Queensland is an Australian state famous for warm weather, beaches and white sand. Most people don’t typically think that it is also home to some fantastic backpacking trails. With a variety of different landscapes, there is a trail option for everyone. Year-round hiking is an option here; however, winter is the optimal season due to it not being too hot but still reaching comfortable temps.
Queensland is home to many Great Walks, these trails feature different degrees of challenge and diversity but are well worth it as they are protected by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Here is my list of the top trails to take in Queensland Australia.
Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island National Park
Days: 2 – 4 days
Distance: 19.8 miles / 32 km
Have you ever wanted to spend time on a remote tropical island? If you answered yes then this trail is for you. This rugged island is located off the coast of Townsville and is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. It features lush rainforest, eucalypt forest and a beautiful coastline. There are many opportunities to swim in rock pools and
why not relax in nature’s infinity pool at Zoe Falls. Nina’s Peak is also a trail highlight.
To minimize impact and maintain the wilderness experience only 40 people are permitted to hike the trail at one time. The best time to hike this iconic trail is between April and September. The trail navigates the east coast of the island and is rough and difficult to traverse in some places. Crocodiles can be a concern at water crossings so it is recommended to understand the tide times and cross bodies of water at low tide. This trail is often booked out months in advance so make sure to get your permit in advance to avoid disappointment.
K’Gari (Fraser Island) Great Walk
Days: 6 – 8 days
Distance: 56 miles / 90 km
K’Gari is the largest sand island in the world and is located just off the coast of Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay. This trail traverses the eastern coast of the island and you will pass through the picturesque white sand beaches and the sparkling freshwater of Lake McKenzie. As this is a one-way trip, you can either start or finish at Dili Village or start and finish at Happy Valley.
Experience the rainforest of the Valley of the Giants and keep an eye out for dingoes on your travels. There are a few safety tips that you need to be aware of before you travel in dingo territory however hiker campgrounds are protected with a dingo proof fence.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk
Days: 3 – 4 days
Distance: 36.6 miles / 59 km
This trail takes you through the tropical rainforest of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and passes through three national parks along the way – Kondalilla, Mapleton and Mapleton Falls. There are plenty of waterfalls and rock pools that you can swim in along the way. There are three campgrounds that you can choose from with the most scenic being the Thilba Thalba campground.
If you don’t have the full time available to complete it in one go, you can easily split it up into day or one-night hikes.
Cooloola Great Walk, Great Sandy National Park
Days: 5 days
Distance: 63.3 miles / 102 km
If you are craving the ocean and beach then why not tackle the Cooloola Great Walk. It connects the Noosa North Shore and Rainbow Beach. You can travel either way on this end-to-end trail however most people hike south on their adventure. You will see colorful wildflowers in the spring, climb massive sand dunes and see incredible views. There are lakes that you can swim in on the way and there are four hiker-only campgrounds for you to stay in.
Traversing the Great Sandy National Park means that yes you will be experiencing lots of sand on your journey. Hiking on sand will be sure to give your legs a serious workout. Whale migration season runs from June to October every year so watch out for whales frolicking in the ocean as you hike.
Rum Jungle Camp, Mount Barney National Park
Days: 2 days
Distance: 8.6 miles / 14 km
Mount Barney is located in southeast Queensland in the Scenic Rim region. This out-and-back trail is not for the faint-hearted. Climbing Mount Barney is only recommended for experienced hikers and scramblers. Tackling this peak with your overnight backpack can be challenging. However, if you want to watch the sunrise from the summit of Mount Barney and not have to get up in the middle of the night then this is a great option for you.
There are many different routes up Mount Barney and you will take Peasants Ridge to reach the Rum Jungle Campground. The trail gains over 1000 m’s of elevation in only 7 km’s. There are no water sources up at the campsite so remember to pack everything that you need. There is also a river crossing at the start of the trail so come prepared.
Lower Portals, Mount Barney National Park
Days: 2 days
Distance: 4.5 miles / 7.4 km
This is a family-friendly overnight backpacking hike in Mount Barney National Park. This scenic swimming hole is a favorite location for day hikers. Why not experience the waterhole for yourself by camping there overnight. This is a great backpacking trip for first-timers, children or anyone who wants a quick trip into the bush.
The trail is a moderate grade and features consistent ups and downs before reaching the Lower Portals stream. Cross the stream and then you can head either right to the campground or left to the swimming hole.
Carnarvon Gorge Great Walk
Days: 6 – 7 days
Distance: 54 miles / 87 km
This circuit travels through the peaks and valleys of central Queensland. Experience a different side of Queensland while you are surrounded by some of Australia’s finest
Aboriginal rock art in the Cathedral Cave. It is important to respect and protect the rich culture that is represented here.
This is Queensland’s own Grand Canyon (but a bit greener). This trail is closed from November to February due to the heat so it is recommended to tackle this Great Walk in the winter months. It is located roughly 600km northwest of Brisbane inland from the Capricorn Coast in the outback.
No matter what style of backpacking trip you are looking for, Queensland has something to suit your needs. Get your gear together and head off on an adventure that you will remember forever. Don’t forget to pack the suncream it sure is hot out there!