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
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.