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Best time to visit New South Wales

Bicentennial National Trail

Thousands of miles winding through the wildest corridor along Australia's east coast was once passable by horse riders only


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Australia's national trail runs through 18 national parks and over 50 state forests, mountains, grazing fields, rivers, waterfalls, and countless gorgeous wilderness areas. The trail of 3,312 mi (5,330 km) stretches all along Australia's east coast from Cooktown in Queensland, across New South Wales, to Healesville in Victoria, or reverse. The lengthy route is divided into 12 more or less similar passages ranging from 250 to 500 mi (400 to 500 km) in length. The major markers on the route map include Gunnawarra, Collinsville, Kabra, Biggenden, Blackbutt, Killarney, Cullendore, Ebor, Barrington Tops, Jenolan Caves, Mt Kosciuszko, and Omeo.

Southbound route, Cooktown to Healesville (best time: April–November)

If you start your journey in Cooktown, the season is autumn through winter into spring. The best time to start would be right after the end of the rainy season, that's in April. It's also essential that you're south of Townsville by the end of September. To complete a thru-hike you'll need from six to seven months, so you have enough time to do it as the season is extended to November.

Northbound route, Healesville to Cooktown (best time: September–May)

Though initially the trail was assumed to be crossed from north to south, today lots of hikers also choose to do the northbound route. The season varies. If you start from the south, the best time would be vice versa: spring through summer and into autumn—September to May. Just take into account possible danger of summer fires, particularly try to avoid hiking Queensland part in the warmest time of year, and also keep in mind that alpine areas are closed with the arrival of winter.

Bicentennial National Trail has another and, in fact, the original name—National Horse Trail. The trail was first designed for horse riders, and only later adjusted for walkers and cyclists. The first known horse ride dates back to 1972. A few years later, the trail was improved and renamed in 1988 for the celebration of Australia's Bicentenary, which was the commemoration of 1788's First Fleet of British convict ships arrival at Sydney.

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