grading your hikes trail hiking australia

In March 2011 the Council of Bushwalking Australia endorsed the Australian Walking Track Grading System, a voluntary walking track standard.

The Australian Walking Track Grading System is a nationally consistent system to grade the level of difficulty of the track walking experience and then to clearly communicate that information to walkers.


The grades are

AWT Grade 1

No bush walking experience required. Flat even surface with no steps or steep sections. Suitable for wheelchair users who have someone to assist them. Walks no greater than 5km.

AWT Grade 2

No bush walking experience required. The track is a hardened or compacted surface and may have a gentle hill section or sections and occasional steps. Walks no greater than 10km.

AWT Grade 3

Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bush walking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.

AWT Grade 4

Bush walking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.

AWT Grade 5

Very experienced bush walkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked. Walks may be more than 20km.

The grading system operates at two distinct tiers

  1. A technical grading of the walk where the land manager determines the walk’s grade of difficulty using a set of technical questions based on the Australian Standard 2156.1-2001 Walking Tracks – Classification and Signage; and
  2. A ‘plain English language’ description to describe the walk to the public.

For more information about the Australian Walking Track Grading System, including user guide on how to grade a walking track using the new standard visit the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries web siteDownload the Users guide to the Australian Walking Track Grading System

Disclaimer: A lot of hikes on this site may not been officially graded by land managers. As such I have used my own skills and experience in order to determine the most suitable grading. As with all hikes, read the description, assess your own ability and research the most suitable trail for you and your party. It is important to note that in some regions, such as the Alps, weather can have an impact on the trail grade. What may be a Grade 4 hike in Spring will easily be a Grade 5 hike in winter when the trails are covered with snow.



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