As a lover of nature and hikes; since I moved to Melbourne, Victoria Australia I have been scouting day hikes in Melbourne. If you are on the same page and looking for some reliable and updated information on day hikes in Melbourne, read on.
There are 681 national parks in Australia. Out of that, Victoria has 45 of them, New South Wales has 235 (probably why I feel there were more abundant parks in Sydney than in Melbourne) but the state with the most national parks is Queensland leading the way with 237 national parks whereas Western Australia has 101, South Australia and Tasmania each has 19, the Northern Territory got 24, and the Australian Capital Territory has just one.
Below are the first 3 walks/hikes that can be done via tram/public transport, the next 7 can be easily done around the city and then the rest requires private transport. Most of the hikes listed in this article are well graded and easy to moderate hikes in Melbourne, Victoria, if occasionally muddy or snowy in winter. Intersecting forest trails can be a bit of a maze in places, make sure you know where you’re going! I am also giving you some tips so make sure to read all the way through.
Now without further ado, let’s begin
Best Day Hikes From Melbourne
- Best Day Hikes From Melbourne
- 1. Plenty Gorge Hike
- 2. Lilydale to Warburton
- 3. Capital City Trail
- Best Day Walks In Melbourne
- 1. Albert Park Lake Walk
- 2. St Kilda to Princess Pier Walk
- 3. Tan Walk
- 4. Yarra River Walks
- 5. Dights Falls Loop Trail
- 6. Merri Creek Trail
- 7. Yarra Bend Park Walk
- Best Day Hikes From Melbourne (needs private transport)
- 1. Werribee Gorge Circuit
- 2. Mt Donna Buang Summit via Mt Victoria
- 3. Yarra Ranges National Park
- 4. Macedon Ranges
- 5. Cathedral Ranges State park
- 6. Grampians National Park
- 7. You Yangs National Park
- 8. Dandenong Ranges
- 9. Port Campbell National Park
- 10. Great Otway National Park
- 11. Mount Buffalo National Park
- 12. French Island National Park
- 13. Bushranger Bay & Cape Schack hike
- 14. Alpine National Park
- 15. Wilsons Promontory National Park
- Let me know in the comments:
1. Plenty Gorge Hike
It takes about 85 mins on 86 tram from Melbourne city to get to Plenty Gorge. This is where you can also spot a bunch of Kangaroos in their natural habitat or eat out of surrounding home bins! The path is mostly fine gravel and is considered an easy grade. Along the way check out the walking track that leads to the Morang Wetlands and the Hawkstowe Picnic Area. This hike is 21KM in total and could take up to 5-6 hours to finish.
Bring a camera, water, hat, sunscreen, and good walking shoes, and start early if you want to complete the whole trail but be mindful of your time especially if you are returning via tram. If you forgot lunch, there are some eateries like Nandos near the tram stop. There are 7 moderate trails in Plenty Gorge Park and they are, the Yellow Gum circuit, Blue Lake circuit, Marshland Track, Plenty Gorge Medium loop, Plenty River Gorge Park Loop, and Plenty River Loop via Blue Lake, Plenty Gorge Insonamic trail.
2. Lilydale to Warburton
This iconic 38KM trail starts at the conveniently located Lilydale Railway Station and ends in the Warburton township. It is a favorite of walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. The path is flat and fine gravel with some sections sealed. It is an easy grade walk and can be done almost any month as there are no seasonal closures. I must add here you got to start early morning if you want to complete the whole 38KM in 1 day and as this trail is no loop, rather a point A to B trail; if you wish to stop just simply return the same way back. We started late but walked up to the Srilankan temple near Mount Evelyn and returned but I would like to finish this trail in one day this summer.
3. Capital City Trail
The Capital City Trail is a 29.6KM shared-use path that circles the Melbourne city center, and features the Yarra river, and some inner eastern and northern suburbs. We started walking from the starting point Docklands under the Bolte Bridge, next to the Yarra River and took about 3 hours to complete. It then follows the Moonee Ponds Creek North to Flemington Bridge and then you must cross the bridge over Flemington Road and travel alongside the Upfield railway line until just beyond Royal Park station.
Along the route, there are a few coffee places to refuel and parks to relax. Yarra Bend Park can be used as the halfway indicator traveling in either direction and although there is nothing difficult or dangerous along the route there are stairs at Gipps Street / Collins Bridge (there is also a ramp there). If you are driving, Melbourne Zoo offers paid parking that can be a reasonable rate, and start from there. The path is well-signed, however, there are a few areas where intersections may lack signage – having google maps handy solves it.
Best Day Walks In Melbourne
1. Albert Park Lake Walk
This is one of the local’s favorite places for jogging, running, or walking. It is a 4.8km track going around the lap that’s mostly flat, but it can get some strong winds off Port Phillip Bay and is normally 1.5 meters deep but has dropped to an average of one meter. If you keep an eye on your run/ there are distance markers every 500 meters and water fountains every km making it a great spot to run/walk or do some interval training. Offers a nice view of Melbourne city also.
2. St Kilda to Princess Pier Walk
For the change of scenery check out this beach walk from St Kilda to Princess Pier. This 5.9 KM refreshing beach walk is guaranteed to lift your moods and make you hungry afterward for that pizza nearby! Strolling in leisure took about 60 mins and then swimming/sunbathing all day. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Start the walk from Brighton where the beach houses are and make it all the way to princess pier. Pretty good exercise for the day.
3. Tan Walk
This is the local’s way to say Botanical garden walk. It is a 3.8KM walk, jog or run whatever you want to do. Approx takes around 20-30 minutes to run the track and 35-45 minutes to walk it. The Tan has a relatively flat path, with the exception of a small hill known as Heart Break Hill which starts at Anderson Street if traveling clockwise around the course.
4. Yarra River Walks
The iconic Yarra River is 242 KM long from its source on Mt Baw Baw in the Yarra Ranges National Park, north-east of Melbourne, all the way to Port Phillip Bay. In this section, I am mentioning the Main Yarra Trail which follows the Yarra River for 35 KM through Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs to join the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail in Templestowe. The trail runs through Yarra Bend Park, Warrigal Park, Birrarung Park, and Westerfolds Park in Templestowe. It is a shared path for cyclists, joggers, and dog walkers alike.
5. Dights Falls Loop Trail
Another walk that follows the Yarra River is the Dights Falls Loop trail. This easy, near 5KM walk, starts from Kanes Bridge near Studley Park Boathouse and follows the Yarra River until you arrive at the spectacular waterfalls – Dights Falls Lookout. As an alternative, you can also start from Trenerry Crescent which is an equally scenic route, connecting to the Main Yarra Trail. Keep an eye out for an impressive mural that pays respect to traditional Wurundjeri stories that were painted in collaboration with the local Indigenous people and Melbourne-based artist Tom Civil. Note: Swimming and camping are not advised by the managing authority.
6. Merri Creek Trail
If you want to continue exploring after the Dights Falls, follow the path that commences at Dights Falls near where Merri Creek enters the Yarra River, and then take a winding route, a quick pit stop at Ramsden Street Reserve for an awe-inspiring view of the Melbourne city skyline and mainly following the creek all the way to the Western Ring Road Trail in Thomastown. This 21KM trail boasts both awesome views of the city as well as native bushland that immerses you in the best that Melbourne’s nature has to offer. For an elevated view of the Merri creek with a backdrop of the city, follow the Main Yarra Trail to arrive at Snakes Lookout.
7. Yarra Bend Park Walk
Another walk that features the Yarra River is Yarra Bend Park which is Melbourne’s largest natural bushland park located just 4km northeast of the city on Wurundjeri land. It is a 9.5KM heavily trafficked loop trail and has Melbourne’s largest natural bushland still intact. Recommend the Bushland Circuit Trail which is one of the many walks around Yarra Bend Park. This quick and easy trail just 950-meters in length is perfect for a laid-back stroll when you’re wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This scenic trail starts left of Kanes Bridge in Kew, Victoria, and while there, visit the historic Studley Park Boathouse for ice cream or set up the perfect picnic lunch in the sun.
Best Day Hikes From Melbourne (needs private transport)
1. Werribee Gorge Circuit
Another local’s favorite day hikes in Melbourne is Werribee Gorge Circuit. A few weeks ago I went there for a hike and enjoyed it, especially the mini bouldering rope access around the huge rock next to the water. It was great to be walking and hiking around here; you can extend the walk with the longer circuit or return via the loop to the car park.
2. Mt Donna Buang Summit via Mt Victoria
Mt Donna Buang (1250m) is a moderate non-technical walk located close to Warburton in the Yarra Valley. If you hiking during winter as I did, there will potentially be snow. You will require hiking shoes, and you’ll likely require Gaiters too (depending on conditions). Not much scenery, but it is a vigorous exercise that will make you feel like you earned every bite of your lunch!
3. Yarra Ranges National Park
It was the first national park I went to when I moved to Melbourne and I absolutely enjoy going back and again and recommend it. Some hikes here can easily be done in a day whereas some take a bit of planning such as starting early so you can hike the whole length of the trail but of course, nobody’s stopping you return halfway.
Some recommended trails in Yarra Valley are Kokoda Memorial Walk (1000 steps), Lilydale to Warburton, Mt. Dom Dom loop, Monda track, Sherbrooke Falls Trails, Cumberland walk, La La Falls walk, Phantom Falls, Keppel Falls, Beeches Rainforest Walk, Cement Creek Redwood Forest, Maroondah Reservoir Park, Maroondah Dam, and Blue Lotus Water Garden. Stopping over at one of the Healesville wineries afterward is a great way to end the day.
4. Macedon Ranges
Less than one hour from Melbourne, you can visit the Macedon Range walking trail and experience a famous natural landmark with world-class nurseries and private gardens in Australia. Camels Hump, Camel’s hump and Sanatorium lake, Mount Towrong short loop and the long loop, and Hoods and Clyde Loop via Mount Macedon & memorial are some of the best days hikes in Macedon Ranges.
5. Cathedral Ranges State park
Cathedral Ranges State Park is another most visited day hike in Melbourne and offers a few more tough trails than the Yarra ones. It is home to a rocky ridgeline that offers several impressive viewpoints and some fun, challenging walking.
Recommend day hikes are the Southern circuit hike and the Northern circuit hike. Ridgeline Circuit (long day or overnight hike) Jawbone Peaks return hike and Little Cathedral return hike.
6. Grampians National Park
Some other day hikes in Melbourne can be done in Grampians National Park. This is the place where there is abundant wildlife, Aboriginal rock art, and Mackenzie Falls. Even the scenic drive there and bushwalking both make for a great day out.
7. You Yangs National Park
Although it is about an hour’s drive away like most of the day hikes mentioned in this post, You Yangs national park remains of the best that Melbourne has to offer in terms of day hikes in Melbourne. There are a number of trails you can choose from, I recommend Flinders Peak and Big rock.
8. Dandenong Ranges
Dandenong ranges are home to lush rainforests, waterfalls, bubbling creeks, and some of the world’s tallest trees. With mountains around it, it also gives you that feeling of being far away from the city.
My recommendations here are Sherbrooke Forest, Grants Picnic Area, Ada Tree, walking tracks along Monbulk Road which provides good vantage points, and Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, the Dandenongs’ much-photographed boathouse. Read more on Yarra Valley.
If you are after some waterfalls day hikes in Melbourne, head to Stevenson falls via Keppel lookout trail, Mason falls, Murrinindi Cascades, Wirrawilla Rainforest Walk, and Lake Mountain summit loop, Toorongo, and amphitheater falls, and Snobs Creek falls.
9. Port Campbell National Park
If you are looking to mix day hikes in Melbourne with some coastal views, Port Cambell National Park could be your safe bet. Recommend the Gibsons steps, the grotto, Razorback, Bay of Islands, London Bridge, The Arch and Loch, and Gorge.
Some part of this region is considered the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park and the must-see here would be obviously Twelve Apostles, Anglesea, Lorne Beach, Kennett river, Colac, and Mount Gellibrand.
10. Great Otway National Park
This is perfect if you are looking to hike through the lush rainforest, triplet falls, and rugged coastline. This national park covers the Great ocean road, Erskine falls, Cape Otway Lighthouse, Hopetoun falls, and Melba Gully, and also recommends Teddy’s lookout.
11. Mount Buffalo National Park
This part of Victoria offers a scenic view of mountainous terrain. Following hikes can be done in a day the Cathedral (2km, 1 hour), The Gorge, The Monolith and Haunted Gorge (8km, 3 hours), The Horn (1km, 45 minutes), Eagle Point, and Mount Dunn (12km, 4 hours), Dicksons Falls and Back Wall (13km, 4-5 hours) and Chalwell Galleries (1.2km, 30 minutes).
12. French Island National Park
French Island is a true paradise and home to the world’s densest (and healthiest!) populations of koalas, more than 360 species of bird including the king quail, and unspoiled natural bushland or beaches. There are day, half-day, and shorter walks and rides starting at Tankerton foreshore Reserve. Note: This little island is accessible only by a short passenger ferry ride. An ideal place to enjoy the hikes with peace, serenity, and unspoiled landscape.
13. Bushranger Bay & Cape Schack hike
For this hike, you would need a car. Bushranger Bay & Cape Schanck is a 13km, grade 3 return hike. The hike covers a sandy beach surrounded by basalt cliffs and beautiful views all around. Watch out for the wild waves that often crash onto jagged rocks guarding the entrance to the bay.
From Bushrangers Bay follow the 2.6km Bushrangers Bay Track to the Cape Schanck car park to see some of the best coastal scenery near Melbourne. Swimming is not recommended at this site as the beach is unpatrolled and often hazardous due to strong rips and large waves.
14. Alpine National Park
This region offers the best spot for hiking in summer and skiing in winter. 4 hours of drive away so if you want to make a day trip, start super early. Mount Howitt via Vallejo Gantner Hut and Room With A View Track can be done in a day hike if started early.
15. Wilsons Promontory National Park
* Pack light
* DO NOT WEAR TIGHT CLOTHES. If you’re wearing skinny jeans, it will make your steps restrictive
* Wear appropriate clothes (If hiking during winter, wear clothes to handle the cold (snow/rain/wind)
* Layered clothing in all seasons. Windproof/weatherproof pants are strongly recommended
* Gloves and scarf maybe
* Food (mix of protein/ carbs/sugar)
* First aid kit
* Toilet paper for emergencies as it might be a while before you are anywhere near the toilets. Probably not needed, just more for emergencies
* I STRONGLY recommend using water bottles, not Hydration bladders/bags in this case if it is cold. If Hydration bladders freeze up, they sometimes leak.
TYPES OF EQUIPMENT:
No technical equipment is required.
* Walking sticks may help
* Comfy hiking shoes and warm socks
* Crampons / Microspikes if it’s going to be snowy
* If you have a walkie-talkie, use it. Mobile reception is VERY sketchy on the mountain
* If you have a yellow brick or a SPOT, bring it (would be cool to be able to track the trip live).
* Headlamp/torches if you have them
* PLB if you have one, you probably won’t need it
Let me know in the comments:
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