Walking is a great way to get to know a new destination.
It’s an activity that completely immerses you in the local surroundings and gives you the opportunity to engage directly with the environment. On a guided walking tour you’ll learn a lot about the destination in a relatively short space of time. Walking tours are also good for you and a lot of fun to boot (if you’ll pardon the pun).
From extended walking holidays to short guided city walks, here are ten top Australian walking tours.
Great Ocean Walk (Victoria)
The Great Ocean Road in regional Victoria is Australia’s most famous coastal drive, but if your boots were made for walking, one of the best ways to experience the true diversity of this stunning stretch of coast is on the Great Ocean Walk. This 105km track runs from the town of Apollo Bay all the way to the 12 Apostles.
Join a fully accommodated three, four or seven day walk, staying at historic properties like the Cape Otway Lightstation. This is one of the most iconic options on our list of top Australian walking tours.
Watch our video of this experience:
Thinking about doing the Great Ocean Walk? In this segment from the Tour the World travel TV series, we join Park Trek Walking Holidays on a four-day short-break hiking the Great Ocean Walk in regional Victoria. We experience the amazing beaches, coves and spectacular cliff-top vistas this walk is famous for, before ending up at the wonderful 12 Apostles.
When Rum Ran The Rocks (Sydney)
To the first of our historic top Australian walking tours, and the New South Wales Corps, also infamously known as the Rum Corps, was formed in 1789 to take over the policing of the fledgling colony of Sydney. It’s fair to say England didn’t exactly send its best men for the job and the Rum Corps was soon running amok.
Fast forward two centuries and When Rum Ran The Rocks is a walking tour that follows in the footsteps of those early ragged rascals of The Rocks precinct. It’s a history lesson every Aussie or overseas visitor will enjoy.
Scenic Rim Trail, Spicers Retreats (Southeast Queensland)
If you love hiking along with the finer things in life, you will absolutely adore the Scenic Rim Trail in Southeast Queensland, operated by Spicers Retreats.
Located in the Great Dividing Range west of Brisbane, a good level of fitness is required for this short-break, which includes two nights at Spicers Canopy eco lodge in permanent tents (complete with queen-size bed and gorgeous linen) and one final night of sublime luxury at Spicers Peak Lodge.
The walks in between take in the spectacular mountain peaks and pristine Gondwana rainforest of the Main Range National Park.
Watch our video of this experience:
Looking to take on the Scenic Rim Trail in Southeast Queensland? In this segment from the Tour the World travel TV series, we join Spicers Retreats on their fully guided Scenic Rim Trail walking tour.
Lanes and Arcades Tour (Melbourne)
Next on our list of ten top Australian walking tours is a half day option most visitors to Melbourne will absolutely love. Wandering the inner city’s laneways is infinitely fascinating and this stalwart of guided laneway walking tours has been running since 2004.
Lanes and Arcades leads guests on a three-hour merry dance, revealing many of the city’s hidden secrets in the process – cafes, boutiques, chocolatiers, fashion incubators, street art sites and much more.
Grampians Peaks Trail (Victoria)
Of all the extended Australian walking tours we’ve done, this one in regional Victoria is an absolute highlight. At present you can hike about a quarter of what will ultimately become the full Grampians Peaks Trail in regional Victoria – 144km of walking tracks traversing the entire length of the ancient Grampians mountain range, two and a half hours north-west of Melbourne.
But even the quarter that’s complete is absolutely spectacular and well worth a visit now. Join a four-day fully accommodated itinerary, where you’re based in comfortable chalet-style at Halls Gap and head out each day to walk a section of the trail.
The full trail is scheduled for completion in 2019.
Watch our video of this experience:
Welcome to The Big Bus tour and travel guide. In this segment we join Park Trek Walking Holidays and Visit Grampians on a four-day short break hiking through the spectacular Grampians in regional Victoria. By 2019 the 144km Grampians Peaks Trail will be completed, allowing hikers to walk the entire length of the range.
Rooftop Bars Walk (Melbourne)
Back in Melbourne and the city’s rooftop bar scene is undoubtedly the ‘in-thing’. These hipster hangouts perched atop many of the city’s older low-rise buildings (we’re not talking the rooftop of the Eureka Tower here) are lots of fun, but you really need to know where to look.
This three-hour Rooftop Bars Walking Tour takes in four venues, each offering a bird’s eye view of a different part of the city. A tipple at each bar is included.
Feast on the Street (Adelaide)
Street art may be the bugbear of many a crotchety local authority, but Adelaide has embraced it in an effort to revitalise and regenerate the city’s no-go zones. And that’s brought with it an explosion of hip street food outlets.
Join this fabulous walking tour that takes in the best of the street art and provides some awesome munchies along the way. This is a popular tour that only runs once a week, so make sure you book well in advance.
African Trails (Melbourne)
The gritty inner-west Melbourne suburb of Footscray is not one that tourists generally frequent, but it is home to a large percentage of the city’s migrant African population and an array of superb African restaurants, including Sudanese, Egyptian and Ethiopian options.
This guided food tour leads guests to several of the most interesting options on a delicious progressive-style lunch, and breaks down social barriers in the process.
Prison Life Experience on St Helena Island (Brisbane)
While Brisbane is Australia’s third oldest capital city (by year of settlement) behind Sydney and Hobart, evidence of colonial heritage is not as easy to find here – unless you know where to look. St Helena Island on Moreton Bay is a fascinating time capsule of the region’s early history.
Explore the island on a guided walking tour with hosts in colonial period costume and character. A picnic lunch is included.
The Big Bus tour and travel guide travelled as a guest of each of these tour operators.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a Melbourne-based travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. Adam has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. He worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. Adam also appears regularly as a travel commentator on Sky News Business Class. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.