our favourite winter walks in Australia and New Zealand
CAPE BYRON WALKING TRACK NSW
LENGTH: 3.7km (about 2 hours). FITNESS LEVEL: High. This up-and-down loop passes through exquisite rainforest, beaches and grassland and over spectacular clifftops. In winter it attracts whale spotters. Apparently the best whale-watching is around the Cape Byron Lighthouse (pictured). Also look out for turtles, dolphins and stingrays. You can turn the walk into a day trip with lunch at the Cape Byron Lighthouse Cafe.
KINGS CANYON RIM WALK NORTHERN TERRITORY
LENGTH: 6km (about 4 hours). FITNESS LEVEL: Moderate to high. It’s been described as one of the world’s best short walks – and the scenery is awe-inspiring. The stunning rim walk begins with a 500-step climb, which can be challenging. But it’s worth every step because when you reach the top you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Watarrka National Park and the canyon. There is also an easier, shaded walk along the canyon floor. Kings Canyon Resort (kingscanyonresort.com.au) has guided walks to suit all fitness levels. LENGTH: 2.4km (3 hours). FITNESS LEVEL: Good. It may be short, but this steep climb to a beautiful alpine lake in the Fiordland National Park, in the heart of the Milford Sound area, requires good fitness and navigation skills. It’s an easy 10-minute walk from the carpark to spectacular waterfalls, but from then on the track becomes steep and muddy. It’s worth it, though. Lake Marian, located in a valley formed by glaciers, is considered one of the most beautiful settings in Fiordland. Surrounded by mountains, its waters offer stunning reflections when the weather is calm.
ORGAN PIPES, MT WELLINGTON TASMANIA
LENGTH: 3 hours return (7.4 km). FITNESS LEVEL: Moderate. These stunning fluted rock columns, called the Organ Pipes, are one of the most distinctive features on Mt Wellington, just outside Hobart. The columns, made of dolerite rock and formed during the Jurassic period, when Tasmania was in the process of separating from Antarctica, are a favourite for rock lovers and a source of wonder for all. The track has some steep parts and rocky sections.
WERRIBEE GORGE LOOKOUTS WALK VICTORIA
LENGTH: 7.1km (3 hours). FITNESS LEVEL: All. This easy walk, 69km from Melbourne, takes in three of Werribee Gorge’s best lookouts, with views into the gorge and across the surrounding countryside. The walk descends into the valley to include a section of the aquaduct track at the base of the spectacular Werribee Gorge. There are a few short, steep ascents and descents. #