Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Our Top 10 Day Walks in Western Australia (Second Edition)


With The Long Way's Better celebrating its Third Anniversary on March 10th, I thought it would be fitting to create an updated list of our Top 10 Day Walks in Western Australia!


As with the First Edition of the list, the criteria was simple - it had to be a dedicated day walk (so no sections of the Bibbulmun Track, Cape to Cape or the Fitzgerald River NP overnight hikes, as worthy as some of those places are) and it had to above all have the 'wow' factor to reward walkers for their efforts. I make no apologies for the fact many these walks are quite challenging; they were selected because I truly believe the scenery along these trails represent some of the best that Western Australia has to offer, and are outstanding walking experiences from start to finish.

The First Edition of this list focused strongly on Perth, Australia's South West and the northern extreme of the South West Land Division in Kalbarri. With further exploration of Australia's North West, we were able to consider more walks north of Perth from the Pilbara, Mid-West and Coral Coast regions. We hope to include walks from the Kimberley in a future edition of the list for a truly comprehensive coverage of the state from top to bottom.

A big change from the previous list is the inclusion of a number of off-track walks along recognised routes. These off-track walks should only be attempted by experience hikers only, however are walks that will reward those with the pre-requisite skills. 


For more detailed information, click on the title or in-text links for an in depth review of each walk. Happy hiking!

10. Bigurda Trail (Kalbarri National Park)


Kalbarri National Park is almost two parks in one. Beyond the rugged beauty of the Murchison River Gorge, the equally rugged and spectacular coastal cliffs provide some of the best coastal walking in the state. The Bigurda Trail is the best coastal trail of the lot, covering 8 kilometres along the red Tumblagooda Sandstone cliffs as it links major features like Eagle Gorge and the massive Grandstand to Island Rock and Natural Bridge. It requires a  car/bike shuffle (or a longer 16 kilometre return walk), however the  unique views of the wild Indian Ocean makes the Bigurda Trail worth the effort. Read More


9. Numbat Track (Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary)


Although there are sections of the Bibbulmun Track that are worthy contenders for the best bushwalking in the Perth area, the Numbat Track in Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary is the city's best dedicated day walk. No day walk in Perth has better and more detailed trail construction, with lookouts, bridges and even picnic tables at regular intervals. Beyond the infrastructure, the scenery itself is magic - the Wandoo woodlands, mist-filled valleys, flowing gullies and the spectacular Paruna Gorge represent the best of what the Perth Outdoors have to offer. Walkers need to book ahead and pay a small fee to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, but its entirely worth it. Read More

8. William Bay Circuit (William Bay National Park)


With the Bibbulmun Track passing through the park, it has always seemed odd that there hasn't been a satisfying day walk in William Bay National Park. Enter the first Long Way's Better Original - the William Bay Circuit. Utilising sections of the Bibbulmun Track, Munda Biddi and walking along the beautiful beaches and granite headlands, this excellent circuit serves as a grand tour of one of Western Australia's best and most beloved coastal national parks. Walkers should note however that while mostly on track, this is a route rather than a fully marked trail, and the coastal section along the granite headlands should not be attempted in rough swells due to the risk of king waves. Read More


7. Boyagin Rock Walk GPS Route (Boyagin Nature Reserve)


It may require a subscription to Walk GPS, a GPS or mobile app and good navigation skills, but the Boyagin Rock Walk GPS Route features some of the most outstanding granite-dominated walking in the Wheatbelt and within a short drive from Perth. While most trails near Perth tend to stick to the Jarrah forest, Boyagin Rock features plenty of engaging walking through Wandoo and Powderbark woodlands and massive granite formations that would rank amongst some of the most impressive in the state. At 17 kilometres, this is a truly satisfying all-day walk, with its off-track nature and slightly further distance from Perth being its only drawbacks. Read More

6. Nancy Peak Circuit (Porongurup National Park)


It may be overshadowed by the Castle Rock lookout on the nearby Granite Skywalk, however the Nancy Peak Circuit is arguably the best and most satisfying trail in the Porongurups - and the finest of the Granite peak day walks in the South West. Where the Granite Skywalk spends most of its time ascending deep in Karri forests before emerging above the trees just before the summit, the Nancy Peak Circuit breaks through the Karris early on, with more time spent traversing spectacular granite domes and formations as it leads towards Nancy Peak. A truly terrific walk, the short 5.3 kilometre loop can be extended with a side trip to the Devil's Slide and Marmabup Rock. Read More


5. Toolbrunup Peak (Stirling Range National Park)


The second tallest mountain in the Stirling Range, Toolbrunup Peak lives in the shadow of the more famous Bluff Knoll. Which is a shame - while it is considerably harder to conquer than Bluff Knoll, it is arguably the most fun and exhilarating mountain day walk in the South West. Where Bluff Knoll is almost a continuous series of steps, the journey to Toolbrunup's summit is a much wilder adventure, requiring walkers to clamber up boulder fields and scramble up the steep route to the summit. With its classic mountain peak shape, sweeping 360° views and more intrepid feel, Toolbrunup Peak is an underrated gem. Read More


4. Mt Bruce Summit Trail (Karijini National Park)


While the gorges of Karijini get most of the attention, it should not be forgotten that the Hamersley Range is home to the tallest peaks in Western Australia (contrary to popular belief, Bluff Knoll isn't even top 10). The second tallest mountain in the state, the trail to the summit of Mount Bruce is an outstanding Outback mountain walk that slowly makes its way up a long and adventurous trail, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the spectacular Pilbara landscape. The effort of holding onto chains at narrow ledges and scrambling up a rock chute is amply rewarded by grandstand views from the impressively cairned summit. A definite must do for visitors to Karijini. Read More

3. Bald Head Walk Trail (Torndirrup National Park)


The Bald Head Walk Trail is amazingly even more underrated than Toolbrunup, and yet it would certainly have to be a contender for one of the best coastal day walks in the entire country. Traversing the hilly Flinders Peninsula near Albany, the trail follows a high, rocky ridge of limestone and granite as it leads to the peninsula's easternmost point at Bald Head. The dichotomy of the wild Southern Ocean and the tranquil waters of King George Sound makes this a riveting walk from start to finish, and there is a high chance of seeing whales off the coast if you walk the trail in winter-early spring. While its isolation and wildness means it should not be walked during stormy weather - and casual tourists with little walking experience should stay well away - the Bald Head Walk Trail will be an absolute treat for those prepared for its challenges and rewards. Read More

2. Four Ways to Z Bend Loop (Kalbarri National Park)


While The Loop Walk at Nature's Window is officially Trails WA's Top Trail for Kalbarri National Park, an even better loop is possible within Kalbarri Gorge. Linking up the Four Ways and Z Bend Trails by travelling through the gorge on a section of the unmarked River Gorge Hike, the Four Ways to Z Bend Loop is a wild adventure of route finding and rock scrambling through the best part of the park. While mostly following an obvious ledge along the southern bank, there are sections requiring swimming or lilos through impassable pools, and conditions can change dramatically based on water levels. Arguably the hardest and most potentially dangerous walk on this list, the trail rewards with a great sense of wilderness and the most easily accessible Outback-style gorge terrain within a reasonable drive from Perth. For experienced hikers only, and don't even think of attempting this is the warmer months. Read More

1. Weano & Hancock Gorges (Karijini National Park)


At 3.4 kilometres in length, the combination of Weano and Hancock Gorges is the shortest walk on this list, but it is arguably the list's most perfect and outstandingly beautiful walk. This walk is a continual stream of 'wow' moments - gentle waterfalls, pools to wade and/or swim through, narrow slots, ledges to scramble along and lookouts deep into the deepest part of the gorge network - and all the while passing through banded iron formations that are amongst the oldest rock in the world. There are few places as rare, unique and filled with spiritual energy as Karijini, and if you've only got time for one walk in the park, make it this one. Read More

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