7 tough (but breathtaking) treks

The challenging climb of Frenchman's Cap provides rewarding views. | Sorrel Wilby
The challenging climb of Frenchman's Cap provides rewarding views. | Sorrel Wilby
Discover the challenging Treks in Australia that are not only incredibly beautiful, but a little bit tough and ultimately rewarding. Some of Australia’s most treasured and remote landscapes can't be accessed by cars or even mountain bikes. These breathtaking places, like Federation Peak, the remote beaches of Tasmania’s South Coast Track, and some of the peaks in the Walls of Jerusalem, can only be reached on two feet, and they're definitely not a walk in a park.   
 
Pristine landscapes exploring Serpentine Chalet |  <i>Linda Murden</i>

The Larapinta Trail – Self Guided End to End – 12 days

For experienced walkers, taking on the challenge of the entire 223km length of the Larapinta Trail is high on the bucket list. During this complete traverse of the inspiring Larapinta Trail, self guided trekkers carry their own full pack, up to 25kg in weight across the arid and captivating West MacDonnell Ranges. While there will be some challenging stages as you pass over remote ridges and canyons (walking up to 35kms on some days), the feeling of achievement that will come over you as you view your path from the top of Mount Sonder is a memory to cherish for a lifetime. When to go: Winter is arguably the best time to experience the Larapinta Trail, as it offers prime trekking conditions, more stable temperatures and endlessly blue days. During the daytime, temperatures hover at low-mid 20C with refreshingly cool breezes, however evenings temperatures can drop close to 0C, particularly in the valleys, and the frost that covers the ground can create a snow-like appearance. Many people are surprised to find out how cold it can get in the middle of winter, so trekkers need to make sure they are adequately prepared for cold nights with insulated sleeping bags, beanies, gloves and thermal underwear. Difficulty: While many of our Larapinta Trail treks are graded moderate, the Self Guided End-to-End trek is more difficult as it requires trekkers to carry a full pack for the duration of the trip. Some sections of the trail are flat and easy, yet other sections are more undulating and get your heart pumping. Our food drop service is great for taking the sting out of having to carry all your food. 
 
Heading to the summit of Cradle Mountain |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i>

The Overland Track – 6 days

The Overland Track is one of Tasmania’s finest walks, spanning 73kms across the Cradle Mountain St Clair National Park. Over 6 days, trekkers pass some of the highest peaks in the state, walking through spectacular scenery that changes every few hours. From magnificent lakes, waterfalls, cliffs and lookouts, you’ll encounter a variety of landforms and vegetation - with each day offering a completely new experience than the previous. When to go: December to February are undoubtedly the most popular months to trek the Overland track. As the rest of Australia basks in warm summer days, Tasmania’s summers are relatively cool– the average maximum temperatures sit at a comfortable 16°C (though it can be possible for temperatures to reach 30°C as well!). Flowers are in full bloom, adding vivid bursts of colour to the plains, and the long days mean your chances for side trips are much more likely. Difficulty: The Overland Track covers all skill levels. Some days can be strenuous but are generally unintimidating. However, the weather in Cradle Mountain Lake St Claire National Park can be localised, and trekking during the early spring or late autumn months can see strong winds, rain and sleet during the day. 
 
Walking in the Walls of Jerusalem |  <i>Don Fuchs</i>

The Walls Of Jerusalem Circuit – 6 days

Known amongst locals as the “Land of a Thousand Lakes”, the Walls Of Jerusalem National Park in Central Tasmania is a truly magical place of highland tarns and lakes, dolerite peaks and alpine forests. Originally formed by an ice cap during the relatively recent ice age (just 22,000 years ago), over four thousand lakes can be found amongst beautiful mountain valleys, alpine meadows and forests. Trekkers can climb some of the craggy hills and admire the spectacular views of mountains in the distance including Cradle Mountain, Barn Bluff, Mount Oakleigh and Mount Ossa in the distance, as the thousands of lakes shimmer across the valleys like silver coins scattered across the high plateau. Home to unique flora and fauna, including cushion plants and scoparia flowers, the Walls of Jerusalem is one of the most beautiful parks in Tasmania, if not the world. When to go: The months of December-April have long daylight hours and warmer average temperatures. However, weather conditions can change rapidly at any time of the year. Trekkers can expect extremes such as howling winds, sleet, snow, relentless rain and blazing sun. All of these varied conditions can be experienced even within a single day. Difficulty: The Walls of Jerusalem Circuit isn’t an easy trek. The climbs aren’t too demanding and you’ll find yourself challenged on various stages throughout the trek.   
 
Conditions on the South Coast Track trip |  <i>Anne Jordan</i>

The South Coast Track – 9 days

The South Coast Track is undoubtedly one of last great wilderness treks in Australia, and is also known as one of Tassie’s toughest multi-day treks. Crossing the unspoiled wilderness of Tasmania’s southernmost shores, this challenging, 9 day trek covers 85 kilometers over a variety of Tasmanian landscapes – these include empty beaches, towering rainforests, and alpine heights. You can expect to carry a full pack of up to 20 kg’s, while walking 10-15 kms each day across remote walking tracks, sometimes across river crossings, muddy moors and steep ascents. The ever-changing landscape, pristine wilderness and abundance of wildlife make it all worthwhile – not to mention the feeling of elation and pride as you finish the trek! When to go: The simple answer for this is between November and April. Be prepared for any weather conditions, as the weather can turn very, very quickly. Difficulty: Due to the localised weather, you can expect to get wet, cold and damp at any time. Combined with carrying a full pack up to 20kgs, this is a challenging trek that requires a decent amount of fitness.   From high on Mt Eliza there is great views over the glacial valley of Lake Judd |  <i>Chris Buykx</i>

Mount Anne Circuit - 5 days

Located in the remote south west of Tasmania, the Mount Anne Circuit presents one of the Australia’s great bushwalking challenges. Combining all of our favourite aspects of a south west wilderness epic: a spectacular objective, sub alpine crags and exposed scrambles, deep forests and idyllic lakes. Our five day itinerary allows us enough time to do a complete circuit with extra time for side trips and in case of delays due to bad weather. When to go: Mount Anne trips run between January to May, however Tasmania’s alpine regions can experience heavy rainfalls and temperatures below zero degrees in summer. For group safety and comfort, having adequate gear and equipment for the local conditions is essential. Difficulty: This is an extremely demanding unsupported bushwalk subject to some of Tasmania’s worst weather. The Mount Anne Circuit is open to people with unsupported pack carrying bushwalking experience with a high level of fitness and confidence in difficult geographical and weather situations. Please contact our office to discuss your suitability for this tour.   Approaching Bathurst Narrows on the Port Davey Track |  <i>Stef Gebbie</i>

Port Davey Track – 7 days

The Port Davey Track is a challenging bushwalk in the remote south west of Tasmania's World Heritage wilderness area. Trekking out from Scotts Peak Dam the group will skirt the imposing Western Arthurs. Surrounded by the ancient peaks of the White Monolith Range, you will camp on the banks of the mystical Crossing and Spring Rivers. Rare pockets of rainforest with ancient Celery Top Pines and Sassafras are a contrast to the open skies of the Lost World Plateau. A boat crossing of Bathurst Harbour at the Narrows leads to a walk to the isolated outpost of Melaleuca where you will prepare for an exhilarating flight back into civilization. When to go: Port Davey Track treks run from January to May, however it is important to note that Tasmanian weather can be unpredictable, and can change rapidly. A warm sunny day can quickly turn to a day of high winds, hail, sleet and snow — even in summer. Difficulty: Physical and mental preparation for your trek cannot be highlighted enough. Come open minded and ready for a wonderful experience whatever the weather, whoever the group, and let go of your preconceived ideas. Your guides will be working to enhance your trek and maximise your safety. 
 
Hikers on Frenchman's Cap |  <i>Sam Craddock</i>

Frenchman’s Cap – 6 days

Frenchman’s Cap is one of the top walks in Australia, and is a 46km challenging return journey that gives trekkers some of the best views across the entire World Heritage Wilderness area. Amidst this truly wild area you will discover an abundance of wildlife including many endemic bird species. By allowing five days of walking and camping under the summit, the carefully thought out itinerary allows a greater chance of visiting the peak in fine weather. From the summit you will be rewarded with spectacular views throughout the Tasmanian wilderness including Mt. Ossa, the Arthur Range and Macquarie Harbour. When to go: The months of December-April have long daylight hours and warmer average temperatures. However, walkers are warned that rapidly changing weather conditions can occur at any time of the year. These can include howling winds, sleet, snow, relentless rain and blazing sun. All of these varied conditions can be experienced even within a single day. Difficulty: You will be tested as you manage the unpredictable weather, mud, and climb the steep 450m to summit Frenchmans Cap, so this walk is recommended for experienced trekkers only.
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