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Hiking in Australia's South West - what you need to know

Edge shaped like mountain horizon
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Trails Less Travelled

Adventurous travellers, hikers and walkers are always looking for trails less travelled. So lace up your hiking boots and we’ll walk you through what makes our trails unique and explain why going a little further will give you a whole lot more.

Our Landscape, Terrain and Nature

We are an ecoregion like no other.  Yes, there are national biodiversity hotspots on the east coast but our region has the largest and is recognised as Australia's only Global Biodiversity Hotspot. Unique and rare, traversing a trail here means immersing yourself amongst flora and fauna found nowhere else on the planet. 

Our wildflower season draws visitors from all over the world as more than 8,000 species put on an unrivelled display that, simply, is blooming spectacular. With 80% of these plants found only here, travelling on foot gives you the chance to admire them close up and at your own pace. 

Carpets of widlflowers cover fields in wildflower season

There’s no crowds because we have more than 3,000 kilometres of trails. Combined with our State’s small population and remoteness you’re more likely to wander amongst nature’s wonders all by yourself. The terrain is different here too; it’s flatter with fewer mountains but still with mountains of things to see and do. Walk along spectacular coastal cliffs that meet wild oceans, swim in sheltered rock pools or wander through ancient forests as you surround yourself in some of the most photogenic landscapes in Australia.

There’s also a sense of remoteness here; an essence of the untouched, unspoilt, real Australian bush.  It’s a place where vast landscapes meet big skies that create a blanket of stars under which to sleep. We may be old in geological terms but new experiences await all those that visit. 

We’re proud to be the home of the world class Bibbulmun Track, regarded as one of Australia's best hiking trails. Stretching 1,000km it’s the nation's third longest trail and is uniquely dotted with well-maintained camping stations providing shelter and water. The ‘Bibb’ can be done in sections and is worthy of inclusion on anyone’s bucket list.

For a magnificent coastal odyssey consider the Cape To Cape Track with its stunning mix of coastal cliffs, cave networks, karri forests and sandy beaches. It’s also listed as one of Australia's top trails and it won’t take you long to see why. 

There are dozens of other trails waiting for you to explore.

Experience more with more experiences

Be it a single day outing or a multi-day trek, there's so much to see and do both on and off the track.  You can opt to hike a trail completely self guided, with a small tour group  or in a hybrid format with a tour operator handling accommodation and logistics while you totally de-stress and hike to your chosen destination. 

There's countless options for enjoying authentic country charm with a small town stay or treating yourself to nights in a cosy cabin or luxury villa.

Your choices of what to add to your hike are also endless. You can paddle a river, explore a cave, visit an art gallery, drink world class wines, down a local craft beer and savour freshly picked local produce. 

Meelup Farmhouse, Dunsborough

Why not connect with culture by hooking up with a local guide. This region is steeped in Indigenious heritage and you’ll find many Indigenous guides ready to share the history and culture of the people who’ve lived here for more than 60,000 years.

Stay Safe (so you can come back) 

You could walk for hours without seeing a soul so make sure you’re properly prepared. The scale of this region is vast and phone reception can be patchy. While this helps you disconnect from home or city life and reconnect with nature, it means making sure you have access to hardcopy or offline-readable maps. We want you to get lost in your thoughts not lost in the bush.

We also don’t want you to be left in the dark so remember WA doesn’t have daylight saving. If you’re on a coastal trail check daily sunset times so you can be ready (with wine, snacks and camera) to see the sun spectacularly set over the ocean.

The South West is traditionally cooler than our regional neighbours. Our climate is mediterranean-style with hot dry summers and most rain falling in winter but you can easily encounter four seasons in one day. Think light - long - layered clothing to protect you from the weather, sunburn and our region's bitey animals and insects.

Prescribed burns in forests are common in this region during the cooler months so check for updates before you head off.  Sadly, you may encounter areas of Phytophthora dieback, a fungal disease posing a major threat to our region’s biodiversity. Please familiarise yourself with how to help protect our environment as ‘Dieback’ is carried in soil and primarily spread by foot and vehicle movement.

Come on over and come on down

Our wilderness, our wonders and our south-western hospitality are waiting for you. Come and experience the difference our distance makes. 


Written by Serena Kirby