Our hotly debated list of the world's 6 best treks

1 February 2016

Our hotly debated list of the world's 6 best treks

Hanging out in our rooftop Bintang cabana bar at My Adventure Travel (as we do), we recently found ourselves debating about what the best trek in the world was. And we just couldn't agree.

We back and forth-ed ideas for a while. Finally, we managed to kinda agree on the best group of treks – our collective top six.  It's a selection of walks combining the best hard-core treks and pleasant strolls – offering vast history, fascinating culture and remote wilderness.

This handful of treks together provide a snapshot of the world's greatest trekking experiences. So here's our six best treks in the world. You.need.to.do.them.all.


1. Everest Base Camp, Nepal

This trek is not at the top of the list by accident. The world's highest mountain deserves some respect. The trek to the mountaineering Base Camp at Mt Everest is, without doubt, one of the world's classic trekking experiences. Simply being in the spectacular Himalayan mountain range ranks up there on the global awesome-ness scale.

Walk between remote mountain villages – places where roads do not go. Learn about the Sherpa way of life, absorb local mountaineering history, trek across high passes and along remote valleys. Then finally arrive at the base of the world's highest mountain – destinations don't get much grander. It is the complete trekking experience: hard physical work, spectacular scenery, beautiful cultural interactions. It's absolutely world class.

2. The Inca Trail, Peru

The Incan people were pretty good at stone work. And pretty committed to it, too. Right along the four-day Inca Trail trek, you will walk along stone pathways, up stone stairways, through stone tunnels, past stone buildings and through the remains of stone settlements. And then, on the fourth day, you'll arrive at the biggest, stoniest wonderland of all – the ancient Incan stronghold of Machu Picchu. A city of stone, perched on the peak of a spectacular mountain in the middle of nowhere.

This trek makes the list not just for the abundance of glorious stone ruins. The walking is challenging and the scenery in the Peruvian Andes is spectacular.  You'll walk through cloud forests, alpine tundra and butterfly-filled jungles. You'll cross high passes, wander past alpine lakes and wind along trails with stunning views of snow-capped mountains. It is altogether undisputedly brilliant.

3. The Cinque Terre, Italy

Italy and walking. Two of the better things in the world, combined in the Cinque Terre. 'Cinque Terre' means 'five lands', referring to five old fishing towns that dot the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. This place is filter-free-Insta paradise – colourful houses cling to the cliff sides and local streets descend to pretty beaches and fishing docks. Cars are not permitted in the villages, so the old world charm dial is turned up sky high.

A walking trail connects the five towns, traversing the rocky cliffs, winding through overgrown olive terraces, climbing up over headlands and descending into the gorgeous villages. Stroll to the next town for some handmade pasta with locally-caught seafood and a glass of locally-made vino, then stretch your legs and head on to the next town. It's a highly-civilised version of trekking, with charm and beauty by the bucketload.

4. Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Trekking to the summit of a mountain offers you an unsurpassed feeling of achievement. And when that mountain is the highest mountain in Africa, you can double-tick the achievement box.

Mt Kilimanjaro sits alone on the African plains – it's not really part of a mountain range – so, from the outset you can see where you're headed. Walking up the slopes, you'll trek through rainforest, then alpine meadows, then across exposed rocky ridges and ravines, to the final barren ascent on mountain moonscape. Climb to the summit in time to watch the sun rise over the mountain's crater and the broad Serengeti plains. It's totally maxing out the combo of African experience and physical achievement. This mountain is a peak-baggers dream. We don't promise that you wont vomit from exhaustion – but if that sounds kind of appealing, this could be the trek for you.

5. Camino de Santiago, Spain

Back in the day (that's the Middle Ages for the historically finicky), determined pilgrims journeyed across northern Spain to visit the remains of St James at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. And pilgrims have not stopped walking what is known as the Camino de Santiago ever since.

There are a few variations of the pilgrimage trail which winds its way for up to 800 kilometres across the beautiful Spanish countryside. The seriously committed can walk the whole trail over a few months. But for those of us expected to attend a job more often than once every six months, dipping your toe into the Camino trail might be more realistic. Walk between quaint villages, explore monasteries and vineyards and end your journey in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela to explore the stunning cathedral. And you don't have to sacrifice like a pilgrim along the way – put your feet up at the end of the day's hike, eat tapas, drink Rioja and be merry.

6. The Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea

Ninety-six kilometres of single-file foot track through the rugged landscapes of Papua New Guinea. The Kokoda Track is a pretty brutal trek. It can be cold, wet and muddy. It can be humid and sticky. But it can also be peaceful, beautiful and humbling. It's a journey imbued with meaning. The physical and emotional extremes are all part of the Kokoda experience.

The trail was the site of a series of battles between Japanese and Allied forces in World War II. The trek takes you through local villages, across battlefields, over high passes and past war memorials. Walking the trail, you will confront the strange nature of war; of why such bloody battles were fought in such a remote and hostile location. A monument on the trail is dedicated to ‘Courage, Sacrifice, Mateship and Endurance' – eloquently summarising why this trail has such a firm hold on the Australian psyche.

So, there you have it. Our six best treks. Now, lace up your boots and get trekking. And once you're done with these six hikes, talk to us at My Adventure Travel and we'll give our next list!