With over 1.5m square miles (2.5m sq km) of huge trees and forests, ancient rocky landscapes, gorges, waterfalls, mountain ranges, and secluded beaches to explore, Western Australia is truly a hiker’s paradise.
While some of these trails are a pretty epic undertaking, like the 620mi (1,000km) Bibbulmun Track or the Cape to Cape – known as much for their beauty as their test of endurance and stamina – others showcase some of the greatest places in WA that are only accessible by foot, where you can explore two-billion-year-old landscapes, swim in refreshing waterfalls, climb up and over mountains, and enjoy some of the best views in the entire state.
The best-known hiking trail in Western Australia – and one of the greatest in the world – the Bibbulmun Track traverses 620mi (1,000km) through Australia’s beautiful southwest, from the Perth Hills to Albany. Hiking the entire trail usually takes around two months, but you can break it into smaller sections or day trips. Whichever way you decide to tackle it, the stunning scenery is unrivalled, from jarrah and tingle forests to secluded waterfalls, lush river valleys, rolling hills, rocky outcrops, tiny towns, and wild, rugged coastline.
Whilst Margaret River might be best known for its wines, its scenic location is a close second, with amazing beaches, rocky cliffs, forests, and limestone caverns. Stretching 78mi (125km) along the iconic southwestern coastline between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin – the most south-westerly point of mainland Australia – the trail usually takes around a week, but you can tackle it in smaller sections too.
The highest peak in the southwest of Australia, Bluff Knoll is a relatively challenging 4mi (6.3km) hike to the top and back, and is famous for its occasional snowfall and spectacular views over the Stirling Ranges. On a clear day, you can even see down to the coast. The hike usually takes 2-5 hours, and is particularly magical in spring, when the areas many wildflowers are in bloom. However, the Stirling Ranges was pretty badly affected by the 2019-20 fires, and whilst Bluff Knoll is still worth visiting, it will take a little time for nature to restore it to its former glory.
The longest gorge hike in Karijini National Park, Dales Gorge is a 3.5mi (5.5km) loop through deep red gorges, dusty rock, and lush green oases. Taking around 2-4 hours, the Dales Gorge walk encompasses Fortescue Falls, Fern Pool, Circular Pool, and the Gorge Rim. Other highly recommended hikes in Karijini include Hancock Gorge and Mt Bruce: the challenging 6mi (10km) trail to the top and back of WA’s second-highest peak has amazing views over the park and the Pilbara region, and the trail through Hancock Gorge to Kermits Pool is magical, especially as the sun is setting.
Close to Albany, Torndirrup National Park is best known for its amazing coastal rock formations such as The Gap and the Natural Bridge, but those who brave the 8mi (12.5km) Bald Head hike will experience a different side of this rugged and windswept landscape. A tough 5-7 hour hike following the rocky ridges of the Flinders Peninsula, the incredible vistas and sense of achievement when you finally reach the big bald rock jutting out over the ocean more than makes up for the aching legs.
Up in the tropical savannahs of the remote Mitchell River National Park in Australia’s northern Kimberley region, the four-tiered Mitchell Falls – also known as Punamii-unpuu – is one of the most impressive and iconic waterfalls in WA. Only accessible by helicopter, or four-wheel drive vehicle from the Gibb River Road, the return hike to the falls takes around 4-6 hours, including stops to marvel at the ever-changing landscape, Little Merten Falls, Mertens Gorge, and nearby Aboriginal rock art.