Top Ten Walks
If you've ever looked through Lonely Planet's book catalogue, you'll have gotten the strong impression that there are thousands upon thousands of wonderful places to visit—and that just within one state, let alone country or continent!
However, over time, we at Trek & Travel have compiled a list of what we like to call the "Top 10 World Walks". Obviously, being limited to 10 has its drawbacks (there were definitly some fierce arguments waged!) but we're all agreed that these are spectacular, beautiful and awe-inspiring places to visit. Not only that, but if you decide you want to go, we're in a perfect position to give you pointers as we've been on these particular walks multiple times ourselves!
Check them out and see what you think. In no particular order, they are:
The route to Everest Base Camp is probably the most famous mountain trek in the world. Every spring and autumn the trail fills with awestruck walkers winding their way through friendly Sherpa villages. Porters and yaks ferrying equipment look minute in comparison to the towering heights of Ama Dablam, Kangtega and Tawoche. Revel in the sublime views around the the famous Tengboche monastery. Trips are usually best planned between April-May and October-November to avoid the monsoon or extreme cold.
The Milford Track is 53.5 kilometres in the heart of spectacular Fiordland National Park which is part of the Te-Wahipoumanu--South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The track starts at the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes in Milford Sound. Crystal clear water, soaring mountains, and the richly hued forests to wander through make an indelible impression and memory. Te Anau, the nearest township, has a full range of accommodation, shopping and hire services. Generally travelled between November and April.
Walking the pilgrim pathway to Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of St James the Apostle are said to be buried, is one of the oldest and most interesting journeys in Europe. The idea of pilgrimage touches a chord in many of us and pilgrims on the road to Compostela are as taken with the journey as with the destination. These days, pilgrimage is an exciting and challenging opportunity to leave the bustle of our usual lifestyle behind and touch something ancient and profound. The mildest temperatures are found between September and October.
Our pick of this country’s many classic walks is Tasmania’s Overland Track, for its iconic status and accessibility. Usually tackled in six days from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair, but with great options for side trips including the Labyrinth and Walls of Jerusalem National Park, the hike is well-equipped with huts and camping at regular intervals. Peak season is November to April, but for a hike with a twist try the winter Overland experience—a snowy challenge for even the most hardened walker, and at a considerably better price!
The Kokoda Track is one of the many walking tracks in Papua New Guinea that existed long before the Europeans arrived. It was used for trade and cultural interaction between tribes and is still used for these purposes today. However, it came to fame and prominence during World War II as the route that many a wounded and worn Allied soldier was led or even carried over by the "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels", the native Papuans. Starting in the north of the country at a village called Kokoda, it winds up and down over the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges and finishes in the South at Owen's Corner. Many Australians choose to hike between March and April for evocative, commemorative reasons (coinciding with ANZAC day); but those less inclined towards the damp will choose to go between July and September to hit the driest weather.
Kilimanjaro, which translates as “shining mountain” in Swahili, is the highest mountain in Africa at 5895 meters. Although it has never erupted in recorded history, Kilimanjaro is still considered an active volcano. Although located near the equator in Tanzania, the summit is nonetheless covered in snow and ice year round. First climbed in 1887, it is now an increasingly popular destination—both for the magnificent views from the top as for the multitude of glorious savannahs and animal life around it. Plan to go from June to September to enjoy dryer weather.
The Larapinta Trail is one of Australia's best long walks due to its spectacular scenery, rich desert colours, amazing flora and fauna, and wild remoteness. The track visits major natural features like Simpson’s Gap, Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge as well as many other stunning natural features along the range. The area abounds with spinifex and dry rocky ridges, but far fromis far from being barren. Recommended travel is between June and August due to the cooler temperatures.
Recently voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Macchu Picchu should be on everyone’s bucket list, and the best way to experience its majesty is after a breath-taking 40km trek. Nothing can compare to the first sight of the ruined Incan city from the sun gate, flooded by the breaking dawn. Normally tackled as a four-day event, the trail is open all year round (except February) so the all types of weather must be taken into account. The well-deserved train ride down the Urubamba Valley from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco is a wonderful way to finish your trip.
One of the quintessential strolls through the English countryside, the Coast to Coast runs over 200 miles from St. Bees on the west coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on the east. It is traditional to dip ones toes in the Irish Sea and the North Sea, and in between admire the rugged scenery of three areas of outstanding natural beauty: the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the North York Moors National Park and of course the Lake District National Park. Summer, when it shows up, is the best time to walk but rain is to be expected at any time.
Patagonia—the very word conjures up images of windswept steppes, crashing glaciers and curmudgeonly llamas. By far the most famous hike in this barren wilderness is Chile’s Torres del Paine, seen as a four-day ‘W’ or eight-day circuit around the picturesque granite spires (the ‘torres’ or towers) and the crystal blue glacial lakes they feed. The vision of dawn sunlight hitting the peaks, kaleidoscoping through orange to pink to fiery red is the highlight of the trip. December to March is your best bet for good weather, and even then the nights get bitterly cold.
And if these ten have whet your appetite, get a load of our new, widescreen, director's cut Top 20 Walking Journeys for even more inspiration. Never Stop Trekking!