Travel & Touring | WA Things To Do

By: Kirsty Petrides

There’s nothing more rewarding than a spectacular view at the end of a tough hike.

But if you think you have to go overseas for a really challenging climb, think again. Sure, WA is relatively flat and un-mountainous by international standards, but we still have epic hikes that will have you working up a sweat while enjoying a breathtaking view.

So if you’re planning on visiting one of these regions any time soon, make sure you add a trail day to your itinerary, and enjoy one of these challenging day hikes that are definitely worth the climb.

RELATED: 12 epic long-distance hikes in WA »

1. Bald Head Walk Trail, Torndirrup National Park

Location

South West, closest towns are Mount Barker and Albany

Time and distance 6 - 8 hours, 12.5 kilometres
Difficulty Grade 4 - hiking experience is recommended, as tracks can be long, rough and very steep, and directional signage can be limited.             
Best time to do it All-year round
Access to trail Road, two-wheel drive accessible
Facilities Carpark at trail head

This challenging trail climbs and descends through Torndirrup National Park, along the narrow ridge line of the Flinders Peninsula - a granite formation that juts out from the land into the ocean – and ultimately ends at Bald Head, a round headland of domed granite sloping down into the ocean and can be seen from many places along the Torndirrup Coast.

Though it can be steep and difficult in parts, you’ll be more than rewarded with spectacular views of the granite cliffs, the views back to Albany and King George Sound, and of course the breathtaking sight of the Great Southern Ocean from the top.

2. Mount Bruce, Karijini National Park

Location

North West, closest towns are Tom Price and Newman

Time and distance 6 - 7 hours, 10 kilometres (return)
Difficulty Grade 5 - experienced hikers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked.
Best time to do it April to September
Access to trail Road, two-wheel drive accessible
Facilities Carpark, water stations and public toilets at trail head

This hike up WA’s second highest peak in Karijini is not for the fainthearted. The climb starts relatively easy, but becomes difficult once you pass the Marandoo Mine site, gaining a total elevation of 450 metres. The terrain is rocky and a decent level of fitness and hiking experience is definitely required – but that’s what you get for one of the most rewarding experiences in WA.

Once you get to the top, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the region and its incredible landscape. Plus, the long crescent-shaped summit means you have plenty of vantage points to take in the surrounds, take some photos and stretch those weary legs.

3. Summit Trail, Mount Augustus

Location

Golden Outback, closest town is Carnarvon

Time and distance 6 - 7 hours, 12 kilometres (return)
Difficulty Grade 4 - hiking experience is recommended, tracks can be long, rough and very steep, and directional signage can be limited.
Best time to do it April to October
Access to trail Mainly unsealed roads, some of which can be closed at times of heavy rain. Check conditions before travelling
Facilities Picnic tables and public toilets at trail head

The Summit Trail takes walkers up to the top of Mount Augustus or Burringurrah as it is known by the local Wadjari Aboriginal people. While it often referred to as the biggest ‘rock’ in the world, its technically not, as Augustus is made up of multiple rocks, not just one. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a big climb – Augustus is 717 metres high, twice as tall as Uluru.

But you’ll be rewarded at the top with extensive views over the surrounding plains and distant ranges. During dawn and dusk, the colour of the area changes almost minute by minute from deep indigo to bright pink, orange or red and occasionally green, making for an unforgettable experience.

4. Bluff Knoll, Stirling Range National Park

Location

South West, closest town is Albany

Time and distance 3 - 4 hours, 6.8 kilometres
Difficulty Grade 4 - hiking experience is recommended, tracks can be long, rough and very steep, and directional signage can be limited.
Best time to do it August to November
Access to trail Road, two-wheel drive accessible
Facilities Carpark, picnic tables, public toilets and water access point at trail head

WA’s third highest peak is one of the most picturesque hikes you’ll find. Not only do you get sprawling views over the Stirling Ranges from the top, if you hike in springtime you’ll also get to see the abundance of native wildflowers carpeting the ground beneath you. Don’t be fooled however by Bluff Knoll’s modest 6-kilometre length – most of it is straight uphill, climbing to around 1000 metres above sea level, so a decent level of fitness is required.

Two people sitting on top of a mountain

5. Nancy Peak, Porongurup National Park

Location

South West, closest village is Porongurup

Time and distance 3 - 4 hours, 5.5-kilometre loop
Difficulty Grade 4 - hiking experience is recommended, tracks can be long, rough and very steep, and directional signage can be limited.
Best time to do it All-year round
Access to trail Road, two-wheel drive accessible
Facilities Barbeque facilities, picnic area at trail head

A great circuit walk, Nancy Peak traverses the main peak of the Porongurup Ranges. Along the trail you’ll pass the ‘tree in the rock’ – a karri tree clinging to a granite boulder – and then continue through lush karri forests and glades of mosses, before emerging from the forest where you’ll be rewarded with views over the Stirling Ranges and the Southern Ocean.

6. Bigurda Trail, Kalbarri National Park

Location

Coral Coast, closest town is Kalbarri

Time and distance 3 - 5 hours, 8 kilometres (one way)
Difficulty Grade 3 - suitable for most ages and fitness levels, some hiking or bushwalking experience is recommended, tracks may have short steep hill sections.
Best time to do it All-year round however avoid very hot days. August to November is good for wildflowers.
Access to trail Road, two-wheel drive accessible
Facilities Carpark, picnic tables, public toilets at trail head

The views of the Bigurda Trail need to be seen to be believed. Hugging the Coral Coast, this trail takes you past some truly breath-taking scenery like bizarre rock formations, multi-coloured sandstone cliffs and of course uninterrupted views of the ocean.

Plus, if you’re visiting in spring, it’s likely you might even catch a glimpse of some whales, too. The Bigurda Trail is one way so if you can, arrange to be picked up where the trail ends at Natural Bridge. Alternatively, you can choose to brave the wind and retrace your steps.

RELATED: 10 of WA's best whale-watching spots »

7. Piccaninny Gorge Entrance, Bungle Bungles

Location

North West, closest town is Halls Creek

Time and distance 6 - 7 hours, 7 kilometres (return)
Difficulty Grade 3 - suitable for most ages and fitness levels, some hiking or bushwalking experience is recommended, tracks may have short steep hill sections.
Best time to do it May to October
Access to trail Four-wheel drive into national park
Facilities Carpark and picnic tables at trail head

Piccanninny Gorge has a few hiking options available, including one big multi-day hike for those who really want to explore the gorge. But if you’re short on time, this trail to the gorge entrance itself is certainly impressive enough. This sparse, arid area is recognisable for its rugged ranges, dramatic gorges and vast savannah, giving you loads of great scenery during your hike.

8. Eagle View Trail, John Forrest National Park

Location

Perth and surrounds, closest town is Kalamunda

Time and distance 5 - 6 hours, 15 kilometres (return)
Difficulty Grade 3 - suitable for most ages and fitness levels, some hiking or bushwalking experience is recommended, tracks may have short steep hill sections.
Best time to do it September to November
Access to trail Road, two-wheel drive accessible
Facilities Carpark, picnic tables, public toilets, barbeque facilities and kiosk at trail head

The Eagle View Trail winds through the valleys and beautiful jarrah and wandoo woodlands of John Forrest National Park. Along the way you’ll pass pretty waterfalls, be afforded sweeping views across the Swan Coastal Plain to Perth CBD and the ocean in the distance. This trail also boasts spectacular wildflowers displays for those hiking in spring.

RELATED: Hiking trails in national parks near Perth »

9. Frenchman Peak Trail, Cape Le Grand National Park

Location

Golden Outback, closest town is Esperance

Time and distance 1 - 3 hours, 3 kilometres (return)
Difficulty Grade 5 - experienced hikers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked.
Best time to do it All-year round, except in wet or windy conditions
Access to trail Road, two-wheel drive accessible
Facilities Carpark and barbeque facilities at trail head

Don’t be fooled by the 3-kilometre distance – this is one tough hike, but it’s worth it. Once you walk up to the summit on the eastern slope of Frenchman Peak, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views over the coast and of Cape Le Grand, including its rugged granite peaks, sweeping heathlands and iconic bays of white sandy beaches.

It’s important to follow the path from the carpark and do not attempt to shortcut, as the rock is deceptively steep, especially on descent. Due to the steep inclines and smooth granite, this walk is not recommended in wet or windy weather.

RELATED: 10 of the best things to do in Esperance »

Couple standing atop a peak

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Last updated: May 2021