remote and often rugged areas. Low resolution maps are good for planning and booking your camp sites, but cannot be relied upon for navigating the walk as printing from your computer screen may distort the topographic data.
4. Prep your gear
You’ll be carrying everything so the key to a successful hike is to pack light. You need:
- sun protection (hats and sunscreen)
- illumination (torch and spare batteries)
- clothing to suit the climate (layers, hiking boots, rain jacket, socks and gaiters)
- cooking gear (portable stove, pots, cutlery and matches)
- sleeping gear (tent, sleeping bag and mat)
- food and water (water containers, camelback bladder, hiking backpack, meals, and energy snacks)
- first-aid kit including insect repellent
- comms (mobile phone, satellite phone and PLB–personal locator beacon)
- rubbish bags (take out what you take in).
5. Fine-tune your plan
Inform (reliable) friends of your destination, route, and day and time you expect to leave and return—just in case you get lost or injured—ask them to contact the police if you don’t return as planned. But remember to let them know of your return as soon as you finish your walk!
Finally before you set out, check:
- park alerts for information on current park conditions and track closures
- Bureau of Meteorology for weather conditions, forecasts and warnings.
Ok I’m in!
There’s a true sense of freedom on Queensland’s Great Walks and other challenging hikes. Connect more deeply with nature as you explore wild and remote environments, far away from everyday life. What are you waiting for?
Get more information here: