Hiking is a fantastic get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, as well as a great means of exercise and getting close to nature – but where to start?

Easy Does It

sydney national park hike scenery bushIf you’re just starting out as a hiker, have young kids with you or just want to take it easy, these trails are for you – nothing too strenuous, with all the rewards of beautiful scenery and serenity.

Berowra Valley National Park, connecting Sydney to the Hunter, has great beginner’s walks including the ‘Place of Winds’ interpretive trail. With sign posts about the surrounding habitats and boardwalks, it’s an easy and rewarding 1.2km/1 hour walk.

Within the Blue Mountains National Park, you can follow in the footsteps of a great man on the Charles Darwin walk. Follow the sounds of a bubbling creek and varied bird song along this 3.5km/2 hour loop.

For something closer to the city, check out the Henry Head track in Kamay Botany Bay National Park, a 5km/2.5 hour hike along the ocean between La Perouse Museum and Endeavour Lighthouse.

 Up The Pace

mount kembla, wollongong, ring track, summit, top, viewMedium intensity hiking can be found both close to Sydney and in more remote areas throughout NSW; whichever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy what each unique trail has to offer.

If you’re off on a decent trip down Victoria way, a day spent hiking in Kosciuoszko National Park is not to be missed. For a challenge, try the Illawong Walk, 5km/4 hour along the Snowy River Valley from Guthega.

Just an hour south of Sydney you can enjoy a spectacular view from the top of the Mount Kembla summit track. It’s a medium difficulty 3.2km/2.5 hour walk giving great views of Wollongong.

Many other medium intensity hikes can be found close to Sydney in the Royal National Park and Sydney Harbour National Park.

Tough Mudder

australia hiking, bush walking, bridgeIf your motto is pain=gain, you’re training to become an endurance athlete, or you just really, really like hiking then keep reading.

It’s not quite the whole thing, but you can have a taste test of the Great North Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Even this baby version is a challenging 11km/4.5 hour trek of steep descents and tough hills.

Within Wollemi National Park, bordering the Blue Mountains, you’ll find the Newnes to Rocky Creek walk. It’s a stretch at 10km/1 day each way and is recommended only for experienced hikers carrying appropriate maps and a compass.

If you’re a seasoned bush walker, make sure the Gibraltar-Washpool World Heritage walk is on your to-do list. With waterfalls, towering rock ridges and sub-alpine swamps, you won’t be short on scenery on this 45km/3 day loop.

Published by Taylor

Local dLook correspondent Taylor gives a home grown look at the city that was built on rock and roll (but mostly The Rocks). Check her our in dLook's Local Look updates on Digital Editions

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