Melbourne is often hyped up as “the world’s greatest city”. With live music, street art, cultural diversity, boutique shopping and a vibrant dining scene, it’s hard to disagree!
But beyond the city centre is a whole other world to explore. The Garden City’s jaw-dropping natural surroundings are worth checking out while staying in Melbourne city. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or you’re looking for a family adventure, Melbourne is home to a range of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels.
If you’re keen to escape the city for a day and go for a wander, here are six fantastic hiking tracks that are only a stone’s throw away.
#1 Point Nepean Coastal Walk
Explore the tip of the Mornington Peninsula on the stunning Point Nepean Coastal Walk. Only an hour and a half from Melbourne, this walk showcases Victoria’s breathtaking coastal scenery and Australia’s wartime history.
Visit the mysterious Cheviot Beach and Harold Holt memorial erected in 1967 when then Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared during an ocean swim. Take a step back in time when you reach Fort Nepean and its well-maintained wartime fortifications, including tunnels, barracks and bunkers. As a major defence line until 1945, Fort Nepean offers a glimpse at Australia’s ongoing risk of attack throughout World War II.
The trail ends at Port Phillip Bay, also known as “The Rip”. This beautiful stretch of beach is known for its ever-changing tides that make the water extremely unpredictable.
#2 Ironbark Basin Nature Trail
The Ironbark Basin Nature Trail between Bells Beach and Point Addis is a stunning section of the Surf Coast Walk in Great Otway National Park, just over an hour drive from Melbourne.
This 10.5km circuit trail combines the best of the Surf Coast with bushed inland tracks, expansive ocean views and an array of Australian wildlife. Native birds, echidna and reptiles are known to inhabit the area, surprising visitors as they trek through this section of the Surf Coast Walk.
Make your way to the cliff tops for fresh ocean air and incredible views of south Bells Beach and Point Addis. As Bells Beach is impassable during high tide, it’s essential to plan your walking times to make sure you can complete the full loop track.
#3 Bushrangers Bay Walking Trail
Only an hour’s drive south of Melbourne is one of Mornington Peninsula’s best day hikes: Bushrangers Bay Walking Trail.
Named after two escaped convicts, Bushrangers Bay is eerily reminiscent of tumultuous times, surrounded by dark basalt cliffs, rocky coastline and treacherous ocean conditions.
This wild walking track passes through Cape Schank Lighthouse, Main Creek, thick banksia trees and vast stretches of Victoria’s coast.
#4 Kokoda Track Memorial Walks (1000 Steps Walk)
This steep, beautiful walking track is sure to get the heart pumping!
As the name suggests, there are a few steps to climb, but the views are well worth the effort.
Only 50 minutes from the city centre, the Kokoda Track is one of Melbourne’s most popular bushwalks, traversing the dense rainforest of the Dandenong Ranges. When you reach the top, you’ll emerge to a clearing where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Melbourne.
So are there really 1000 steps? Not quite, but close enough. The track was built as a memorial of the Thousands Steps track in Papua New Guinea, a battle location for Australian Soldiers in World War II.
#5 Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve
The Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve is home to 214 hectares of undisturbed bushland that surrounds Langwarrin.
As a popular track for runners, walkers and even horse riders, visitors come to the reserve to see the incredible indigenous flora and fauna and breathe the fresh, clean air.
What was once a location of military defence is now an important conservation site. With plenty of places to stop for a picnic or BBQ, Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve is a great place to get close to nature and hike with the family.
#6 Flinders Peak Walk
Flinders Peak Walk-in You Yangs National Park is suitable for all hiking levels and an ideal track for families.
Make your way up 450 steps to the boulder-laden summit to see views of Geelong, Melbourne and the western volcanic plains.
Upon reaching the top, you’ll also look down onto the incredible Bunjil Geoglyph rock sculpture. In the shape of a wedge-tailed eagle, Bunjil is the creator spirit of the Wathaurong people, the indigenous tribe of the region.
Be sure to bring the pooch! The You Yangs are dog friendly.
#7 Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk
If you’re an experienced hiker seeking adventure, you’ll love the Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk. This challenging trail is a mix of track, climbs, rock hopping, and river crossings only one hour from Melbourne.
Lined with dense bush, Werribee Gorge is home to an array of Australian wildlife. You might even see a snake or two, so be careful where you put your feet! While this walk is not for the faint-hearted, hikers are treated to stunning natural scenery and a lush swimming hole at the end of the trail. With plenty of places to stop for a rest and a bite to eat, this walk can take anywhere between three and six hours. Go at your own pace and enjoy your surroundings.
Melbourne is uniquely situated near some of Victoria’s most impressive natural locations. From the rocky coastline to dense rainforest, there is so much beauty beyond the city centre. With an abundance of walking trails close by, Melbourne is the perfect destination for hiking enthusiasts who want to escape the city’s hustle and bustle and see Victoria’s vast and diverse landscape.
Have you ever visited Melbourne? Would you say it’s the “best city in the world”? Leave a comment below!