Here at Back Track Adventures, we’ve been trekking far and wide since our first trek to Annapurna in 1985. There are plenty of awesome treks we’ve done, and just as many we’d love to do. Here’s some inspiration for your next trekking adventure – which one takes your fancy?
The Kokoda Track is well-known amongst Australians and is slowly growing in popularity with visitors from the UK and the US for it’s challenging, yet rewarding nature. This 96km track through dense Papua New Guinea jungle is certainly no easy feat, but incredibly worthwhile. It follows the route taken by the Australian soldiers who fought in PNG in World War II, defending Australia from the Japanese. While not too high in altitude, it’s the humidity that gets you!
Jim says, “The Kokoda Track is not only important to all Australians as a pilgrimage and rite of passage, Kokoda is acknowledged within the tourism industry as arguably the greatest jungle trek currently available.”
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. There are a dozen different routes you can take to reach the top at 5,895 m above sea level, each with differing levels of difficulty and success rates of reaching the top. As you ascend, the weather and environments change dramatically, from mild t-shirt weather, to being completely rugged up with thermals on. You’ll need to pack it all for this trek, but that’s part of the fun.
Ray says, “To stand on the summit of Africa’s highest mountain is a massive achievement, a sublime experience and for most, a once in a lifetime occasion. Following hard yards on the mountain, I love to go on a wildlife safari in some of the great game parks of East Africa like Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.”
What list about trekking would be complete without perhaps the most famous trek in the world – Everest Base Camp. This trek is just as much about the destination as it is the journey. Enjoy the beautiful scenery, watch the sun set and rise over the tallest mountains in the world, pass yaks and mules carrying supplies up and down and interact with the lovely Sherpa people who call this area home. Be humbled by the magnitude of the Himalayas as you ascend what is often called “the steps to Heaven”.
Ray says “I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Everest Base Camp on a few occasions and I’m still awed and humbled by the sheer size and beauty of the mountains. I love the simple pleasure of enjoying the conversation and company of trekking companions when we relax in a comfortable lodge after a challenging day on the trail”.
Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile offers many fantastic walks, but the most famous is the W Trek. Named because of the three valleys it passes over, the W Trek is the perfect way to really get a feel for the Patagonia region. See the famous hanging glacier Francés, the Base of the Towers and Glacier Grey. For those with a good sense of adventure, there are several side-treks available that take you to hidden glaciers and valleys.
Clare says “This is on the top of my hit list. To trek amongst these soaring mountains, icebergs and glaciers all with llama-like guanacos in the background, sounds just perfect! ”
For those interested in dipping their toe in Nepalese trekking, Annapurna is a great introduction into this wonderful area of the world. Annapurna is close to our hearts. It was the destination of our first trek in 1985, and we’re still coming back 35 years later. We don’t know if it’s the forests of rhododendron, the sculpted terraces of rice and millet paddy fields cascading hundreds of metres from high on a ridge to the banks of a raging river, welcoming Hindu villages or hiking among the Himalayan giants, but something about the Annapurna region keeps us coming back.
Ray says “It’s the variety of the Annapurna region that has always impressed me. Trekkers can ramble from low altitude, sub-tropical surroundings, up through alpine moss forests, and way above the tree line to rock, snow and ice-clad alpine passes. There’s never a dull moment.”
The Inca Trail is the famous 43km journey up to the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu. This is a short trek compared to others on this list and can be undertaken by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. However, it is not the only trek leading to Machu Picchu! Other options include the Salcantay Route, the Lares Route and the Vilcabamba Traverse Route. And while only 500 people per day are permitted on the Inca Trail, the other tracks don’t have this limit!
Kylie says, “I love hiking and conquering the Inca Trail and exploring Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and something I’ll never forget.”
The Camino de Santiago is one of the most historic treks in the world. It has been undertaken by religious pilgrims since the discovery of St James’s remains in 812AD. After losing popularity during the Dark Ages and Renaissance, it re-emerged in the 20th century and is now a very popular trek undertaken by over 200,000 each year. While not the most difficult, this trek is great for those who want to experience Spanish culture and food whilst they walk.
Clare says, “I love Spain and this walk is just such a wonderful way to see more of the countryside, the culture, the people and to enjoy all the fabulous regional food. Whether it be as a religious pilgrimage or just the need to get away from it all, this a superb walk.”
Up in the mountains of New Zealand is the Milford Track, perhaps NZ’s most famous walk. Enjoy the scenery of large mountain peaks and wide valley views as you cross suspension bridges along the way. This 53 kilometre track takes you past the Sutherland Falls, the largest waterfall in the country. It is referred to as the “finest walk in the world”, and once you’ve experienced it, you’ll understand why.
Kylie says, “If you’re after a short, challenging trek, this is the one for you. This is also one trek where you might even wish for rain! The rain creates these breath-taking waterfalls that the Milford Track is known for.”
Possibly Australia’s most famous hiking track, the Overland Track is tackled by thousands of people each year. It covers the 65 kms from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, with the potential to add on extra bits here and there as well. This track is not short of scenery, from sharp mountains to alpine plains, and everything in between. The unstable climate adds to the challenge of this track, but with such spectacular views – we think it’s worth it!
Kylie says, “I recommend the Overland Track because of the scenery. It is incredibly diverse, with mountains, forests, waterfalls and great wildlife to look at. It is challenging, but definitely worth it.”
The Coast to Coast goes from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. It encompasses two coasts, three national parks and a very in-depth discovery of Northern England. Enjoy the Lake District that has inspired poets and writers for generations, pass storybook villages with picturesque cottages and enjoy dinner and a drink in the warmly lit pubs every night.
Clare says, “Such a fabulous walk across England. From the Seaside to the Lakes, Mountains and wildness of the moors, it just has it all. Oh, and the best bit is staying in beautiful historic pubs with a 3-course meal and a wee tipple every night!!”