Spend your summer holidays getting back to nature, exploring some of Melbourne’s best trails
There’s no better way to enjoy the warmer weather than stretching your legs and exploring the beautiful city we live in. After all, what better way to get your steps up than on a mini adventure exploring your own backyard? We’ve created a list of the best walks in and around Melbourne, long and short for all fitness levels. Put your runners on, invite your friends and give one of these trails a go, you won’t regret it!
If you’re looking to get out of the city, while not getting out of the city at all, Yarra Bend is the answer. There are plenty of walking trails around Yarra Bend, but our favourite starts at Kane’s Bridge and follows the Bushland Circuit Trail East toward Bellbird Park, across the Fairfield Pipe Bridge and towards Dights Falls. Take a break at the Collingwood Children’s Farm and Abbotsford Convent before heading back to Kane’s Bridge. Surrounded by tranquil bush and following the river, you won’t believe you’re only 5 minutes out of the CBD.
Time: 2 hours
Enjoy Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay by following the Foreshore Trail from Port Melbourne to Elwood. You’ll pass some iconic Melbourne landmarks such as the Catani Gardens, St. Kilda Pier and Luna Park. Continue along the path and you’ll get to the Brighton Beach boxes. It’s a flat, easy walk, perfect for a sunny day, with plenty of trendy high-streets and cute cafes to detour to on the way.
Time: 2-5 hours
1000 Steps Walk
No list of Melbourne walks would be complete without the famous 1000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk. The track actually has closer to 770 steps, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s any easier than the name suggests. By far one of the most popular walks in Melbourne, the crowds of fitness fanatics climbing up and down create an encouraging atmosphere. The trail can often be very busy, so we suggest avoiding weekends where possible. The steps are enshrouded by bush and tall trees, and climbers are rewarded with some great views at the top.
If the 1000 Steps Walk is too busy for your taste, Sherbrooke Forest is an (arguably superior) alternative, located close by in the Dandenong Ranges. The Sherbrooke Forest walk traverses an unspoilt forest trail, rich with native wildlife and past the Sherbrooke Falls. It is a tranquil circuit trail that can start at either Sherbrooke Picnic Ground of O’Donohue Picnic Ground.
Time: 45 mins
Merri Creek Trail
The Merri Creek Trail starts at Dights Falls and follows the Merri Creek to the Western Ring Road. The trail is close to public transport, making the return trip for any route you choose to take easy. Minutes from the CBD, the trail is surrounded by greenery, with plenty of landmarks along the way, including the Coburg Lake Reserve, the Brunswick Velodrome and CERES Community Environment Park.
Time: 2+ hours
Pound Bend River Walk
Pound Bend Reserve is a short drive from Warrandyte town centre but feels miles away from everything. The trail follows the banks of the Yarra, starting close to the well-known Pound Bend Tunnel, and traversing tranquil bushland. The trail is a relaxing escape in a country setting a mere 45 minutes from the CBD.
Time: 60 minutes
Albert Park Lake
Another iconic Melbourne walk is the circuit around Albert Park Lake. Dog-friendly and picturesque, Albert Park Lake is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle that surrounds it. 3km from the centre of Melbourne, the city skyline is a striking view. A popular spot for all Melbournians, there are plenty of spots to eat and enjoy a coffee once you’ve finished a stroll around the lake.
Time: 1-2 Hours
Werribee Gorge Circuit
An hour outside of Melbourne, Werribee Gorge is a ‘proper’ bushwalk adventure. The circuit goes on and off-trail, features descents into the gorge and a climb to scenic views at the top. Expect river crossings, rock hopping and wire ropes around rocky cliffs. Park at Meikles Point Picnic Area and complete the circuit in either direction, following the orange triangles.
Distance: Approx. 10km
Time: 2-4 hours
Bushranger’s Bay Trail
Starting at Cape Schanck, just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne CBD, this trail follows the scenic Bass Straight coastline across Cape Schanck boardwalks and along clifftops, taking you to beaches only accessible by foot. Packing a picnic is a great idea, as there’s plenty of picturesque spots to stop and enjoy the tranquil surrounds. The trail starts at the Cape Schanck Lighthouse and finishes at Bushrangers Bay, approximately 6km return. It’s undoubtedly one of the Mornington Peninsula’s best walks, and a must-do for this summer.
Time: 2-3 hours
You Yangs East West Walk
The You Yangs Regional Park is an often-forgotten national park located between Melbourne and Geelong, 45 minutes from Melbourne. It is named after the two granite peaks of the You Yangs that rise over the surround volcanic plains. The You Yangs East West Walk starts at Turntable car park and follows the East West trail, finishing with a climb to Flinders Peak for breathtaking scenic views. The trail is scenic and scattered with granite boulders, which are great for a rest or a photo opportunity.
Time: 2-3 hours
Hobson’s Bay Trail
It wouldn’t be fair to finish this list without including a trail on the lesser traversed side of the bay. The Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail runs from the Westgate bridge to Skeleton Creek in Altona Meadows. The trail passes some impressive sights including the Williamstown Botanic Gardens and historic Williamstown precinct, as well as sandy beaches, wetlands and public artworks. You can start or end the trail at any point along its 23km stretch, and there’s plenty of cafes to stop off on the way.
Time: 4 hours