Surrounded by national parks including the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges and the Grampians, there are plenty of beautiful walks within a few hours drive of Melbourne CBD. Here are some of our favourites.
1. Warburton Redwood Forest Walk, Dandenong Ranges
Even most Victorians aren’t aware that you can visit a forest of Californian Redwood trees only an hour and a half east of Melbourne CBD. The trees were planted in a grid in the 1930s, giving them a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. The walking path leads you through the plantation down to Cement Creek.
2. Banksia Park to Heide Walk, Heidelberg
The Heide Museum of Modern Art is a unique combination of art, architecture, social history and landscape just 20 minutes from Melbourne CBD. The sculpture gardens are spread out over 15 acres and are free to explore if you’re looking for the perfect intersection between nature and art. As a bonus, you can also bring your dog along on this walk provided they’re kept on their lead at all times.
3. Point Nepean Walks, Mornington Peninsula
For those not up for the challenge of the 100km Mornington Peninsula Walk, the Point Nepean Walks are a great introduction to the area. Starting at the London Bridge and taking the Wilson’s Folly track up to the tip of Point Nepean is a 6.4km walk, which gives you views of the Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay at the Heads.
4. Werribee Gorge, Werribee
If you’re looking for a spot of rock climbing with your walk, then a trip down to Werribee Gorge is definitely in order. There are several different walks you can do around Werribee Gorge from 3km – 10km. They’re all at least a medium intensity walk, so this is the place to go if you’re after a challenge.
5. Pound Bend River Walk, Warrandyte
This short walk is about 3.5km and starts off from the picnic area and leads you up to the historic Pound Bend Tunnel. The Evelyn Tunnelling and Mining Company dug the tunnel out in 1870 to divert the river and expose the gold in the riverbed. Keep an eye out for koalas sleeping in the trees as you walk along beside the river.
6. National Rhododendron Gardens Walk, Olinda
Walking through the entire gardens is a round trip of approximately 5km, but with thousands of beautiful rhododendrons flowering at every turn, this walk might take longer than expected. Complimenting the colourful flowers, you’ll see Tall Mountain Ash trees, which are the tallest flowering trees in the world.
7. The Hobson’s Bay Coastal Trail, Williamstown
For a coastal walk just 15 minutes from Melbourne CBD, you can’t beat the Hobson’s Bay Coastal Trail. Starting in Williamstown, you’ll work your way around the foreshore and through Altona’s coastal park land. While the terrain might be more forgiving than some of its counterparts, the trail is a total of 25 km, so plan ahead if you want to tackle the whole thing.
8. Toorongo Falls Circuit Walk, Gippsland
Deep in the Yarra Ranges, 2 and a half hours outside Melbourne CBD, you’ll find the beautiful Toorongo Falls Reserve. You can follow a gentle circuit to viewing platforms for Toorongo and Amphitheatre Falls. This is a light walk on compacted gravel that is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
9. 1000 Steps, Dandenong Ranges
Also known as the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, the 1000 steps is a fitness institution in Melbourne. With 1000 steps cut into the mountain, this steep walk requires a reasonable level of fitness to complete. Following a creek alignment through the wet fern gully, you’ll experience filtered sunlight and the occasional bit of wildlife as you make your way up… and up… and up.
10. Merri Creek Trail, Abbotsford
20 minutes north of the CBD you’ll find the Merri Creek Trail, which starts at the Dights Falls in Abbotsford and follows the creek north through the Brunswick Velodrome and CERES Community Environment Park. While the terrain is a bit easier than some of the other walks, the Merri Creek trail totals 21km, making it a bit of an exhausting endeavour.
11. Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges
Hanging Rock is a rare volcanic formation near Woodend and Mount Macedon and is definitely the most famous landmark in the Macedon Ranges. There are a number of trails you can follow that will lead you through the reserve past local flora and fauna, all the while giving you unbeatable views of the surrounding areas.
When staying in Melbourne, adventure is never far away – just be sure to pack your runners!