Travel & Touring | WA Things To Do

By: Tatum Stafford

If you’re a hiking enthusiast who’s up for a challenge, WA has some epic long-distance hikes where you’ll be travelling deep into some spectacular countryside for between two to seven days.

They range from flat, easy walks with comfortable camping areas to routes with rocky terrain and very limited supplies or facilities.

Please note that unless towns that have supplies or facilities are mentioned, you’ll need to bring food, drinking water, camping gear and other supplies with you.

Now all that’s left to do is pick a trail head and start walking.

1. Kep Track, Perth region

Start and end point

Mundaring Weir Hotel to Poole Street Bridge in Northam.

Distance and days 75km, three to four days.
Difficulty Grade 3.

The multi-use Kep Track follows an unused railway line that runs alongside the Golden Pipeline Drive Trail, a route forged by CY O’Connor as part of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme back in 1903. Known as ‘the Kep’, this track weaves through a number of small towns with facilities, so it’s a good trail for first-time overnight hikers as you don’t need to be completely self-sufficient to finish it.

For a 3-day journey, split the trail into three legs: Mundaring to Mount Helena, Mount Helena to Wundowie, and Wundowie to Northam. It’s advised you sort accommodation through local visitor centres before you depart.

Highlights along the way include Lake Leschenaultia, a great spot for a swim or a picnic with a view, the busy Bakers Hill Pie Shop, the Clackline Railway Bridge and the various murals in and around Northam (the PUBLIC Silo Trail artworks being the most well-known).

The trail is flat and easy to finish. Just be wary that you will likely be sharing it with mountain bikers and horse riders, so be prepared to keep left if they need to pass.

2. Sullivan Rock to Mt Cooke (Bibbulmun Track), South West region

Start and end point

Sullivan Rock (loop).

Distance and days 18.4km, two days.
Difficulty Grade 4.

The challenging summit to Mt Cooke is one of many shorter walks possible on the 1000km Bibbulmun Track. Though it can be completed in a day, there’s a camping area at the base of Mt Cooke for those wanting to spend more time in the picturesque Darling Range.

Spend day one reaching the campsite from Sullivan Rock. The track is relatively flat, and winds through banksia, sheoak and jarrah trees.

The Mt Cooke Campsite offers a sheltered sleeping area for 12-15 people, and a water tank. If you’re travelling with more than eight people, you’ll need to submit a ‘Notice of Intent’ with the Bibbulmun Track Foundation to stay here. If the campsite is full, head to the nearby group camping area which offers more space.

On day two, tackle the 2km ascent to the summit of Mt Cooke, the highest point in the Darling Range at 582m above sea level. The southern side of the summit offers the best views – head for the ‘split boulders’ (shown in the image below) for a unique photo opp.

Head back to the track to make your return journey, taking care when descending Mt Cooke as you may need to navigate around loose rocks or boulders safely.

3. Hakea Trail, Golden Outback region

Start and end point

Cave Point to Quoin Head. Both locations are within the Fitzgerald River National Park.

Distance and days 23km, two days.
Difficulty Grade 4.

Named after the royal hakea plant (which you’ll see plenty of along the trail), the rugged Hakea Trail hugs the eastern coastline of the Fitzgerald River National Park. Its close proximity to the water means you may have the chance to spot sea birds, whales and dolphins whilst on the trail.

Split your walk into two days: Cave Point to Whalebone Creek campground, and Whalebone Creek to Quoin Head. The first leg follows the rocky Cave Point beach towards a popular four-wheel driving area on Hamersley Beach.

On day two, the trail swings inland and offers sweeping views out to Mid Mount Barren and Red Islet off the coast. On a clear day, you can see as far as Doubtful Island near Bremer Bay.

Trail markers and directional signs guide the track, and there are a few rest areas at lookout points. There are no toilets along the trail.

There are a few beach sections along the trail that may be affected by high tide, so check the conditions before attempting these legs. Some surfaces may be unstable or slippery, so sturdy walking shoes are essential.

4. Mamang Trail, Golden Outback region

Start and end point

Point Ann within the Fitzgerald River National Park (loop).

Distance and days 31km, two days.
Difficulty Grade 4.

Winding towards the Fitzgerald River mouth, the Mamang Trail takes in dramatic coastal scenery, inland peaks and river valleys. ‘Mamang’ is an Aboriginal name for ‘whale’, and if you time your walk between July and October, you’re likely to spot southern right whales nursing their calves in shallow waters beside the trail.

The trail has historical significance as it follows the southern end of WA’s No. 2 Rabbit Proof Fence. In fact, parts of the trail follow the old poles and wire that once made up the fence.

From Point Ann, the trail is well signposted on to Lake Nameless Lookout, the Royal Hakea Lookout, the Fitzgerald River Valley Lookout and Point Charles.

After reaching Point Charles, the trail swings down to Fitzgerald Beach, where you’ll cross a sandbar to reach an old four-wheel drive track. Follow it for 1km to reach the Fitzgerald Inlet campsite, your resting place for the night. The campsite sits in a sheltered area surrounded by shady trees.

On day two, take the beach track back towards Point Ann. This section passes over dunes, and despite appearing longer, is much quicker and easier than the trail you’ll have completed the day before. Four-wheel drives are common here (as are high tides), so research tide conditions before choosing this route.

5. Timberline Loop, South West region

Start and end point

Nannup Foreshore Park (loop).

Distance and days 37km, two days.
Difficulty Grade 4 (note, this classification is due to the length of the trail rather than the difficulty).

Nannup’s Old Timberline and Sidings Rail Trails combine to form the 37km Timberline Loop, suitable for both mountain bikers and hikers. The loop was originally a road and rail line used to remove logs from the jarrah forest, but today, it’s a fantastic way to view the area’s lush forest up close.

The first section of the trail is a wide, smooth gravel path that follows the renowned Munda Biddi mountain biking track.

At the northern point of the loop, hikers take a left turn to head south onto the Timberline Trail. This part of the trail is a little steeper, but provides beautiful forest views along the banks of St Johns Brook.

Other highlights in this section include Barrabup Pool (pictured below), and Workmans Pool. There are toilets and picnic tables at both of these sites.

The Sleeper Hewers Campsite sits roughly halfway along the trail, and has a hut with bunk beds that sleeps up to eight people.

6. Collie Darkan Rail Trail, South West region

Start and end point

Buckingham to the Darkan Railway Station.

Distance and days 46.5km, two days.
Difficulty Grade 4 (note, this classification is due to the length of the trail rather than the difficulty).

The multi-use Collie Darkan Rail Trail once connected Narrogin and Collie, but today, it’s a pleasant two-day journey for bushwalkers, mountain bikers and horse riders. It weaves through picturesque farmland and is best completed in springtime when wildflowers are in full bloom.

As it’s an old railway line, this trail is relatively flat and easy to complete. It can be easily split into two legs: Buckingham to Bowelling (18km), and Bowelling to Darkan (28.5km). The old station at Bowelling can be used for the overnight stopover.

The only towns with supplies on the trail are Collie and Darkan.

7. Coastal Plain Walk Trail, Perth region

Start and end point

McNess House in Yanchep National Park to Neaves Road in the Melaleuca Conservation Park.

Distance and days 52km, four days.
Difficulty Grade 4.

Linking two national parks near Perth, the Coastal Plain Walk Trail is a sandy track with a number of comfortable campsites, making it a great option for first-time overnight hikers.

You’ll first need to complete the ‘Walk Safe’ register at the McNess House Visitor Centre, the starting point of the trail. Emu markers guide walkers along the entire trail, just be wary that there are sections that overlap with other Yanchep National Park trails. Knowledge of the emu marker is important to ensure you don’t end up elsewhere in the park.

Split your walk into four days: McNess House to Shapcott’s Campsite (6.1km), Shapcott’s Campsite to Ridges Campsite (15.6km), Ridges Campsite to Moitch Campsite (19.9km), and Moitch Campsite to Neaves Road (10.4km).

Each campsite has a sleeping shelter for up to 12 people, tent sites, picnic tables and bush toilets. The walk isn’t recommended in summer, as ticks are prevalent in the area. Instead complete it in springtime to view colourful wildflower displays.

RELATED: 10 hikes in national parks near Perth »

8. Collie to Balingup (Bibbulmun Track), South West region

Start and end point

Collie town centre to Balingup town centre.

Distance and days 86km, four days.
Difficulty Grade 4.

The track from Collie to Balingup is the third leg of the iconic Bibbulmun Track. This section is particularly beautiful as it sees Collie’s rolling farmlands fade into tall karri trees just south of Balingup.

The walk begins on the Bibbulmun Wellington Spur Trail, but connects to the main track near the Wellington Dam. The track continues past Glen Mervyn Dam and winds through the tiny town of Mumballup before revealing sweeping views over the Preston Valley.

It continues through jarrah forest before a steep descent to Balingup Brook with picturesque views of the town’s rolling green hills.

Walkers can make use of the Bibbulmun Track campsites along the way. They are free to those walking the track. For this section, the Yabberup, Noggerup and Grimwade shelters are the most convenient sleeping spots.

Each Bibbulmun Track campsite has a number of tent sites, a shelter, picnic tables and bush toilets. It’s important to note that no ‘free camping’ is permitted between official track campsites, so you’ll need to time your walk wisely to ensure you end up at a campsite before nightfall.

Parts of this track are susceptible to flooding, so make sure you have water-proof gear if you’re planning to complete it in winter. The best time to attempt it is in springtime, when orchids, hoveas and wattles bloom along the track.

9. Cape to Cape Track, South West region

Start and end point

Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse (13km from Dunsborough) to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta.

Distance and days Approx. 135km, five to seven days (depending on speed and fitness level).
Difficulty Grade 4.

The Cape to Cape Track is one of the Margaret River region’s most iconic walk trails. The track runs along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge and boasts incredible coastal and forest scenery amongst plenty of unique vegetation and wildflowers in springtime.

The track’s terrain is moderate. There aren’t a lot of hills, but it involves a lot of long soft sand sections. Experienced walkers will complete this track in approximately five days, but it’s easy to extend your visit to six or seven days by stopping at more towns along the way.

If completing the walk in five days, the first leg is from Cape Naturaliste to Injidup (23km), which passes Sugarloaf Rock, Smiths Beach, Canal Rocks and Wyadup Rocks. Day two’s route travels from Injidup to Gracetown (23.5km), where you’ll rise over limestone headlands, pass the Wilyabrup Cliffs, then head back down to the beach to reach Gracetown.

Day three takes you from Gracetown to Redgate (31.5km), over sand dunes, to pass Meekadarbee Falls, through the bay of Kilcarnup, and along the Prevelly coastline before reaching Redgate Beach. Day four, from Redgate to Hamelin Bay (29.5km), follows coastal cliffs before entering the Boranup Karri Forest for a shady section. It then winds onto Boranup Beach towards Hamelin Bay on a sand track. The final stretch is from Hamelin Bay to Cape Leeuwin (27km), which continues past many headlands and long sandy sections to reach the lighthouse.

For accommodation, take your pick between national park campgrounds (fees apply) and Cape to Cape Track campsites, which are free to use but can fill up quickly during peak trail times.

If you'd rather join a walking group, several tour operators offer fully guided tours along the track. This list of operators from the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track comes highly recommended by DPAW.

10. Coastal Trail, Golden Outback region

Start and end point

Rossiter Bay to Le Grand Beach, both located within the Cape Le Grand National Park.

Distance and days 20km, two days.
Difficulty Grade 5.

The challenging 20km Coastal Trail is renowned for its incredible ocean views and rewarding terrain for hiking. It provides direct access to some of Esperance’s most impressive beaches and bays that are perfect to cool off in after a long day of hiking.

On day one, from Rossiter Bay, the 6.6km section of trail heads up and over a ridge to reveal Lucky Bay beneath it. The Lucky Bay Campground is one of only two camping areas within the national park (the other sits at the end of this trail), so here’s where you’ll spend the night.

Day two starts with an easy 2.5km section from Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove, with spectacular views out as far as the Recherche Archipelago. The next section, to Hellfire Bay, is 4.7km long and becomes tricky as the trail is mostly granite.

Stop for a swim at Little Hellfire Bay before completing the hardest section yet; the 6.2km journey to Le Grand Beach. This is difficult as there are lots of hills at awkward angles, but you’ll be rewarded with one of Esperance’s trademark pristine beaches, Le Grand Beach, at the trail end.

The granite section at the end of the trail can be dangerous in winter, when rain makes the granite slippery. If completing the trail in wet weather, it’s advised to contact DPAW for current track conditions before setting off.

11. Picaninny Gorge Trek, North West region

Start and end point

Piccaninny Creek car park (loop). Located within the Purnululu National Park.

Distance and days 30km, two days.
Difficulty Grade 5.

Piccaninny Gorge is the largest of all gorges in Purnululu National Park – and in dry season, hikers can venture through the dry creek bed to view the famous Bungle Bungles up close.

The Grade 5 Piccaninny Gorge Trek is completely unmarked and has no clear endpoint, so hikers will need to rely on their own navigational skills to complete it.

The first section of the trek leads to the gorge entrance, which is nicknamed the ‘Elbow’. The track to the entrance is moderately easy, but becomes more difficult within the gorge, where hikers will need to negotiate fallen boulders, loose rocks and difficult passages along creek beds.

If you’re planning to complete this hike (and camp overnight), you’ll need to register at the visitor centre before setting off, and check back in upon your return.

Given the difficulty of the walk, the navigational skills required and the complete lack of facilities within the park and surrounds, this trek is only recommended for highly experienced hikers.

12. Murchison River Gorge Walk, Coral Coast region

Start and end point

Ross Graham Lookout to The Loop. Both points located within the Kalbarri National Park.

Distance and days 38km, three to four days.
Difficulty Grade 5.

Weaving through the dramatic landscapes of the Kalbarri National Park, the Murchison River Gorge Walk provides a closer look at the park’s gorges. Experienced hikers will enjoy this challenging walk with no marked trail, river crossings and physical challenges like rock-hopping and chimneying.

Given its level of difficulty, walkers usually complete 9km per day before retiring for the night. There are beautiful riverside campsites along the way; ‘Little Z’ being one of the most popular.

Extensive pre-planning and route-finding experience is essential, and due to the hazardous terrain, the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions specifies that you’ll need a group of five to embark on an overnight hike within the park. Permission for the hike must be provided from Kalbarri rangers, and all hikers must register at the ranger station before starting the trek.


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Last updated: August 2021