Health & Fitness

The best hikes in Australia

The (free) workout every celeb loves.

By: Lauren Smelcher

If there’s one thing we know about celebs, it’s that they love coconut water. And superfoods. And reading mean tweets about themselves for LOLs. OK, so we know a lot. But one thing we know that’s actually relevant to this story is that they love a good hike. Vanessa Hudgens, Lea Michele and Taylor Swift are all big fans and it’s not hard to see why.

“Hiking is one of those exercises that doubles as meditation,” says health coach, personal trainer and director of Fitness in the City, Lee Sutherland. “You’re outdoors – great for your vitamin D levels – you’re surrounded by nature, and you’re getting a cardio workout. There’s a lot to love.”

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One of the other main benefits is super-strong bones, adds Sutherland.

“A lot of people don’t ever give their bones a second thought,” she says. “But we really need to take proper care of them or, over time, they’ll lose density, which can then lead to problems like osteoporosis. Hiking involves unstable surfaces, making it a great weight-bearing exercise that helps strengthen bones.”

It also tones your glutes and quads, gets your heart racing and is great for your core. So, what are you waiting for?

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Difficulty scale:

Easy... You can drink a coffee and probs hold a conversation at the same time.
Medium... If you can get through a spin class, you can do this.
Difficult... For those who know that mountains aren’t just terrifying characters from Game of Thrones.

NSW:

Manly to Spit Bridge Walk
How long? 10km.
How hard? Easy.
What’s in it for me? Gorgeous views of Sydney Harbour and the chance to take a dip at one of the beaches along the way.

Norah Head *How long?* 2.2 km. *How hard?* Medium.   *What’s in it for me?* It’s got an incline that stretches for around 65m for the athletically-minded, plus beautiful views. Oh, and a lighthouse. **Victoria:**

Yarra River Trail
How long? 35km. Which, obviously, can be broken into smaller treks (the pros
like starting at Studley Park Boathouse).
How hard? Easy.
What’s in it for me? Glimpses of the city skyline and a relatively flat, wide trail.

Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk
How long? 7km (part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park).
How hard? Medium.
What’s in it for me? Wildlife! If animals are your thing, you’ll see ’em here.

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Eagle View Walk Trail
How long? 15km.
How hard? Easy.
What’s in it for me? In spring, the wildflowers are in bloom – and they’re pretty spectacular.

Lion’s Lookout Trail *How long?* 4km. *How hard?* Difficult.  *What’s in it for me?* Panoramas of Perth – and the knowledge that you did a bloody good job. **South Australia:**

First Falls Valley Hike
How long? 1.6km.
How hard? Easy.
What’s in it for me? A waterfall! (It’s active in autumn and winter, mostly.)

Father Rogalski Loop *How long?* 10km. *How hard?* Medium.  *What’s in it for me?* Wine! Part of the Clare Valley Riesling Trail, this loop will take you past three wineries. Because staying hydrated is important. **Queensland:**

Artful Nature
How long? 5km.
How hard? Easy.
What’s in it for me? Awesome views of Brisbane, with inspiring sculptures along the way. (Also, coffee.)

Noosa National Park Coastal Track
How long? 5.4km.
How hard? Medium.
What’s in it for me? The chance to cool off at pretty much any point along the way. Plus, as a bonus, you might spot a dolphin or humpback whale!

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Kings Canyon Rim Walk *How long?* 6km. *How hard?* Difficult.  *What’s in it for me?* The Garden of Eden. Yes, quite literally – there’s a breathtaking breathing spot in the middle of the hike that makes all the effort worthwhile. **Tasmania:**

Organ Pipes Walk
How long? 3.7km one way.
How hard? Medium.
What’s in it for me? Fab views of Hobart, plus a closer look at the impressive Organ Pipes (fluted columns on the side of Mt Wellington).

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