When it comes to adventurous holidays, Australia’s outback really delivers. This is part two of our two part list of the 10 best walks of the Australian Outback. In part one, we visited the first five of the walks on our list, and all were in the Northern Territory. The walks we covered included: the Larapinta Trail, Kings Canyon Rim Walk, Kata Tjuta Valley of the Wings Walk, Koolpin Gorge to Twin Falls Walk, and Mt Giles Explorer Trek. When it comes to bushwalking in Australia, it is so important to be well prepared and do your research about the requirements and details of the walk you choose. No matter the length of your walk, be sure to plan ahead, understand the fitness level requirements, have the right shoes and attire, bring plenty of drinking water, have emergency supplies with you, and make sure that someone not travelling with you knows when you are expected back. When you take all these necessary safety precautions, it ensures that you will have the most enjoyable bushwalking holiday. It is also important to always remember that you are a guest in nature. Bring a bag with you to take your own rubbish away. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures. Today, in part two of our list of the best walks in the Australian Outback, we will be touring Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland, the Kimberley Walking Tour in Western Australia, the Lurujarri Dreaming Trail in Western Australia, the Heysen Trail & Flinders Ranges in South Australia, and Arkaroola Explorer in South Australia.
Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland
Carnarvon Gorge Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Carnarvon Gorge Walking Trail Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Carnarvon Gorge Aboriginal Art Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
The Carnarvon Gorge walk is an eight day, guided walking tour of the Carnarvon Gorge and Carnarvon National Park region west of Brisbane in Queensland. The great thing about this walking tour, is that each day, different walking trail options are available, so you can choose to be adventurous on more challenging tracks or take it a little easier. This allows the tours to accommodate hikers of all different levels and also gives walkers the opportunity to take it easy one or more days if they choose. The landscapes you will see on this walking tour include the Bunya Mountains, majestic waterfalls, trickling streams, lush rainforest, and panoramic lookouts.
Hiring a Car to get to Carnarvon National Park
Carnarvon National Park Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
If you are already in Queensland, you can find a convenient car hire location in close proximity to drive to Carnarvon National Park. Choose from any of the following Queensland car hire locations:
Carnarvon Gorge is about a 3 hour drive northwest of Brisbane, it is even closer to Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, or Bundaberg. Be sure to tell your car rental agent that you are heading into the Outback so that they can recommend the best vehicle with 4WD capabilities to keep you safe and on track. They can also inform you of any safety guidelines or restrictions for your trip. It is strongly advised that you keep a first aid kit, extra drinking water, and have a way to contact friends, family, or the car rental office in case of emergencies. Having your own vehicle means freedom to see the sights when you want and stay as long as you like. No need to be at the mercy of a tour bus schedule. It also means you can find the time to visit some of the other holiday hot spots in the region:
The Kimberley Walking Tour in Western Australia
Bungle Bungles Base of the Range Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Peter Ruckstuhl at the German language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10771938
The Pentacost River with the Cockburn Ranges in the background Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Bäras at the German language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2505178
Bell Gorge Photo Credit KimberleyAustralia.com
The Kimberley is the northern section of Western Australia, it is very remote and has many beautiful and scenic sights without the crowds you might find in other parts of the country. The Gibb River Road is a well-known scenic drive through the Kimberley from Derby to Kununurra; and the Kimberley Walking Tour combines driving and walking through the Gibb River Road and the sights you see along the way. Walking for part of the trip allows you to see some of the spectacles up close. Be prepared for the northern heat but don’t worry, you will be able to refresh and cool down in some of the most beautiful, natural swimming holes of the Kimberley like Bell Gorge and waterfall, Manning Gorge, and Emma Gorge. Some of the sights you will see while driving include the Cockburn Ranges and you will cross the Pentecost River by four wheel drive. Highlights from the walking portion of the tour include the Manning Gorge walk, the Bungle Bungle Ranges, Zebedee Hot Springs, and some optional excursions like a scenic flight over the Mitchell Falls Plateau. Each night, there will be exciting camping options and one night in the magnificent El Questro Wilderness Park accommodations.
The Lurujarri Dreaming Trail in Western Australia
Lurujarri Dreaming Trail Photo Credit: Goolarabooloo.org.au
Lurujarri Dreaming Trail Photo Credit: Goolarabooloo.org.au
Lurujarri Dreaming Trail Map Photo Credit: Goolarabooloo.org.au
The Lurujarri Dreaming Trail is steeped in Aboriginal history and culture. It has been created and is guided by the Goolarabooloo community, as it is a walk through their country. Their country is on the Dampier Peninsula, north of Broome, Western Australia. The walk begins in MInarriny, which is about 80 km north of Broome, and continues north for the 82 km trail to Minyirr. The guides will explain to you the meaning of the trail and the traditional Song Cycle that goes along with it, as the songs and dreaming stories have been passed down through the generations. The actual trail followed is a nine day walk that was first established by Paddy Roe in 1987. He is a well-known and respected Aboriginal elder leader who is a storyteller and a recipient of the Order of Australia medal. The main goal of the guides on the trail is to experience their living country. It includes coastline, reefs, dunes, rugged bush, mangroves, and salt plains. Along the journey, the guides will tell the Dreamtime stories and also how for many years they have used the native flora for medicines and to make bush tucker food. They will also demonstrate how they make traditional tools. It is definitely a journey, not just an adventure and is a special bushwalk that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Hiring a Car in the Kimberley
Car Rental Locations near Kimberley Region, WA Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
When travelling through the Kimberley, there are two main cities that have car hire locations: Broome, in the southwest corner of the region and Kununurra, in the northeast area of the region. You can hire a car at the Broome Airport, or rent a car and the Broome Downtown location. There are two car rental locations in Kununurra, one in the city and you can also hire a car at the Kununurra Airport. Most of the areas of the Kimberley region can only be accessed with a four wheel drive vehicle, so be sure to have the proper vehicle and emergency supplies when driving through this area. Keep in mind that since this is remote and rugged terrain, safety guidelines must be taken very seriously. Check with your car rental agent to get important guidelines, safety information, and driving maps. Here are some other adventurous ideas near the Kimberley region from our blog:
The Heysen Trail & Flinders Ranges in South Australia
Heysen Trail Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Waitpinga Beach on the Heysen Trail Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Heysen Trail near Waitpinga Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Burtonpe – CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20668196
Wilpena Pound view from Bunyeroo Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8014723
Wilpena Pound Panorama Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By User:Mictli, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22981894
They Heysen Trail is a coastal trail on the Fleurieu Peninsula on the southern tip of South Australia. The trail runs from Cape Jervis to Parachilna Gorge, which is in the southern part of the Flinders Ranges. The trail is 1200 km of diverse terrain including coastal areas, bushland, pine forests, gorges, vineyards, farmland, and even historic old towns. It is very diverse. Many of the tours include a continued northern hike into the Flinders Ranges, which is more of the semi-arid outback landscape you will be looking for in an “outback” bushwalk in Australia. This walk with the Heysen Trail allows you to see a great variety of Australian landscapes including the sights in the Flinders Ranges including Wilpena Pound, St Mary Peak, Bunyeroo Gorge, and finally, Parachilna Gorge.
Arkaroola Explorer in South Australia
Arkaroola Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Arkaroola Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Sillers Lookout in Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary Photo Credit: Arkaroola.com.au
Arkaroola is a remote Wilderness Sanctuary in the outback of northern South Australia. The sanctuary is comprised of 610 square kilometres of land in the Northern Flinders Ranges. The Arkaroola Explorer walk is a tour that takes trekkers into the very far northern reaches of the rugged mountain terrain. The landscape is made up of towering granite peaks, deep gorges, and many water holes. You can hire a round trip tour from Adelaide or you can hire your own 4WD vehicle and make your custom road trip out of it. The walking portion of the tour includes a 13 km trail in Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park where highlights include Lake Frome, Tillte Gorge, Bararanna Gorge, and the the Acacia Ridge Walk.
Hiring a Car in Adelaide
Adelaide Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Since South Australia is quite remote and with rugged terrain, you will want to hire a four wheel drive vehicle in order to get around safely. Adelaide is the capital city and a hub of South Australia. The Heysen Trail is about an 1 ½ drive south of Adelaide. Hiring a car in Adelaide is easy with Budget. There are 5 different car rental locations in and around Adelaide, so it is quite convenient to hire a car in Adelaide. There are car hire locations in Adelaide City, at the Adelaide Airport, in Adelaide North – Salisbury, Adelaide South – Reynella, and an Adelaide Trucks location close to the airport for hiring trucks, 4 wheel drive, and all-terrain vehicles. Arkaroola is quite remote, so it is a 10 hour drive north of Adelaide. You can also hire a car in Moomba South Australia if you are coming from the north and then drive south to Arkaroola. While in South Australia, you might want to travel around and take in any of the following places we previously covered on our blog: