Five of NSW’s Best Short Hikes

July 9, 2020


How good is it to just get away from it all and get that weekly dose of mother nature? Those fortunate enough to live in New South Wales (or be just wandering through), have a whole heap of stunning short hikes available to them.

Not only are they a feast for the eyes, but all the walks we have on our list take less than three hours to complete and won’t require you to break much of a sweat. This makes them perfect for that relaxing post-brekkie Sunday stroll we all love.

Although most of these hikes are relatively cruisy, we still reckon it’s worth investing in some proper hiking kit before you set out.

Even a pair of solid hiking boots can mean the difference between walking on clouds or getting some nasty blisters. Hiking boots will also help prevent your ankle from moving too much, which reduces the likelihood of rolling your ankle out on the track – ouch, not our idea of fun.

Once you’ve got the gear, it’s time to check out some of NSW’s best short hikes!

Crystal Shower Falls Walk

Location: Dorrigo National Park

Grade: 2 (Generally flat with a few gentle hill sections or steps, no experience required)

Distance: 3.5km return

Suggested time: 1 hour if you’re quick, 2 hours if you plan on sightseeing along the way

Closest major city or town: Coffs Harbour

Parking: Available at The Glade Picnic Area

Starting at The Glade Picnic Area, this short walk should be on any waterfall-lovers bucket list. The Crystal Shower Falls Walk takes you through a small section of rainforest to a suspension bridge where you can view the waterfall in all its glory.

Now we don’t want to spoil the whole thing, but the side path connecting to bridge leads to a pretty spectacular view of the waterfall from behind that you have gotta see for yourself.

The path is fully paved and you’ll be treated to a huge selection of birdlife, insects and rainforest flora as you stroll along. If you’re not out of puff yet, you can rejoin the Wonga Walk, a 6.6km loop further through the rainforest, on your way back.

A map of the tracks can also be grabbed at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, where you can also leave a small donation to help with the upkeep of the area.


The Big Hole Walking Track

Location: Deua National Park

Grade: 4 (A few small sections with a mandatory river crossing chucked in)

Distance: 3.5km return

Suggested time: 2 to 3 hours

Closest major city or town: Moruya

Parking: Available at Berlang campground nearby

You may be wondering, ‘what’s so great about some big hole in the ground’? Well this isn’t any old ‘hole in the ground’. The aptly named Big Hole is a 400 million year old limestone chasm which is over 50 metres wide and 100 metres deep at its lowest point. Sounds pretty special right?

Well there is a catch to it. On your journey to see The Big Hole, you’ll be faced with one unmovable adversary, the Shoalhaven River. As long as you don’t mind getting your feet wet or bringing a towel, you’ll have no problem tackling it.

A word of warning though, the river bed can be a little slippery, so best bring a pair of grippy waterproof hiking boots and possibly a walking pole to help you across. Many bushwalkers are scared off by the water crossing, making this hike all the more special when you reach The Big Hole.


Three Sisters Walk

Location: Echo Point

Grade: 1 (Majority flat, very small slopes on the track, no experience required)

Distance: 1km return

Suggested time: 30 mins return, but you may stay longer to take in the sights

Closest major city or town: Katoomba

Parking: Available around Echo Point township, however, most parking requires payment during the daytime.

Are you after one of the most breathtaking views in the Blue Mountains? Well, the Three Sisters Walk is exactly what you’re after. Your buddies back home will be super jealous with the snaps you’ll get from here. We’d say they’re probably even laptop-wallpaper-worthy.

You’ll start the Three Sisters Walk at the Echo Point Visitor Centre, where you can grab a map of the area and learn more about its history. From there, head half a kilometre down the path to the first viewing platform, Oreades Lookout. Here you’ll be able to update your Facebook display picture with an epic view for your backdrop.

If you want an even better view, you can continue up a fairly steep set of stairs to the Lady Game Lookout. If that’s still not enough, you can continue up the Giants Stairways (another steep set of stairs) to Honeymoon Bridge, which connects across to the first of the Three Sisters.

But in recent years, The Three Sisters walk and the township of Echo Point has become increasingly touristy. ‘Peak hour’ for the walk is typically between 9am and 5pm, where you’ll find busloads of tourists crowding the lookouts.

Our suggestion? Head down there around dusk and dawn for a much quieter experience and to avoid the crowds. If you have to be there during the day and hate crowds, the nearby Leura Cascades Loop (starting from the Leura Cascades Picnic Area), offers similar views without the same hordes of people.


Princes Rock Walking Track

Location: Blue Mountains National Park

Grade: 3 (some hilly sections)

Distance: 1.8km return

Suggested time: 1 hour

Closest major city or town: Wentworth Falls

Parking: Available at Wentworth Falls picnic area

Just down the road from The Three Sisters, Princes Rock Walking Track has been navigated by sightseers since the 1890s. It provides uncompromised views over the Wentworth Falls and Kings Tablelands.

If you’re into photography, the lookout is the perfect place to practice your panorama skills. Sunrise and sunset also provide some great opportunities to play with the natural light and shadows across the valley.

This walk is a great way to follow up the Three Sisters Walk, as it’s not too strenuous, and gives you a different perspective of the Blue Mountains.


Tomaree Head Summit Walk

Location: Shoal Bay

Grade: 5 (Very steep for the majority of the track, recommended for experienced hikers)

Distance: 2km return

Suggested time: 2 hours return, but you may stay longer to take in the sights or catch your breath

Closest major city or town: Nelson Bay

Parking: Available at either lower or upper Zenith Beach car park.

Tomaree Head Summit Walk isn’t so much a walk, as it is a climb. You’ll hear the words, ‘invigorating’, ‘bloody tiring’ and ‘spectacular’ thrown around when people talk about this track, and with good reason.

Although it’s only a two-kilometre round trip, the whole thing is very steep, with a mixture of stairs, steps and tough sloping path. This track is not for the unfit or faint-hearted.

How are you rewarded for your efforts? Amazing views of the Port Stephens area, Nelson Bay and nearby Boondelbah and Shark Islands. The summit also features picnic tables and chairs so you can enjoy a meal with an unforgettable view before you head back down.

We’d also suggest taking a pair of binoculars with you if want to fully enjoy the sites. If you’re doing the climb in winter, be sure to keep your eyes out for humpback whales migrating along the coastline.

If you’re keen on Australia’s military history, you can also take a two-hour detour down the Fort Tomaree Walk (which is far easier than the summit walk), to check out some of Australia’s WWII coastal gun emplacements.

Article by Camper Mate 


Back to Home