Best Summit Day-Hikes in South-East Australia

Australia may be the flattest continent on Earth, but it still has some great mountains. Here are my favourites from the south-eastern corner that you can climb in a day.

There’s nothing more satisfying to me than climbing a mountain from the bottom in a day. It’s my favourite form of hiking, combining the best views with a sense of achievement. It seems I’m built for short but steep hikes. The steeper they are the more of an adrenaline fuelled high I get, and rugged mountainous landscapes add to this natural high. And by completing the walk in a day I can then return to the comforts of civilisation, such as indoor plumbing.

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Grandview Mountain Track, Lake Hawea, Otago

One thousand metres of ascent and descent along a vehicle track to the summit of Grandview Mountain provides good views of nearby rugged country, and then extensive views over Lake Hawea and distant high peaks.

On entering New Zealand in March 2020 we were soon hit with increasingly severe restrictions due to the Covid 19 epidemic. Before the complete lock-down we snuck in a final hike to the summit of Grandview Mountain at the southern end of Lake Hawea, a new walk for us. The views from the top were indeed grand, although I most liked the views of rugged country we passed by along the way in the Grandview Creek Conservation Area. Continue reading “Grandview Mountain Track, Lake Hawea, Otago”

Queens Drive – Wye Creek Circuit (autumn), Remarkables Range NZ

The Queens Drive-Wye Creek circuit is a great walk high up in the Remarkables Range, with unparalleled views of the Queenstown area, steep drop offs, and rugged alpine scenery. Not one for those with a fear of heights!

Our second time to do this really excellent circuit walk, which offers extensive views over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, rugged alpine scenery, and enough exposure on the Queens Drive portion to get the heart pumping. You won’t find many more dramatic and yet accessible day-walks than this. Continue reading “Queens Drive – Wye Creek Circuit (autumn), Remarkables Range NZ”

Princes Rock Walking Track, Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW

You can get good views of Wentworth Falls, in the Upper Blue Mountains, on three excellent circuit walks: via the National Pass, Wentworth Pass (no separate post for this), and via Hippocrene and Vera Falls. But if you want to see the falls in all their glory without much effort, then I can highly recommend the short walk down to Princes Rock Lookout from the Wentworth Falls picnic area. Continue reading “Princes Rock Walking Track, Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW”

Bluff Mountain & Grand High Tops, Warrumbungle National Park NSW

The must do circuit walk in the Warrumbungles, taking in famous views of the Breadknife from Grand High Tops, and a visit to Bluff Mountain (1200m) where there are more great views.

The Grand High Tops Circuit with an added side trip to Bluff Mountain (1200m) is arguably the best walk in the Warrumbungles, especially for views. From Grand High Tops there are classic views of the pleasingly named rock formation, The Breadknife, which is a tall, thin and sheer slice of rock that you pass on the way up. There are also great views of nearby Crater Bluff, and of Belougery Spire, both prominent and striking hunks of rock. Continue reading “Bluff Mountain & Grand High Tops, Warrumbungle National Park NSW”

Ferntree Gully Circuit, near Rylstone NSW

The circuit walk through Ferntree Gully Reserve passes through a scenic gully containing interesting rainforest vegetation. This includes various types of ferns as the name suggests, as well as vines and trailing roots reaching down over rocks to find the ground below. There are also good views from above the gully. It’s a short but rewarding walk that I recommend if you are in the region around Rylstone. Continue reading “Ferntree Gully Circuit, near Rylstone NSW”

Wentworth Falls Circuit via Hippocrene & Vera Falls, Blue Mountains NSW

An excellent circuit at Wentworth Falls that takes in numerous waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, including the lesser visited Hippocrene Falls and Vera Falls.

An excellent circuit walk taking in a less travelled section of the Jamison Valley at Wentworth Falls. There are the usual grand sandstone cliffs the region is famous for, as well as numerous waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. Continue reading “Wentworth Falls Circuit via Hippocrene & Vera Falls, Blue Mountains NSW”

Wollomombi and Chandler Walking Tracks, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park NSW

Spectacular gorge scenery on these two shortish walks along the edge of Wollomombi Gorge in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

Two shortish walks here that are filled with spectacular gorge scenery. The scenery is quite different from the valleys around Sydney, and one of my Instagram followers thought it reminiscent of the Italian Alps. I’ve never been, although I see plenty of the Dolomites on Instragram, and I think she was referring to the preponderance of steep rocky slopes. There are big waterfalls here as well, and in fact Wollomombi Falls is the third tallest in Australia, however we didn’t see a single falls with water in them on our trip, due to dry conditions. Definitely worth the visit nevertheless. Continue reading “Wollomombi and Chandler Walking Tracks, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park NSW”

Apsley Gorge Rim Circuit, Oxely Wild Rivers National Park NSW

A very short and accessible walk around the rim of Apsley Gorge, with good views of Apsley Falls and the vertical walls of the gorge. 

A very short and accessible walk around the rim of Apsley Gorge. There are good views of the falls, and of the vertical slate walls of the gorge. We arrived at this spot in twilight so we were unable to do the slightly longer walk around the other side of the gorge, but I did manage to get a few shots in before the sun went down. Track notes at the end.

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Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

A circuit walk taking in one of the better and yet less frequented sections of the Federal Pass at Katoomba, and also all of the most touristy areas for some contrast!

The Katoomba Landslide section of the Federal Pass in the Blue Mountains appears not to get that much traffic, and I hadn’t done it before this trip in June 2019. Turns out though it is one of the most spectacular sections of this longish track beneath sandstone cliffs, as a landslide in the early 1930’s has opened up views over a nice corner of the cliff lined Jamison Valley. Continue reading “Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW”