Hamilton Island has over 20km of scenic walking trails to explore, and every time we go to Hamilton Island we make sure we go and explore the majestic walking trials of Hamilton Island.
There are two main entrances to the uninhabited section of the island that the Hiking trails are located at.
You can reach the walking trails via either the Scenic head trail entrance located at the end of Catseye beach. Or the Resort trail entrance located on the hill behind the Palm view Hotel.
The Resort entrance is a little further away from all the official entrances of the individual walking trails so will add a few extra minutes on each of the trails except for the flat top Hill lookout. If you have a couple of days to walk Hamilton Island it is well worth starting a walk from both locations, as the view from each of the different paths gives a different view of the Island.
The main walks located on the Island are;
Flat top Hill Lookout
South East Head
Our last trip though was over two years ago, and since then in the wake of cyclone Debbie much has changed in the trails around the island.
I previously wrote about our walk to escape beach, and on this trip, we ventured back and have found some great improvements on the trail.
Escape beach is a Grade 3 trail, this means even with the improvements, it contains some short steep sections and a few obstacles on the path.
If you decide to start at the Scenic trail lookout (Hideaway Bay entrance), the walk starts off very steep if you want to check out Hideaway Bay (I recommend it, especially at low to mid tide as you can see heaps of Mudcrabs and soldier crabs then you turn left at the Y intersection, or head right to Saddle junction to choose your path.
Escape Beach is on the way to South East Head so people often drop in and have a look on their way to see the view of the Linderman Islands from South East Head, however, if you only have a couple of hours to spare the walk to Escape Beach is about an hour each way, (2550m each way).
If you are going to go on your way to South East Head you will need to allow about 3 hours as it is about an hour and a half each way. (7.3km)
The distance may not seem that much, however, due to the heat and the steep hills it can definitely take it out of you, so I would recommend bringing at least 2-3 litres of water per person, you need good walking shoes there are plenty of loose rocks that you can easily slip on.
The best thing about the walks on Hamilton Island is the destination is only part of the beauty of the trails, as you walk along you need to take time to look around you will see so many beautiful views from the trail. The blue Whitsunday water on one side, gorgeous butterflies flying around on the other.
Western Australia, a land as vast as it is beautiful.
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world by pure size, however amazingly 53rd by population. When you visit Australia you notice something, that most of the population seems to be within half a dozen hours of the coast, and with the beautiful beaches of the Great Ocean Road, Byron Bay, the Gold Coast why wouldn’t they.
Western Australia is the largest State in Australia it spreads out over 2,529,875 square kilometres, 33% of Australia’s landmass. But Just over 10% of the population resides there (2.6 million). Compare that to Victoria that is only 3% of the landmass, but accounts for over 25% of the population, you can see how Western Australia is an area vast in size, but still quite low in population.
When putting together our list of Top things to do in Western Australia you will see that there are often huge areas between them. Involving long drives in the car. But what you will find is even if you are sitting in the car for 1500kms as you drive from Perth to Eucla, the scenery is always changing and its worth the drive.
Whilst there are amazing things to do in Perth, like Kings Park, the Maritime Museum in Fremantle. Which we loved my list is some of the more original things to do, things you can’t do anywhere else.
1 – Eucla
Just 11Kms over the South Australia border stands this tiny town Eucla, now Eucla has a population of under 100 people and you would be remiss to just keep driving through on your journey over the Nullarbor. (The Nullarbor is the large flat, treeless plain you drive over from Adelaide to Perth. This holds the longest straight stretch of road in Australia 146km) The Nullarbor is a real right of passage in Australia’s RV community and you will often see stickers on the back of caravans, proudly exclaiming they have crossed the Nullarbor.
We have driven over the Eyre Highway a few times and Eucla is the real highlight of the trip.
So why stop at Eucla?
You stop at Eucla for one reason the Old Telegraph Station. The Old Telegraph Station is located in the middle of a huge Sand dune. You park your car and begin to wander through the sand dunes, hoping you are heading in the right direction and then it comes into focus. Half covered by sand. The remnants of the Telegraph station.
What is Gnomesville you might ask? How did it start?
Gnoomesville is something special, it is a little village of 7000 gnomes that sprung up in Wellington Mill over 21 years ago, just 30 minutes out of Bunbury. Gnomesville is a great place to go and have a look, there is something magical about going and looking around at the 1000’s of gnomes in the area. Our kids loved it. Search #gnomesville on Instagram to see heaps more photos.
3 – Busselton Jetty
Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden pier (jetty) in the world. Stretching 2kms out to sea, you will see many people wandering out to the end of the Jetty. But if walking 4kms is not how you intend to spend your day. Don’t worry they now have an amazing solar-powered train that runs up 1.7km of the Jetty and takes 45 minutes. At $13.50 for an adult, $6.75 for a child 3-14 years it is great value.
6 hours from Perth is the picturesque Kalbarri National Park. Kalbarri is a gorgeous seaside town 600 km north of Perth with a population of about 1400 people. Every morning at the foreshore they feed the pelicans, and tourists flock to the area. But the real stand out of the area is “Natures window”.
Nature’s window was formed by the wind eroding a section of the layered sandstone, that frames the Murchison river below. What has formed is a gorgeous window that allows for an amazing view of the Murchison River.
There is a lot of different walks in Kalbarri National Park, whether you are a beginner or experienced hiker.
Kalbarri National Park is also a great place to see Western Australia’s wildflowers. Western Australia has 800 different speicies of Wildflowers. 600 of them are only found in WA.
5 – The Valley of the Giants tree top Walk.
50 km out of Denmark is the Internationally recognised, Valley of the Giants treetop walk. As long as you aren’t scared of heights you will love walking 40 metres above the ground amongst the canopy of the huge Red tingle trees in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park. The Walk is 600 metres long as suitable for children of all ages, including strollers. However, the way you can see through the metal of the bridge under your feet does see some children (and adults) struggle with the walk across the bridge.
The Valley of the giants is open from 9 am – 5 pm daily (excluding Christmas Day). However, runs extended hours over the Christmas period from December 26th to January 26th and stays open until 7 pm.
Entry to the Discovery Centre is free, however, to walk across the Valley of the Giants, the admission price is.
Adults (16+) = $21
Concession = $15.50
Children (6-15) = $10.50
Family (2A + 2C) = $52.50
If you are there at 10:15 am 11:30 am or 2 pm (during school terms) join in the guided tour to find out more about the amazing tingle trees from one of the helpful guides.
The Treetop discovery centre also has a gift shop and sells refreshments.
6- The pinnacles
Over a quarter of a million people come to see the iconic Limestone formations in the Numbung National Park each year. Only 200 km from Perth this is a must see if spending any time in Western Australia. It really is a sight to behold limestone formations some reaching up to 5 metres in the sky, sticking out of the sand everywhere. The Pinnacles are accessible by both car ($12 per car) or walking from the discovery centre. It is a 4km loop. Whilst the Discovery centre is only open until 4:30 pm, there is an honesty system after 4:30 that allows you to go in and capture that amazing photo at sunrise or sunset when the shadows create a truly magical experience.
Park your caravan in Airlie beach and catch a boat over to Hamilton Island for some amazing walks that will not only challenge you but will leave you wanting to explore more. Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays, with its own airport and school its population is about 1200 people, with thousands more heading over by boat, plane or ferry to relax and enjoy the serenity.
There are walks to huge lookouts where you can look over the island, to walks to private beaches where you can enjoy lunch peacefully by yourself.
Make sure you bring lots of water, a phone or camera to take lots of photos and enjoy the peaceful serenity that is The Whitsundays.
We love Hamilton Island, it is one of our favourite destinations to visit not just for ourselves, but as a family. There are so many fun things to do from, the Wildlife Park, heaps of pools, water sports, kids club, shopping, the beaches, jet skiing, massages, food, the list is endless.
One of our favourite things though is to walk the many scenic trails around the island. Our children love the Clownfish club so we always make sure they can find a program they are interested in and we venture off just the two of us to explore.
On our last trip to Hamilton Island the first walk we did was the walk to Escape beach. When wanting to explore the scenic trails there are a few places that you can start your walks from, but we decided to start behind the resort. It was easy to park our golf buggy and head off on our walk.
The walk is approximately 3300 metres each way. For this walk you need to be relatively fit as there are some steep parts, as well as near the end it feels like the track seems to disappear and you are left clambering down the hill to Escape Beach.
Most of the way there is uphill so make sure you bring lots of water, however, the advantage of that is most of the trip back is downhill 🙂 This is a great track to start off with as Passage Peak whilst shorter is much steeper and has stairs that go on forever.
There are great places to stop along the way and catch your breath whilst you catch the view.You will see so many beautiful butterflies and other wildlife along the way.
But once you get to the final 200 metres and descend the steep hill to your own idyllic private beach.
We bought our own lunch with us and sat back on a rock in the peaceful surrounding with no one else in sight, I don’t know if it was the fact we had just walked 3.5kms, but that Lunch was probably my favourite of the whole trip.
On the walk back we headed through mangroves, climbed up steep hills to catch a view of the island and by the time we had finished our walk of over 8kms, we were exhausted. Thankfully a quick swim and a bite to eat at the yacht club left us refreshed and ready to walk passage peak the next day.
Have you been to Hamilton Island before, the Whitsundays?
What is your favourite location in the Whitsundays?
Just out of Port Fairy on your way back to Warrnambool is the magical, picturesque Towerhill. There is something magical about driving down the road into the crater of a dormant volcano. Driving past ash deposits, large hills, and vibrant flora and fauna.
Towerhill Nature reserve is only 14kms from Warrnambool, right on the main road. The crater itself is 4kms across and 80 metres high, and when you are inside it, you are immersed in a beautiful vibrant wetland reserve.
Back in 1892 it became Victoria’s first National Park, and later in 1961 was declared a state Game reserve.
This nature reserve is a must have stop on your trip down the great ocean Road. It is full of wildlife from Koalas, Emus, Kangaroos and other waterbirds, just watch out for the Emu’s if you decide to pack a lunch as we learnt first hand that they love to steal your lunch. Our children watched in shock as an emu made a beeline for our table and decided that our Lunch would make a tasty treat. The ensuring panic as four children made a very hasty exit with the remaining untouched food would have been very comical to all those watching.
Whilst emu’s are not supposed to be that violent, we where not willing to risk it, and we sat eating the rest of our lunch in the safety of the car.
The Nature reserve is the Centre of the Tower hill Maar volcano crater, inside this large crater there is also a visitor centre that is run by the Worn Gundidj Aboriginal Cooperative. The visitor centre was commissioned back in 1962 to be designed by Robin Boyd. Finishing 7 years later in 1969. Robin Boyd simple circular structure made from Stone with a sloping roof is reminisce of the Towerhill’s volcanic island hilltops that surround it.
The visitor Centre is a great place to grab a refreshing drink, whilst looking at a range of cultural displays and local aboriginal art and craft, that you can purchase, as a lovely keepsake. The visitor centre is open from 10am – 4pm daily.
Whilst camping in Camper vans, Tents and Caravans is prohibited, the area itself is open 24 hours.
Their are Electric BBQ’s, picnic tables and toilet facilities, but be prepared with plenty of water and to take all your rubbish home with you, as their are no Rubbish bins, or drinking taps.
Walks around the reserve.
Towerhill Nature reserve is so much more than a fun place to enjoy Lunch. It is also a great place to enjoy some walks in the area. Many people don’t realise until they start driving down the The Great Ocean Road that is a fantastic place to get active with great walks like the Sheoak Falls and Swallow Cave walks all around the area. The Towerhill reserve is no exception. From long walks to shorter walks perfect for all ages.
Explore some of the amazing walks around the reserve. Parks Victoria have some great links to walks in the reserve. There are some self guided walks, as well as guided interactive walks led by experienced guides, both during the day and night. The nighttime walk opens your eye up to the huge range of nocturnal animals in the reserve.
If you manage to head into the Visitors centre you will see it features a great range of cultural displays and local aboriginal art. Whilst the reserve has access at all times, the visitor centre is open from 10am – 4pm daily.
See the view through Nature’s Window at Kalbarri National Park.
6 and a half hours north of the Perth is the beautiful coastal town of Kalbarri. Kalbarri is on our list as one of the must-see places in Western Australia. There are many reasons that it makes the list, however probably the main reason is the iconic Nature’s Window located in Kalbarri’s National Park.
Kalbarri National Park is the perfect location for people wanting to walk in Western Australia, with a great variety of different walks available. Making it a popular walking spot in Western Australia.
Kalbarri is a gorgeous coastal town where the Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean, it is a beautiful spot known for its seaside cliffs, gorgeous beach and seaside pelicans.
There are daily opportunities to feed the local pelicans, at the Pelican Feeding Point. Nearly every 8:45 am opposite the Murchison Caravan Park, you can help feed the Pelicans with a Gold Coin donation. The volunteers share their knowledge of the amazing birds and great local information as well. The Pelicans have been being feed at this point since 1975 when a local by the name of Cliff Ross started feeding them. Cliff Ross used to own a museum in Kalbarri called fantasyland.
Kalbarri is a great place to fish, walk and relax. Kalbarri National Park has great gorges with some fantastic walks. There are so many places to visit Mushroom Rock, Red Loop, Z-Bend.
Another great attraction in Kalbarri is the amazing range of Wildflowers. These are in bloom between July and November and there are an amazing 800 species in Western Australia, over 600 of these are found only in Western Australia.
The gorges carved by the Murchison River in Kalbarri National Park provide a great mixture of short and long walks to see some spectacular lookouts.
For us, the standout would be the walk to see “Nature’s Window”. If you are after a short walk the perfect spot for an Instagram photo is only 400 metres from the carpark. This natural rock arch frames the Murchison river perfectly, and depending on what angle you take your shot on, the way the sun is shining, every view is different. The sandstone rock is a such a great photo opportunity, but also a great spot just to sit and reflect on life.
One look on Instagram and you can see the many photos of #natureswindow
If you are up for a long walk it is also part of a 9km loop that begins and ends at “Nature’s Window”. With our young children in tow we didn’t walk the full loop, however, we wandered up the path for a while the first kilometre is relatively even, however, we where told there is quite a steep descent into the gorge itself. Not something we wanted to attempt with preschool children.
Nature’s Window was formed by the wind eroding a section of the layered sandstone, that frames the river below. It really is one of the highlights in Kalbarri National Park.
So make sure you stand at Nature’s Window and gaze out at the glorious view. See the rich colours in the rocks and marvel at how amazing Australia is.
Walks in Kalbarri National Park
Z Bend River trail
Distance – 2.6km (return)
Terrain – Mixture of steep descents, ladder climbs, steps and rocky surfaces, with some flat surfaces as well.
Estimated time – 1.5 hours
The Loop walk (Class 4 Trail) – Moderate to High Level of fitness required.
Distance – 9km (return)
Terrain – Mixture of long even sections, steep descent into the gorge, some rocky surfaces and small climbs.
Estimated time – 3 Hours
Distance – approx 800m (return)
Terrain – Easy.
Estimated time – Depends how many photos you want to take.
Distance – approx 1km (return)
Terrain – Easy.
*Perfect spot to spot marine creatures, like dolphins or humpback whales between June and November.
Terrain – Easy, sealed path.
Ross Graham Riverwalk.
(There is access to the Ross Graham Lookout only metres from the carpark)
Distance – approx 700m
Terrain – Moderate. (Level 3 hike)
Estimated time – 1 hour
Kalbarri National Park Information
$12 per vehicle per day
$6 per vehicle (Concession)
(Passes available at the Visitors centre or the Gate)
Open 6am – 6pm
Drinking water is not available so bring your own.
Just fifteen minutes out of Lorne on your way to Apollo Bay, along the magnificent Great Ocean Road is a great walk within the Otway National Park.
There are five walks available from the Sheoak Falls carpark.
Sheoak Falls (600m – Oneway)
Swallow Cave – via Sheoak Falls (about 1km – Oneway) if you go to the base of Sheoak Falls, about 800m without Sheoak Falls
Sheoak Picnic Area, via Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave, Castle Rock (7kms – Oneway)
Cumberland River circuit, via Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave, Castle Rock (11.5kms – return)
Cumberland falls via the Cumberland River circuit, via Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave, Castle Rock (13.5kms – return)
The first walk to Sheoak Falls is about fifteen to twenty minutes along the path on a mostly uphill section. The path is a mixture of gradual inclines, very steep steps, shorter steps and long windy straight sections.
As you arrive close to the Falls you have a choice head down to the Right to the base of the Gorge to see the falls from the bottom, or head right up the stairs to see Swallow Cave first.
We headed down to the base of Sheoak falls and it was worth the view.
After watching the water cascading over the 15 m cascading Falls, we ventured up towards Swallow Cave, it is almost all uphill from there, and some of the steps are almost twice the height of normal steps, so keep in mind if you have small children or back issues. But it is worth the walk.
There are two vantage point of the fall, the first lookout point allows you to see the falls, but the second part lets you really experience it.
After the first lookout, you continue your journey uphill until you get to a small river crossing (this should only be attempted if the water is not high, and covering the stones that you cross with). This is the perfect place to sit on the rocks and put your feet in the water after your climb.
But the best is still to come just 100m down the hill is the bottom lookout of Swallow Cave. From there you can see the little birds fly in and out of the caves. (Birds are normally there between spring and autumn.)
After 4 hours of driving from Yalara to Kings Canyon, four stiff bodies were eager to stretch their legs and go for a hike up and around Kings Canyon. We arrived at Kings Canyon at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and began the hike towards the Canyon.
At the beginning of the walk, we read up on the history of the canyon and noticed the hiking guidelines. Signs suggested allowing 3-4 hours to complete the Kings Canyon walk. Upon reading this sign, we were filled with a little concern, knowing that the sun sets at 6 pm, and so we would need to be off the canyon and back at the car by that time. This only allowed us three hours to complete the walk. Despite this realization, we decided to take the gamble and started off on what we would soon find out to be a fairly challenging walk. The first few hundred meters of the Kings Canyon walk is stairs up to a steep incline. It is also known as “heart attack hill”. It took us 45 minutes to climb the steps of this first mountain. We were filled with comfort once we arrived at the top of the mountain, as we found a defibrillator and radio hanging on a pole. Whilst none of us required the defibrillator, we did pause for a moment once at the top to regain our breath and energy.
At this point, the hardest part of the walk was over, and we began to walk around the top of the canyon. It took us a further 45mins to get to the middle of the top of the canyon. From this point, we could see the entire canyon, and a long way into the distance; a continuing great expanse of red dirt. The view was absolutely dazzling. We could see people lining the opposite side of the canyon, standing on the edge yelling out ‘Koo-wee’! The echo was incredible!
A few minutes later we rounded a corner and stopped. We stood still and listened. We could hear the silence. It was deafening. Such a surreal feeling.
Fifteen minutes later we were walking down steps into a stunning place called ‘The Garden of Eden’, which was a little paradise hidden within the rocks of the canyon. There was a small river running through the bottom, trees, plants and flowers all over and a little wallaby hopping along. We crossed the bridge over the river, and began the ascent out of the Garden of Eden, back up to the top of the Canyon.
We continued to follow the arrows around the canyon until we began the descent back to the carpark. As we were walking down the last mountain we looked out at the stunning view of the sun setting in the outback.
Once back at the car the four tired bodies climbed into the car to head to the Kings Canyon Resort cabin which they were staying at, for a well-earnt sleep.
If hiking the Canyon doesn’t interest you, here are some suggestions of other things you may like to do or see:
Sleep Well – There are a few properties not far from Kings Canyon where you can rest your head. Kings Creek Station is close by and is an operational camel and cattle station. Kings Canyon Station has camping, glamping and safari cabin options, and you can request dinner under the stars. You can also enjoy a special five-course dinner under the moonlight while staying at Kings Canyon Resort. This ‘Under a Desert Moon’ experience is held four nights a week between April and October. Kings Canyon Resort has standard and spa rooms in the hotel, as well as caravan and campsites in a holiday park.
Fly – Take flight over King Canyon on a scenic helicopter from Kings Creek Station. The flight takes in breathtaking mountain Carmichael Crag, as well as the Garden of Eden and Kathleen Springs. Kings Creek Station also runs quad bike tours over the red sand dunes.
Whether walking, flying, or riding you are sure to have a magnificent time exploring one of Australia’s most popular tourist spots; the Kings Canyon.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the City with a visit to Point Lonsdale. Point Lonsdale is a beautiful seaside town just over 100kms from Melbourne.
Point Lonsdale is one of the Headlands (along with Point Nepean) that frame the Rip or the heads, the only entrance for shipping coming into the port of Melbourne. It is a beautiful place to visit, to stop and have a coffee, for the kids to play at the large playground and a magical place to walk.
Point Lonsdale / Queenscliff now has an amazing walking trail along the beach that shows off the best of the Bellarine Peninsula’s Beaches.
The trail is called ‘the quality of life trail’ it is a walking, jogging, and cycling trail that connects Queenscliff to Point Lonsdale, (or the locals may argue connects Point Lonsdale to Queenscliff.
The local decided that they wanted to encourage locals and tourists alike to enjoy the area, whilst getting fit and healthy and the 5.5km long, largely flat trail was the outcome. The trail is great for people of any fitness level, whether prams, cyclists, joggers or people wanting a more leisurely stroll. The trail is 5.5kms one way or 11kms return.
Every 500 metres there are markers to let you know the distance, there are entrances back up to the road, or down to the beach.
On my recent walk, as I journeyed along snug in my beanie, gloves and warm coat, I watched in awe the amazing men and women climbing into the icy water with nothing more than bathers and a swimming cap to keep them warm. There were many other people braving the cold water on surf and body boards.
If you are lucky you may see some freighters going through the heads, or depending on the time of year you may see Humpbacks and Southern Right whales.
A visit to Ballarat would not be complete without a visit to “The Lake” Lake Wendouree.
Who would have thought that this gorgeous lake a tourist draw card of Ballarat that has over 3,860 ML of water was dry from 2004 until 2010, especially now with the Lake overflowing flooding 90% of the boat sheds dotted around.
Lake Wendouree is a large shallow lake located in Ballarat, it is an artificial lake that was made when the Yuille swamp was dammed back in the 1850s for use as the water supply during the Gold rush.
The name Wendouree (which is also the name of the neighbouring suburb comes from the WS Yuille the initial surveyor of the swamp. When he arrived at the swamp he found a local indigenous women there. Interested about the local name he asked her and she replied “WENDAAREE” and with that the name was recorded, incidentally what she was trying to tell him was to “Go away”.
So the Lake name means “Lake go away”
Now is a great time to go for a walk around the lake with 6k of great walking / jogging / riding track. There are 4 great cafe’s / restaurants dotted around, a kiosk and on the weekends an ice -cream tram.
There is also a historic vintage electric tramway that operates around the botanical gardens side of the lake.
Paddle steamers, Rowing, Canoeing and fishing also make up a large reason that it is a big tourist drawcard in Ballarat.
Situated only an hour and a half from Ballarat is the picturesque Grampians national park, a great spot to stay, or day trip.
The Grampians has a huge variety of walking experiences from short (children friendly) walks to multi day walks.
My favourite family friendly walk is “Venus Baths” a 2.3km round trip.
This is a shady track, that is easy to walk and ends up at a beautiful rock pool “Venus Baths”
It’s a loop with one way you end up crossing a marvellous footbridge and the other follows a track along the creek.
If you love wildflowers then this is a great place to visit, the home of more than a third of Victoria’s wildflower species. Whether you look up to the horizon or down to the wildflowers the views are spectacular.