Great Walks of Tasmania

We rate Tasmania the best hiking destination in Australia.

Click PLAY or see why on YouTube.

That video is a promotion for the Great Walks of Tasmania website, a collective of companies offering guided walks.

It’s easy to hike independently in New Zealand. Tasmania is more challenging. You might want a guide.

For one thing, there are poisonous snakes and other dangers in Tasmania. No poisonous snakes in New Zealand.

related – our Overland Track information page

The wonderful Otter Trail, South Africa

msmap

AT A GLANCE

  • South AfricaTsitsikamma National Park
  • 42km
  • 5 days, 4 nights
  • clean huts, no tent needed
  • permits are difficult to get as only 12 hikers start each day. December and Easter holidays are highest demand.
  • Recommended to book 12 months in advance. (Because folks book so early, it’s often possible to get a last minute cancellation spot.)

Deborah Schäfer and Hugo Vincent posted a lovely trip report on the Arcteryx blog.

They loved it.  But warn us of the dangers crossing the bigger rivers such as the Lottering and the Bloukrans.

Hugo Vincent, South Africa, Otter Trail

On the other hand, we’re advised to bring a bathing suit as there are plenty of fresh water and salt water opportunities en route.

Hugo Vincent, South Africa, Otter Trail

It’s one of our top 10 coastal hiking trails in the world.

Hugo Vincent, South Africa, Otter Trail

If you want to organize it for yourself, check our Otter Trail information page.

Cycle hiking Gabriola Island, B.C.

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

On July 1, 2020 I cycle toured Gabriola Island, the first time I’d been back to the island since I was a kid on family summer vacation.

Gabriola is about 14 kilometres (9 mi) long by 4.2 kilometres (2.6 mi) wide, about the same land mass as Bermuda.

I caught the ferry over from Nanaimo in the early evening.

Next morning, while celebrating Canada Day, I was reminded that descendants of the original inhabitants are still there — the Snuneymuxw, a First Nation of the Coast Salish People.

Sobering.

First stop was the Malaspina Galleries, a sandstone cliff carved by wind and waves. Lovely shoreline, as well.

To navigate I used Cycling the Islands: A Guide to Scenic Routes on the San Juan and Gulf Islands by John Crouch.

And Hiking Trails 2: South-Central Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands by Richard K. Blier.

Gabriola is less developed than I anticipated.  A definite hippy vibe.

I circled the island counter-clockwise, stopping next at Sandwell Provincial Park.

Popped in briefly to Joyce Lockwood Community Park.

There’s a marina and campground at Silva Bay at the far end of the island.

Cycling and hiking temperate rain forest is wonderful when it’s not raining. And the rain held off this day.

My last stop was Drumbeg Provincial Park.

One day was enough to explore Gabriola. All good. The hiking trail infrastructure is excellent for a small island. Paths well marked.

All trails are short and easy.

I recommend Gabriola.

Juan de Fuca Trail, Canada

The West Coast Trail is the best hike in the world. Right?

But we recommend neighbouring Juan de Fuca Marine Trail precisely because it is not the WCT. 🙂

It was closed until June 1, 2020 due to COVID-19.  But is NOW OPEN.

Note: The West Coast Trail may stay closed though the 2020 season. 

AT A GLANCE

  • it’s the West Coast Trail ‘alternative’ that does not cost money nor require a permit
  • coastal hike of 47km (29mi) sharing one of the WCT trailheads – Port Renfrew
  • no reservations needed
  • no quota on number of hikers
  • plenty of bears

Click PLAY or watch an August 2012 hike on YouTube. (2min)

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.  Aug. 2016. Great weather.

Check out out our Juan de Fuca information page.

Flørli stairs – 4444 steps

The Flørli Power Station is a hydroelectric power station located on the shores of Lysefjord in the municipality Forsand in Rogaland, Norway.

Though decommissioned in 1999, you can still climb the wooden stairway with 4,444 steps.  The longest wooden staircase in the world.

Some call this adventure Flørli 4444

There are longer staircases in the world. Highest is the service stairway for the Niesenbahn funicular railway near SpiezSwitzerland, with 11,674 steps. But that one is only open to the public one day a year.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Trans-Catalina Trail, California

As I post the current operation system of Mac computers is called Catalina.

… only 27 miles off the coast of southern California.

Though Catalina is a short 90 minute boat ride away, it feels like another world. There are two small, quaint towns on the island — Avalon and Two Harbors — and the remainder of the island is primarily wilderness managed by the Catalina Island Conservancy.

The 37.2 mile Trans-Catalina Trail traverses the entire island, from Avalon on the eastern tip to Starlight beach at the western end.

Of course, once you get to the end, you’ve still got to hike back to Two Harbors to catch a boat back to the mainland. This adds another nine miles, making the total mileage a bit over 46 miles — perfect for a long weekend backpack getaway. …

SoCal Hiker – Trans-Catalina Trail

West Coast Trail is #1 in the world

UPDATE – About 7500 hikers have permits for the West Coast Trail starting May 1st. But the hike is not being prepped right now — my guess is that it will be closed for all of 2020.

Since the start of this website we’ve ranked the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island our favourite multi-day hike anywhere.

wct_logo_large

Click PLAY or Jeff Pelletier’s 2017 hike on YouTube.

If you’d like to plan to do the WCT yourself, check our information page.

Reservations start in early January for June – September of the same year.

(via Adventure Blog)

documentary – Surviving the Outback

Michael Atkinson places himself in the historic predicament of two stranded German aviators in 1932 to see if the his skills as a survival instructor, pilot and adventurer will allow him to escape to the nearest civilization.

It is a gripping film.

I learned a lot about surviving in the harsh Australian coastal wilderness.

The most remarkable feature of this documentary is its mode of filming. It is not performed by any film crew that follows his journey. It is single-handedly managed by Mike through drones and cameras so it preserves the natural element. The breathtaking pictures of the ocean, varied shades of the waters, flora and fauna of marine sea and the natural cliffs along the coast paint an excellent landscape for the viewers. It manages to take one to an unexplored world …

 Watch the hour long documentary FREE on TubiTV.

Tasmania’s Three Capes Track

Has the Overland Track, Australia’s most famous long-distance walk, just been usurped? Edging along the tops of cliffs that soar more than 300m above the unruly Southern Ocean, the Three Capes Track (threecapestrack.com.au) has quickly assumed the mantle of Australia’s most intriguing bushwalk.

The four-day, 46km track opened to huge expectations at the end of 2015 …
… criticisms that have hounded the track are the cost (at AU$495 per person, it’s more than double the price of the Overland Track) and initially there were no camping facilities for traditional bushwalkers. …

To regulate walker numbers, which have been capped at 48 setting out each day, Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service has established a permit system. Bookings should be made at threecapestrack.com.au/booking.

The walk officially begins at the Port Arthur Historic Site, about a 90-minute drive from the Tasmanian capital of Hobart.

Lonely Planet

People love it.
Cape Pillar Peninsula from the Blade
(Photo courtesy of Stuart Gibson)
3CT Map

HIKE the Dragon’s Back, Hong Kong

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles (2011)

The Dragon’s Back is more than a hike, it’s a “tourist attraction”.

The Dragon’s Back (Traditional Chinese: 龍脊) is a ridge in southeastern Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, between Wan Cham Shan and Shek O Peak. It lies within the Shek O Country Park. In 2004 the Dragon’s Back Trail was selected by TIMEasia as the best urban hiking trail.

See reviews on Trip Adviser.

trail signboard

Despite all that popularity, I loved it.

Who wouldn’t love a ridge walk on a tropical island?

Many start up the Hong Kong tram and hike down to Big Wave Bay, but I followed the longer and more difficult 8.5km route recommended in The Inside Guide to Hikes and Walks in Hong Kong, a free publication from Hong Kong Tourism.

If you get to Hong Kong, the Dragon’s Back is a must hike.

Friends, loved ones and unloved who don’t want to go can wait at the finish, Big Wave Bay Beach.

see more photos from my day hike

related – Hiking the World trip report  (2016)