Sometimes you just need to explore longer than a one-day outing will allow. To test what you're capable of and expand your horizons. From the sunny coast to the depths of the state's forested landscapes and everything in between, read on to learn more about some of the best multi-day hikes in NSW and start planning your next outdoor adventure.
Great North Walk
In a nutshell: An absolute monster of a trek that only true veterans of multi-day hiking should tackle.
As you can imagine with a journey as long as this one, there’s a huge variety of landscapes and scenery: urban jungle, dense bushland, suburban neighbourhood scenes and small country town charm. There's also wide-open walking along the coast, plus cafes, pretty architecture, and plenty of lovely people and fellow walkers to meet en route.
It all starts from a sandstone landmark at Macquarie Place Park in the heart of the Sydney CBD and takes you to downtown Newcastle just over two weeks later. Along the way you'll move through plenty of towns and national parks, most of which will have accommodation options ranging from motels and rental properties to campsites.
As with many multi-day hikes, you're best to take public transport to your starting point. This is especially true with a journey this long. If you're starting in Sydney, take a train, bus or ferry into the heart of the city. When you wrap up in Newcastle, you can take the train back to Sydney.
The Six Foot Track has become a favourite for long-distance hikers from all over the country. But don't let the name fool you; this trail covers far, far more than that, spanning 46km from start to finish. But this stretch of land wasn't always made for walking, at least not by humans. It follows an old horse-riding track created in 1884, with the name coming from the width of this original trail.
The route starts in Katoomba, setting off from the site of the Explorers Tree. Along the way you'll come across gorgeous waterfalls, large swaths of dense forest, an iconic swing bridge and lookouts opening up to seemingly never-ending views. At the end, you'll arrive at Jenolan Caves.
If you don't want to worry about driving, you can take the train to Katoomba Station and start your trip with the extra 3km walk to the site of the Explorers Tree. But after three tough days of hiking and a relative lack of public transportation options, you're probably going to want to call in a favour and get a lift from the caves.
Note: Even the most seasoned hikers need to take precautions before heading out on big-time hikes such as this one. Play it safe and register for a free Personal Locator Beacon before you go.
Many of NSW's best multi-day hikes lie hours inland. One such walk is the Green Gully Track in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, part of the state's Northern Tablelands. This track isn't for the faint of heart, as it has multiple steep ascents and descents, and sometimes on unstable ground.
What makes this undertaking a bit different from some of the other multi-day hikes in NSW is that it requires a booking of at least two hikers. While this might ruffle the feathers of free-spirited adventurers who like to live life day to day and hike to hike, it also ensures the park isn't overrun. And it means you don't have to worry about lugging too much gear with you. Leave the tents at home because you'll be staying in established huts that dot the trail. These refurbished heritage huts have beds, toilets, rainwater and cooking equipment.
Also, unlike some of the other great NSW multi-day hikes and walks, Green Gully Track is a loop. That means you'll have much less trouble getting back to your car, so driving is a great idea. You'll get directions on where to park and how to access the huts when you register.
In a nutshell: Take a trip down to the Sapphire Coast and enjoy empty beaches and wide open spaces.
Pulpit Rock at Beowa National Park, Green Cape, Sapphire Coast
Leave your troubles behind and set a course for the highly underrated Sapphire Coast and set your sights on the Light to Light Walk. Located in Beowa National Park, formerly Ben Boyd National Park, this route is a bit of a hidden gem. But it certainly holds plenty of treasures for those willing to make the trip – and you won’t have to share them with many others on the trail. That means fewer interruptions get in the way of the sights and sounds that come with this phenomenal coastline. From open-air cliff tops to brushy heath and woody forest, this path has a lot of the good stuff.
You'll kick things off at Boyds Tower, around 35km south of Eden, with the hike wrapping up at Green Cape Lighthouse. There are plenty of established campgrounds along the way, but do a bit of research and have a general idea of how far you want to get each day. Consider booking sites when the weather is nicer. You can park at either end of the walk and you can pay for professional transfers from one end to the other as required.
Did the Light to Light walk pique your interest, but seems a bit out of reach? Fear not, as there's a suitable alternative for those with easier access to the northern part of the state. A quick 20km drive up the coast from Coffs Harbour sits Coffs Coast Regional Park, and within it the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk.
This multi-day hike serves up bunches of NSW beachside beauty and features multiple points at which you can duck in and out if you want to cut the hike short. However, for all the completists out there, this journey will see you covering 60km over the course of three to four days depending on your fitness level and how many extracurricular activities you want to do. These extras include, but are not limited to: swims in the ocean, relaxation sessions on the sand and stops in the many lovely beachside towns you'll come across during your travels.
In addition to sandy fun, you'll explore rocky outcroppings and bushland for a well-rounded walk through a collection of Australia's fantastic natural features. The southern tip of the walk sits at Sawtell, while the northern end is in Red Rock. There is parking available at either end, though you might need to organise a shuttle service back to your vehicle if you're going to cover the full distance.
Stretching across the New England National Park, the New England Wilderness Walk is a great example of the ups and downs that can come with the best kind of multi-day hike. By the time you finish this epic trek, you'll have descended more than 1,000 metres from the edge of New England Tableland to the headwaters of Bellinger River.
The early part of the trip serves up tasty views from Snowy Ridge before you begin to drop. This section will likely take up most of your first day. The ensuing sections of this trail take you across creek beds (your time with the beautiful Sunday Creek is a figurative, but not literal, high point), which could expose you to rather wet conditions depending on recent rainfall. Extra socks and waterproof boots are a must for any multi-day expedition, but they are especially important to have on this trip. As with all Grade 5 tracks, much of this hike is rather rugged, giving you another reason to make sure your footwear game is on point.
There's no shortage of excellent, flat spots at which to set up camp along the way. Many of them will have abundant firewood around, so even if the temp starts to drop you should be able to stay warm. Things kick off at the trailhead located off Point Lookout Road at the Wrights Lookout parking area. Leave the car here and organise a shuttle service to bring you back when you're finished.
Please note: Due to works and weather conditions, tracks and sections of tracks may be closed for certain periods throughout the year. When planning your hike, always check the NPWS website for more information.
Think Before You TREK
Think Before You TREK
Going bushwalking? Stay safe by planning your trip for all conditions and telling someone about it. Think Before You TREK is a bush safety initiative between NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and NSW Police.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.