Across Western Australia you will find an abundance of beaches, tall timber forests, undulating hills, iconic wilderness landscapes as well as urban streetscapes – ideal for a walking adventure in WA. Here’s our W‘A’ list of WA’s best walk trails.
• Urban adventures. Perth city has an abundance of unique walking tours operated by passionate locals keen to share their city with visitors. Explore Perth’s vibrant street art scene, small bars, hidden laneways and heritage; take a decadent cheese tour; or learn about local and Aboriginal history. There’s also plenty of guided and self-guided nature based walking tours where you’ll see wildflowers, black swans, dolphins and an abundance of birdlife. In the eclectic port city of Fremantle – 30 minutes by car or ferry from Perth – discover fascinating architectural and cultural heritage, sample local food and drink, meet local artisans, and visit iconic attractions such as Fremantle Markets, the Cappuccino Strip, Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle Prison, and the WA Maritime Museum.
• Explore the aquatic playground of Rottnest Island. A short ferry ride from Fremantle or Perth – Rottnest Island is home to 63 beaches and 20 bays. While the usual mode of island transport is peddle power or bus, the Wadjemup Bidi Walk Trail offers a new way to experience the Island’s stunning inland lakes, coastal headlands, Aboriginal art sculptures, WWII tunnels and wildlife. Stop at one of the beautiful beaches on the trail for a swim and snorkel and watch out for the quokkas, the cute marsupials who were the inspiration for the island’s name.
• The Bibbulmun Track. One of the world’s greatest long distance walks, the trail spans 1,000 kilometres - from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany on the south coast - through some of Australia’s most stunning scenery, including magnificent karri and tingle forests, rivers, valleys and ancient bushland, and the dramatic southern coast’s cliffs. Meet wildlife in this biodiversity hotspot, including western brush wallabies, emus, kangaroos, and possums especially near the lush rock pools along the trail. Walkers can do the entire track, or shorter sections in a day or over a few days. Tour operators such as Walk into Luxury combine the best of the Track with gourmet food and wine, and luxury accommodation.
• The Cape to Cape Track. Showcasing the south west’s pristine coastline and magnificent woodlands and forests, it runs for 135 kilometres through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. Mostly following the coast, the track alternates between spectacular sweeping cliff-top views with stretches of pristine beach and majestic karri forest. Allow five to seven days to tackle the whole walk, however, there are sections that make ideal day and halfday walks, and several tour operators that offer fully-guided Cape to Cape walks. Located within the picturesque Margaret River region – there’s also plenty of spots to indulge in the region’s world-class food and wine offering after your walk.
• Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. This spectacular lightweight bridge through a forest canopy of gigantic tingle trees is the first walk trail of its kind in the world. Located between Walpole and Denmark in WA’s south west - about a 4.5 hour drive south of Perth - the 600 metre Treetop Walk gently ascends into the tree canopy 40 metres above the forest floor. It’s a peaceful experience, with quiet spots to sit and reflect on the awesome size of the veteran tingle trees – with some over 400 years old and the largest trees in the world.
• Castle Rock and the Granite Skywalk. Discover the spectacular scenery of the Porongurups on this 4.2 kilometre walk trail located in the heart of the massive ancient granite domes of the Porongurup National Park - just 45 minutes’ drive north from Albany. A relatively steep two-hour return walk takes you past the famous Balancing Rock before reaching the summit of Castle Rock. The Granite Skywalk is not for the faint-hearted, requiring scrambling over and under granite rocks before climbing an enclosed ladder to the summit. The spectacular views of the park and undulating farmland to Albany’s coast, are well worth the effort. If you’re up for a challenge, try the popular but challenging six kilometre (three to four hours) return hike of nearby peak Bluff Knoll, in the Stirling Range.
• World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, in WA’s Kimberley region, is home to the awe-inspiring Bungle Bungle Range. 350 million years in the making, its ochre and black striped domes make it one of the most unique and captivating ranges on Earth. The area’s best day hikes include Cathedral Gorge and Echidna Chasm, while the five day Piccaninny Gorge Walk offers spectacular and secluded scenery.
• Emma Gorge - nestled in the shadow of the fiery red cliffs of the Cockburn Range sits El Questro’s most famous gorge. The 1.6 kilometre scenic hiking trail takes you along dramatically changing vegetation, from Savannah woodland to Kimberley rainforest. The gorge is characterised by massive cliff face escarpments that reach 120 metres on either side. A cool reward awaits you at the end of the walk where you can swim at Emma Gorge pool and waterfalls. Some of the breathtaking natural attractions along the walk include the ‘ripple rocks,’ Flagstaff Falls lookout point and Turquoise Pool.
• Cape Range National Park - near Exmouth on WA’s mid north coast - boasts several fantastic walk trails with spectacular views over the range, canyons, Ningaloo Reef and Exmouth Gulf. The Yardie Creek walk trail (two kilometres) and the Mandu Mandu walk trail (three kilometre loop) offer stunning panoramic views of the park’s gorges and Ningaloo Reef. Go early in the day when it’s cooler and you’ll have a good chance of spotting some rare rock wallabies.
• The stunning Cape le Grand National Park - near Esperance - is home to Australia’s whitest beach, Lucky Bay and stunning coastal trails. Explore the park’s wild reaches on the Le Grand Coastal Trail, which links many of the park’s most spectacular coastal sections between Cape Le Grand Beach and Rossiter Bay. If you still have energy to burn, then a hike up Frenchman Peak (262 metres) will be rewarded with panoramic views of the park and islands in the Recherche Archipelago.