Best walking holidays to see the sights and stretch your legs

Lace up your boots and have your camera at the ready.

If you find yourself complaining that you “can’t workout” because you either don’t have the right equipment or your local gym is just too expensive to sign up to, well you obviously haven’t heard of walking.

In fact, a recent study has shown that those who take a regular stroll have a 35 per cent lower risk in developing respiratory disease, a 20 per cent less risk of cardiovascular disease, and a nine per cent less risk of cancer mortality.

Here, we’ve gathered the most scenic trails around Australia, that will not only keep you fit and happy, but will also get you those stunning shots for your ‘gram grid.

Scenic Rim Trail, QLD

Drive an hour south of Brisbane to get to the start of the Scenic Rim Trail, a 33km playground of volcanic plateaus, towering peaks and native bushland.

Although it takes just four days to complete, the tricky ascents up Mount Mitchell and Spicers Peak will test your quads, but the views are so worth it.

Where to start: Book a guided tour with Spicers Retreats; prices start from $2,190 per person.

For something different: Try the eight-day Fraser Island Great Walk, or meander through the many trails of Carnarvon Gorge located in Carnarvon National Park.

Larapinta Trail, NT

Give the four-wheel drive tour a miss and follow the spine of the West MacDonnell Ranges a belt of ochre-stained mountains, fresh water gorges and tangerine-coloured chasms – on your own two feet. The 223km track begins at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station and ends once you summit the soaring Mount Sonder, so be sure to pack your walking poles as well as your camera.

Where to start: Do a short three-day tour or walk the entire 16-day trail with Trek Larapinta. Prices start from $1,395 per person.

For something different: If you only have a few days, drive from Darwin to Litchfield National Park and do the two-day Tabletop Track from Wangi Falls to Walker Creek.

Six Foot Walking Track, NSW

Located deep in Sydney’s Blue Mountains, this 44km route takes you through national parks, across the Bowtells Swing Bridge (below) and drops you inside spectacular Jenolan Caves, which were formed more than 340 million years ago.

Where to start: Follow your map or join a three-day guided “pack-free” walk with Life’s an Adventure; prices start from $1099 per person.

For something different: Have a picnic on Careys Peak Walking Track in Barrington Tops National Park, or explore the escarpments of the Royal National Park south of Sydney with the 26km Coast Track.

Great Ocean Walk, VIC

One of Australia’s premier walking tracks, the Great Ocean Walk leads you on a 100km tour of the rugged Victorian coastline. Beginning in Apollo Bay and passing through Cape Otway, it offers unhindered views of the Twelve Apostles at the end of the seven-day trail.

Where to start: Walk end-to-end with a guide from Inspiration Outdoors; prices start from $2,355 per person.

For something different: Get your fill of the Victorian Alps on the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing. It may not have coastal vistas, but the dramatic ridgelines, peaks and riverside valleys are definitely sights worth walking for.

Canberra Centenary Trail, ACT

Designed for walkers of all abilities, this 145km track around Canberra rarely strays from a 10 per cent gradient, which means you can go ahead and bring the kids. Once you leave the urban paths, you’ll spend seven days wandering over grassy plains and down forest trails.

Where to start: Download your free map from environment.act.gov.au

For something different: Pull your boots on early and watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Ainslie. Only 4.5km long, the trail’s tough enough to work your lungs but gentle enough that the whole family can join in.

Cape to Cape Track, WA

Walk your way from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin and enjoy a mix of limestone cliffs, eucalypt forests and soft-sand beaches with both easy paths and tough scrambles. Conquering all 135km will require some training, but since there’s ample vehicle access, you don’t have to do it all.

Where to start: Explore the southwest coastline with Australian Walking Holidays; prices start from $2,300 per person for an eight-day hike.

For something different: Flex your muscles on the steep but out-of-this-world 28km Stirling Ridge Walk, or take a gentler (but longer) wander through the Perth Hills on the 75km Kep Track.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, SA

Go off the grid with a five-day trek along the southern end of Kangaroo Island. Packed with Aussie wildlife (echidnas, wallabies and, yes, kangaroos), the recently opened 61km trail leads you past secluded beaches and the Remarkable Rocks, which have been sculpted by more than 500 million years of waves and wind.

Where to start: Secure a tent with Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, from $161 per person. Or go with Trek Tours Australia; prices start from $2,295 for a five-day hike.

For something different: Explore the wetlands of Australia’s longest river on foot, as well as via a houseboat, with the four-day Murray River Walk. Or follow the sea on one of the many trails on the 500km Walk the Yorke coastal track.

Overland Track, TAS

Then set your sights on the Overland Track. Cutting through 65km of Tassie wilderness (and providing you with front-row views of Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair and Du Cane Gap), this is one of Australia’s most remote (and popular) alpine tracks, so make sure you train before you go!

Where to start: Keep things hassle-free on a group tour with Tasmanian Expeditions; prices start from $2,195 for a six-day hike.

For something different: If you’re not quite ready for the Overland Track but still keen to see Tassie’s dramatic landscapes, the Three Capes Walk is a great compromise thanks to its timber walkways and cosy cabins. It’s very manageable for children, too, with a guidebook introducing stories along the way.

Day breaks

Don’t have time for an extended stay? Keep your trip short and sweet with a breezy day walk.

Kings Canyon Rim Walk, NT

Visit the Garden of Eden, Priscilla’s Crack and the sandstone marvels of the Lost City in just four hours.

Thredbo to Mount Kosciuszko, NSW

Add this 13km walk to your itinerary and reach the summit of Australia’s highest peak outside of snow season.

Wineglass Bay/Hazards Beach circuit, TAS

Work up a sweat on a five-hour trek around Wineglass Bay, then cool off with a dip in the turquoise waters.

World-class walks

Turn your overseas holiday into an active escape with these epic international trails that will enrich the memory bank.

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, US

Experience the geological wonder of the Grand Canyon with a 39km hike. Not for the faint-hearted, this trek will test your fitness levels but reward you with views of plunging cliffs and the twisting river.

How long? Four days

For more info: Visit fsguides.com

Milford Track, New Zealand

With views of sweeping valleys, glacial lakes, alpine panoramas and the tallest waterfall in New Zealand, this 54km track has it all and has been described as “the finest walk in the world”.

How long? Five days

For more info: Visit ultimatehikes.co.nz