The best day hikes from Mel­bourne

Stretch your legs be­yond the city with our guide to Mel­bourne’s best walks and trails. By Re­becca Russo

Time Out (Melbourne) - - THINGS TO DO -

FOR A BREATH of fresh air, head out of the city this week­end with our guide to Mel­bourne’s best day hikes. From lo­cal won­ders to sea­side spec­ta­cles, re­gional Vic­to­ria is brim­ming with pic­turesque walks great for get­ting your heart pump­ing.

LESS THAN TWO HOURS AWAY Wer­ribee Gorge Cir­cuit Walk Drive time from CBD: 1h Du­ra­tion (cir­cuit): 4h (10km) Level of dif­fi­culty: Medium to hard

This walk fea­tures a hik­ing tri­fecta: gor­geous views, rock scram­bling and, de­pend­ing on what time of year you visit, a posthike swim­ming hole. Start at the Meik­les Point pic­nic area and car park and follow the path as it snakes around the river and up­hill via a rocky crest. Head to­wards the East­ern Look­out at the gorge rim for a panorama of the park’s best nat­u­ral won­ders.

Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula Na­tional Parká Bushrangers Bay Trail Drive time from CBD: 1h 30m Du­ra­tion (one way): 45m (2.7km) Level of dif­fi­culty: Easy to medium

This coastal clifftop walk boasts pic­turesque vis­tas over Bass Strait. To be­gin, set off from the Cape Schanck car park through sandy out­crops, ad­ja­cent farm­land and banksia for­est. Keep an eye out for whales, chatty birds and maybe the oc­ca­sional kan­ga­roo as it makes its way across the grassy clear­ings. Top it off with a dip in the cool waves at the trail’s name­sake beach.

Dan­de­nong Ranges East­ern Sher­brooke For­est Walk Drive time from CBD: 1h Du­ra­tion (re­turn): 2.5h (6.6km) Level of dif­fi­culty: Medium

Done with the 1,000 Steps? This Sher­brooke For­est walk of­fers up much of the same ferny green­ery but with­out the hordes of fit­ness fa­nat­ics. Start at Grants Pic­nic Ground, past the bird feed­ing en­clo­sure, and follow the first sec­tion of the track la­belled the Lyre­bird Walk. Keep on the some­timessteep path, head­ing right at any turn, to see lush veg­e­ta­tion and the oc­ca­sional kook­aburra.

FUR­THER AFIELD Grampians Na­tional Park The Pin­na­cle Drive time from CBD: 3h Du­ra­tion (re­turn): 2h (4.2km) Level of dif­fi­culty: Medium

There’s a rea­son the Grampians brings walk­ers back time and again. Rough and rocky on first glance, it sur­prises vis­i­tors with hid­den wa­ter­falls, hol­low moun­tains and nat­u­ral am­phithe­atres. The walk to­wards the Pin­na­cle starts at the Sun­dial car park where hik­ers can climb through fun ge­o­log­i­cal ter­rain to­wards a big lump of rock over­look­ing Fyans Val­ley. There’s also a harder climb to the same des­ti­na­tion start­ing at the Won­der­land car park.

Wil­sons Promon­tory Mount Oberon Sum­mit Walk Drive time from CBD: 3h Du­ra­tion (re­turn): 2h (6.8km) Level of dif­fi­culty: Medium to hard

Start­ing from Tele­graph Sad­dle car park, this walk fol­lows a windy and shaded path up Mount Oberon to­wards a post­card per­fect view over Ti­dal River, the coast and lo­cal off­shore is­lands. What this walk lacks in ex­cit­ing ter­rain it makes up for in as­ton­ish­ing vis­tas at the sum­mit.

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