BEST ONE-DAY MOUNTAIN CLIMBS IN AUSTRALIA
Climbing a mountain is the ultimate feat of human endeavor and conjures feelings of conquering and achievement in a way that few other outdoor pursuits can. It is an emotional rollercoaster, from anxiety and excitement, to despair and hopelessness, to eventual euphoria at reaching the summit. Here are my favourite one-day mountain climbs in Australia to get the heart pounding and adrenaline flowing.
MOUNT NGUNGUN, QUEENSLAND
I climbed Mount Ngungun 3 years ago on a trip to the Sunshine Coast and the Glass House Mountains National Park. The climb starts in a forest of lush vegetation before ascending past tucked-away caves, natural rock stairs and breathtaking views over Mount Tibrogargan, Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah. The whole track is around 2.8 km, making it accessible for children and beginner climbers.
MOUNT WILLIAM, VICTORIA
We visited Mount William, the highest point in the Grampians National Park, for the Labour Day weekend in March. It was quite steep, but the route was well signposted and the views over the Grampians were spectacular. The climb is 1,167 metres and at only 3.6 km, the round-trip can be comfortably completed in a day. It is a comfortable climb for all the family.
WALSHS PYRAMID, QUEENSLAND
In the heart of Wooroonooran National Park, Walshs Pyramid is a 6km return walk taking in the Wet Tropics, surrounding mountains and sugarcane fields. At 5-6 hours, this walk is more challenging and I undertook the climb with a mate, who absolutely put me to shame. He raced up the mountain in just over an hour and 40 minutes. Leaving me catching my breath far behind. The peak is worth the trouble and makes a great day out from Cairns.
PIGEON HOUSE MOUNTAIN, NEW SOUTH WALES
The 5km return walk of Pigeon House Mountain reaches a climax of scrambling up a sequence of ladders to the summit, which delivers awe-inspiring views over the cliffs and leafy greenery covering the New South Wales countryside.
I, rather ambitiously, took Pigeon House Mountain on with my 5-year-old son. He gave it a good go and we got there with a few piggybacks, and some time spent on my shoulders (my poor back). We braved the annoying bugs and the steep ladders and staircases which my son thought would take us to “heaven”. I realised he wasn’t far off once we reached the top amid glorious sunshine and sat looking at the view, munching on some snacks.
CRADLE MOUNTAIN, TASMANIA
Calmer by Tasmanian standards, Cradle Mountain still represents a challenge. 6-8 hours of solid walking is not a walk in the park. We took the caravan over to Tasmania 8 years ago and took the shuttle to Dove Lake. On the first day, the weather beat us and we had to turn back after just 45 minutes of walking. The second day saw clearer skies predicted and we set off just before sunrise. We got to see the sun come up as we reached views over Dove Lake. The final stretch over the boulder fields is a little hairy. I would recommend packing light. The 20kg backpack on my back did me no favours.
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