Spending time in nature feels good. There’s something about breathing fresh air and exploring new scenery that imparts a sense of optimism and possibility.
And it’s not just a feeling. Researchers at Stanford University published findings earlier this year exploring a link between time spent in nature and a reduction in rumination – a known risk factor for mental illness.
It's time to dust off the hiking boots, embrace the great outdoors and make time to savour the benefits it brings us. Here are some of the best places around Australia to explore.
The 16.7 km one-way distance of Thredbo Valley Track is an accessible hike that can be knocked off in a day. Open to walkers year-round and cyclists part of the year, it trails the river through a magnificent landscape from Thredbo Alpine Village to historic Bullocks Hut.
It’s an epic end-to-end trek stretching over 1200 km, but the Heysen Trail can be beautifully broken up into half-day or full day hikes as well. Trekking past cellar doors helps to make the journey a little more merry, and don’t miss a visit to the historic German village of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.
The Northern Territory’s Jatbula Trail is a booking-only walk found in the ancient landscape of Nitmiluk National Park. It follows the path travelled by generations of Jawoyn people, from Nitmiluk to Leliyn. The recommended walking season is from 1 June to 30 September, with camping available along the way.
The 65-km Overland Track in Tasmania can be tackled over a week, or in shorter sections as day trips. It’s Tassie’s wilderness at its best, with lakes, dense forests and some very challenging (but very rewarding) hills.
Stretched across 104 km, the Great Ocean Walk drinks in the scenic coastal trail of Victoria’s rugged west coast. Choose your own adventure, walking the whole route from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles, or sectioning it off to suit your itinerary and camping along the way.
The Thorsborne Trail winds along the eastern coast of Hinchinbrook Island, nestled on the coast between Townsville and Cairns. At 32 km, it’s a multi-day trip, taking you into the heart of a tropical paradise of lush rainforest, mangrove fringes and pristine beaches.
Meandering through John Forrest, the oldest National Park in the state, Eagle View Walk is a 15 km loop trail that can take between four and a half to seven hours to complete. Scoot along pristine habitats and flowing waterfalls, admiring the excellent city views of Perth and water beyond.
The Centenary Trail is a self-guided track covering 145 km and tackled over seven days, or as mini sections. It rings and bisects our nation’s capital, taking in many of the natural and man made icons of the city and enabling you to get a thorough understanding of how and why Canberra is the way it is today.
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