Every trip is rated for difficulty, ease of access to a trailhead, how busy the destination is likely to be, and the wow factor. These are subjective and based on my own experience.
This refers to hiking / walking trails only. most of the listed trails are well-marked by signs and/or cairns unless otherwise noted. For difficulty of 4 wheel drive roads, see ‘Access’ ratings.
• Generally a flat, possibly paved, trail of short to medium length
•• The trail may be rougher / have some elevation gain
••• Will involve one or more of the following: the use of hands to negotiate obstacles / exposure to drop-offs / steep trail / wading through deep water / route finding / major elevation gain
•••• As above, but a longer, more exhausting trail / very poor trail
Ease of driving to the location (or location trailhead). Many of the higher-rated roads are passable for most of the way with 2WD vehicles. But don't be fooled. A high rating means that there’s at least one spot along the way that deserves its rating. Important: These roads were driven by me between 1996 and 2018. In this part of the world, road conditions can change, not just over years but overnight, and particularly after heavy storms. Some are regularly maintained, others left for users to ‘rebuild’ as they use them. An easy ride to a trailhead may be impassable on the return leg. Plan accordingly and make sure you have enough water and food (and gas) to last you until a road dries out or until you can seek help.
• Paved or other excellent road surface
•• Well-maintained surface suitable for most vehicles
••• Rough in places but suitable for 2WD vehicles if driven with care. High-clearance preferable
•••• Will involve one or more of the following: rough / ledgy / sandy / steep grades. High clearance vehicles only, 4WD advisable
••••• 4WD only. Risk of damage / Being stuck
The ‘wilderness quotient’. Weekends and public holidays will always be busier than weekdays so plan accordingly. Spring and Fall have the largest crowds. Early morning starts will be rewarded! Note: many of my trips were done in mid summer and often I've seen no one on the trails at all.
• You may have the place to yourself
•• Expect to share with a few others
••••• Very crowded – enough to spoil a Kodak moment
This is obviously subjective. My personal favourites are generally away from the crowds, often at the end of a dirt road with a definitive 'reward'.
•••• Put on your shortlist