The Virtues of Walking Holidays in the Winter (NSW)
Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins (NSW)
While many Aussie travelers choose to chase the European sun during the Southern Hemisphere's Winter months, I've always chosen to stay put in my own home state of NSW.
Lazy? Never. Pedestrian? Hardly.
NSW happens to be home to some of Australia’s most spectacular and popular walking trails. Whether you're after short treks, long day hikes or more challenging multi-day hikes, there are a plethora of hidden gems along stunning coastal and inland trails.
Case in point, our 3 night break in Mudgee, where we explored the natural splendour of The Drip , hiking amidst a charming ferny glade and gazing up at huge honeycomb cliffs that lined the gorge’s wall, and Ferntree Gully , were we descended into an enormous rainforest gully and walked alongside lyrebirds, feeling like fairies traipsing through the Garden of Eden like it was our first day on Earth....
Incidentally, I'm not letting you in on anything new. More than 4.3 million domestic and international overnight visitors last year choose to hike in NSW as part of a holiday experience, up 5.2 per cent on the previous year.
Here are some of NSW’s great walks, as well as some hidden gems just waiting to be explored:
The Seven Peaks Walk is one of the newest walks to join the list of Great Walks of Australia . This challenging hike on Lord Howe Island is for experienced hikers, with a few sections of the walk off-track and requiring a steady head for heights.
For a coastal trek, try the three-day Light to Light walk which hugs the coastline between Boyds Tower and Green Cape Lightstation in Ben Boyd National Park on the Sapphire Coast. If hiking in luxury is more your style, Light to Light Camps can carry your gear, set up camp each night and cook your dinner, all while you enjoy the walk at your leisure.
Seven Peaks Walk (NSW)
Secluded and unspoilt:
Explore the secluded beaches and spectacular cliffs while hiking the rugged coastline of the Kangarutha Walking Track in Bournda National Park near Tathra on the South Coast. Suitable for most ages, this moderately challenging hike is 9km each way.
Ngaran Ngaran Cultural Awareness runs a two-day tour that includes climbing Mount Gulaga, an extinct volcano rising 797 metres above sea level near Narooma on the South Coast. Mount Gulaga is culturally significant to the local Yuin people, particularly women.
Tri State Safaris offers guided tours of Mutawintji National Park and through the Mutawintji Historic Site . Boasting one of the best collections of Aboriginal art in NSW, a challenging two to four hour guided walk through rocky terrain visits Aboriginal rock engravings and ochre stencils, as well as the remains of fireplaces, stone flakes and grinding stones.
Close to Sydney, but feels like a million miles away
Pack your bags for a challenging two-day hike in the Hawkesbury, along the Colo River . The Mountain Lagoon Loop via Colo Meroo and Tootie Creek is a challenging river walk along the lower reaches of the Colo River. The Hawkesbury hiking guide has details of 12 bushwalks in the area.
Stretching 426kms, The Hume and Hovell Track is an epic trail in the south east of NSW that traverses rugged and beautiful countryside following a mix of public roads, fire trails, purpose built single tracks and over 100 footbridges. For trip planning, check out the interactive map and photos showing 360 degree views of the campsites along the way on the Hume and Hovell Track website .
Snow shoe Australia’s highest peak with K7 Adventures on the Mount Kosciuszko Majestic Tour . Kosciuszko National Park is as compelling in the winter months as it is during the summer wildflower season and although the weather can be challenging, the experience is truly remarkable.