From the untouched sub-tropical rainforests of Queensland, to the far stretches of Mongolia, these walks offer some of the world's most dramatic scenery. Get your boots on, immerse yourself in nature, and see what the planet has to offer. In no particular order:
- Tasmania:Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach
4 - 5 hours return (11km circuit) / Steep uphill climb and a rough path descent.
On the east coast of Tasmania, Freycinet National Park is home to dramatic pink granite peaks, secluded bays, white sandy isolated beaches and abundant birdlife - anywhere else in the world would be full of tourists, but here there is still a sense of space and solitude. The walk from Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach is perhaps the best day walk on offer in Freycinet and incorporates spectacular beaches, amazing views and lovely coastal vegetation. From the carpark you descend a natural staircase to the spectacular Wineglass Bay beach and take the flat trail across the Isthmus crossing a boardwalk over the lagoon. A short clamber over a dune brings you to the beautiful Hazards Beach, which is safe for swimming. Walk along the sandy beach to pick up the trail which then follows the peninsula affording stunning views across of Coles Bay and beyond. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/australia/tasmania/eastern-tasmania-capes-to-coves-2019
- Bavarian Alps (Germany):Fuessen / castles walk
15km / 6.5hr moderate walk on well graded tracks with some steep & rocky sections.
Not far from Munich in Southern Germany, the Bavarian Alps form a beautiful natural divide along the Austrian border. Fuessen offers spectacular cultural walks with numerous breathtaking castles en-route. Beginning with a walk via the backstreets of Fuessen, cross the Lech River and climb slowly through local forests on the lovely Alpen Rosen Weg. Arrive via this trail to King Ludwig’s childhood home of Hohenschwangau castle and join the bustling crowds for a short guided tour. Return to Fuessen via the lake of Schwansee and the viewpoint Kalvarienberg. Whilst in Fuessen you may want to visit the heritage museum in St Mang Monastery or the High Palace, former residence of the Augsburg prince bishops. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/europe/southern-germany-bavarian-alps-2019
- Italy: Sesto Dolomites / Tre Cime di Lavaredo walk
10-16km / 6-8hr, moderate 200m ascent / 1000m descent.
Head to South Tyrol - a province in northeast Italy which includes part of the Dolomites range with its limestone summits. This area showcases the best of Tre Cime / Drei Zinnen Nature Reserve. Traversing through a surreal landscape of eroded spires and mountain lakes in the main Sesto massif, an uphill climb takes you to the remote Auronzo hut. The walk continues along an easy track beneath the pale cliff faces of Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen) peak to a small pass. From here options are available for a shorter descent following one of the upper valleys or a longer route through the mountain, past observation posts from the First World War. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/europe/dolomites-to-the-oberland-2019
- Mongolia:Khustain (Hustai) National Park
14km / easy with some ascent / descent tracking wildlife.
Spanning over 506 sq km, this national park was established in 1993 to protect Mongolia’s wild horse, the takhi, as well as the reserve’s steppe environment. Exploration in this National Park includes scenic ridge walks and a visit to the famous Neolithic grave site built by the ‘Ongot’. These ancient Turkic state people carved a monument ensemble consisting of manlike stones, stone lions and numerous tombs. From the 6-8th centuries AD, this is considered the biggest collection of its kind in Central Asia. During the day keep an eagle eye out for the impressive variety of birdlife including Mongolian lark, Demoiselle cranes and Black vultures. Throughout the countryside we will no doubt pass many more ‘oovoo’. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/asia-pacific/mongolia-steppe-wilderness-and-the-gobi-desert-2019
- Ireland:North Mayo Coastal walk / Ceide Fields
10km / 4 hrs. Highest point: 270m. Paved roads, sandy and gravel tracks with rocky and uneven sections, can be wet / boggy underfoot.
Hit the trails and dramatic coastlines of North Mayo on the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland. A half day hike is described as “the most sustained coastal walk in western Ireland, with a profusion of precipitous cliffs, crags, caves, chasms and islands along the remote North Mayo coast”. Afterwards, you can visit the beautifully designed Ceide Fields Visitor Centre, which showcases the oldest, most extensive Stone Age monument in the world. Prepare to be blown away at the viewing platform at the edge of the 110-metre cliff across the road. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/europe/ireland-the-emerald-isle-escape-2019
- Queensland: Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.
56km over 3 days / well graded tracks / steep ascents & descents.
Green Mountains to Binna Burra: Day one is a full day walk through the largest protected pristine subtropical rainforest in Australia. Follow the Border Track, the backbone of the Lamington National Park walking system. The lush and diverse vegetation in this UNESCO World Heritage wilderness area includes Strangler figs, ancient Antarctic beech and buttressed Booyongs. This is a photographer’s dream, with several lookouts along the track offering magnificent views into the Tweed / Limpinwood Valleys, Mount Warning and the Tweed Range. Late afternoon, arrive at Binna Burra Lodge and spend the night. 21.4km, 7hr, well graded track.
Springbrook National Park: Descend through a former dairy farm and then down a series of old forestry trails to Egg Rock, a secondary vent of the ancient Tweed volcano. Continuing through a mix of forest types, descend to the Numinbah Valley Road and traverse the valley floor through lush farmland. The afternoon climb onto the Springbrook Plateau is via open eucalypt forest and a cycad grove. The walking day ends with a steep climb up the ridge to Springbrook’s Apple Tree Park. Stay tonight in accommodation on Springbrook Mountain. 22km, 8hr, steep descent to Egg-Rock and steep ascent of Springbrook, elevation 400m over 2km.
Purling Brook Falls, Springbrook National Park: The final day on the Great Walk Track sees you walking from Apple Tree to Little Nerang Creek. Follow this upstream to Warringah Pools - a great spot to relax, and in warmer weather, to enjoy a dip. Arrive at the base of spectacular Purlingbrook Falls and enjoy the cool spray tumbling from above. Ascend to the top of the falls where lookouts afford magnificent views over the surrounding countryside. 8km, 4hr, steep climb to top of the falls. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/australia/queensland/gold-coast-hinterland-great-walk-september-2019
- Portugal:Peneda Geres National Park
10-15km / easy-moderate mountain trails / 400m ascent / descent.
Peneda Geres National Park, with its time-worn landscapes sculptured by geological forces, is located in northern Portugal, near the Spanish border. Extending from Castro Laboreiro plateau to Mourela plateau, the park covers the mountain ranges of Peneda, Soajo, Amarela and Geres. Within the park, there are hundreds of hamlets and small villages scattered throughout the mountains and lowlands, each retaining many of their traditions and agricultural practices. Choose from one of the many village to village walks, following ancient well-worn pilgrimage mountain trails. You’ll be rewarded along the way with spectacular views of the rugged wilderness, granite rock formations and mountain streams. Try to make time to visit the ruins of the medieval castles of Castro Laboreiro and Lindoso, both listed as national monuments. Meeting the locals in their traditional villages and indulging in the local cuisine will also be a highlight of your visit. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/europe/the-best-of-portugal-2019
- Whitsundays (Queensland): Conway National Park Honeyeater Lookout & Bicentennial Walk
3-7km / easy-moderate walks with optional steep ascent / lookout.
Enjoy an energetic climb to the peak of Honeyeater Lookout in Conway National Park – a wonderful place to gaze upon breathtaking views to the Whitsunday Islands. While here, an alternate easier option would be to take an amble along Bicentennial Walk (45min) from Airlie Beach’s lagoon to the sands of Cannonvale Beach. Both stunning walks in an equally stunning part of Australia. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/australia/queensland/carnarvon-gorge-to-whitsunday-coast-2019
- Southern Italy: Mount Etna
2hr / 350m ascent / descent on volcanic scree and old lava.
Explore the northern flank of active volcano Mount Etna, 30km from Catania (an ancient port city on Sicily's east coast). Historical basalt lava flows cover much of the surface of this massive and still active volcano. The walk begins through a lush, wooded area dominated by beech and birch trees. The path gently climbs and you'll soon pass over some of the most recent lava flows. The destination is Piano Provenzana, (elevation 1800m) NB: This walk will depend on weather conditions and the eruptive state of Mount Etna. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/europe/southern-italian-sojourn-2019
- Madagascar: Isalo National Park Crest Circuit & Panoramic Viewpoint
7km return / 5hr moderate Crest Circuit & Panoramic Viewpoint walk.
Madagascar is an island off the southeast coast of Africa and is home to thousands of animal species found nowhere else on Earth, rainforests, beaches and reefs. Central to the Island near Ranohira, Isalo National Park is one of the most popular parks in Madagascar. Covering 81,540 hectares, the park has a landscape made up of the ‘massif ruiniform’, marine and continental sandstone rocks. Some of the canyons have permanent rivers flowing through them, making Isalo an important source of water for the region. Discover Riparian forests which run alongside the watercourses and provide shelter for lemurs. The Crest Circuit and panoramic viewpoint offers spectacular views of the geological formations. https://www.parktours.com.au/walking-holidays/rest-of-world/madagascar-mountains-and-mystery-2019