Backpacking in Australia: Tips & Trails

Backpacking in Australia: A close-up of an ultralight backpacker's hand showcasing the beauty of the Australian landscape

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Backpacking in Australia is a must-have experience for everyone. The country offers a diverse range of landscapes, from rugged coastlines to vibrant rainforests, all teeming with unique wildlife.

This post is your gateway to the world of ultralight backpacking in Australia, offering indispensable information for your upcoming adventure.

Additionally, we’ll spotlight the top 5 trails in two distinct categories: day hikes spanning fewer than 30 miles and multi-day trips with resupply opportunities at least every two days.

Key Tips for Backpacking in Australia

  • What to expect: With an extensive selection of over 3,200 trails, you can explore various environments, including lush rainforests and arid deserts.
  • Essential gear: It’s crucial to be well-prepared for varying weather conditions and, depending on the region, to carry sufficient water due to arid landscapes. In our experience, carrying a first aid kit and a insect head net is essential.
  • Wildlife: While there are deadly snakes, they pose minimal danger if you avoid tall grass. Spiders in some areas can be a problem, but they’re avoidable. Saltwater crocodiles are a big risk in the Top End and parts of Queensland and Western Australia, so stay away from water and heed warnings. Cassowaries, large birds, in Far North Queensland can also be dangerous if provoked, but encounters are rare.
  • Wild camping: Wild camping is generally not officially permitted in Australia, but it’s tolerated in certain regions. When embarking on multi-day hikes, it’s advisable to plan for camping by seeking out established campgrounds, potentially requiring reservations and fees. If you’re determined to go wild camping, don’t forget to take a look at our post on stealth camping.
  • Best times to go: The best times for backpacking in Australia generally fall during the southern hemisphere’s spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). In the northern parts, such as Queensland and the Northern Territory, where it can get quite hot and humid, the cooler months from April to September are often preferred for backpacking. In the southern parts, like Victoria and New South Wales, spring and autumn provide pleasant temperatures for backpacking.

Top 5 Day Hikes (Under 30 Miles)

Check out these awesome day hikes that are perfect for getting the most out of your ultralight gear:

  1. Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach – TAS (7.2 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  2. Main Range Walk – NSW (14.6 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  3. Enoggera Reservoir Circuit – QLD (6.8 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  4. Coomera Circuit Walk – QLD (10 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  5. Kitty’s Gorge – WA (10.3 miles).
    See on AllTrails.

Top 5 Multi-Day Trips

Top multi-day trips in Australia featuring resupply opportunities every two days or sooner:

  1. Overland Track – TAS (48.8 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  2. Cape to Cape Track – WA (78.6 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  3. Great Ocean Walk – VIC (60.3 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  4. Larapinta Trail – NT (138.1 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  5. Great North Walk – NSW (168 miles).
    See on AllTrails.

Annual Weather Averages

Keep in mind that Australia is a vast country with diverse climates, so the optimal time can vary based on the specific region you plan to explore:

  • Summer (December to February): Expect temperatures ranging from 70 to 100°F (21 to 38°C), with some northern areas experiencing higher humidity.
  • Autumn (March to May): Temperatures typically range from 50 to 80°F (10 to 27°C), offering milder and comfortable conditions for backpacking.
  • Winter (June to August): Winter brings temperatures ranging from 40 to 70°F (4 to 21°C) in the southern parts, while northern areas experience a dry season.
  • Spring (September to November): Spring sees temperatures gradually increasing, ranging from 50 to 80°F (10 to 27°C), making it a pleasant time for backpacking.

Before finalizing your gear choices, examine the historical yearly weather statistics for Australia:

High °F848482797572687275798284
Low °F687066635752485054596468
Rainy days1314151110877791011
High °F959390817266647384869195
Low °F727063554641394852596468
Rainy days664344333689
Note: These tables are approximate; weather can change with altitude.


Can I have a campfire while backpacking in Australia?

While backpacking in Australia, having a campfire requires extra planning due to wildfire risk. Fires are only permitted in dedicated fire pits at designated campgrounds, and never during total fire ban periods typically spanning summer and fall. Use only dead fallen wood and fully contain the fire. Fully extinguish all embers, ashes, and sticks using water until items are cold to the touch before departing the site. Bushfires pose a major threat, so adhere closely to fire safety precautions year-round.

What are some safety tips for backpacking in Australia?

When backpacking in Australia, research trails and carry maps to avoid getting lost in remote areas. Tell someone your planned route and check in regularly. Wear sun protection and carry plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Swim only in patrolled areas to avoid rip currents and marine life. Shake out shoes and clothing to prevent spider or snake bites. Only swim where signs permit as crocodiles inhabit northern rivers and estuaries. Exercise caution near cliff edges and on rugged trails. Prepare for quickly changing weather. Following basic precautions will allow you to safely enjoy Australia’s scenic backcountry.

How to deal with wildlife encounters while backpacking in Australia?

When hiking in Australia, be alert and make noise to avoid surprising wildlife. Give snakes, spiders, and other dangerous animals a wide berth. Do not try to touch or feed wild animals. Carry insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites that may carry disease. Wear closed shoes and long pants to prevent bites and stings. If confronted by aggressive wildlife, back away slowly and calmly without sudden movements. Seek medical attention promptly for any bites or stings. Exercising caution and respecting wildlife habitat is the best way to avoid dangerous encounters while enjoying Australia’s natural beauty.

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