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  • The 20 Best Day Hikes From Melbourne

    April 10, 2021 14 min read

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    The 20 Best Day Hikes From Melbourne, Victoria

    Written for Auski by Pink Lemonade Social

    If you’re eager for a low-prep outdoor adventure, then visiting one of Melbourne and greater Victoria’s hiking and walking trails is definitely one of the best ways to do it.

    While summer is primetime for hiking, there’s also no better way to warm up and get your heart pumping during the colder months. With an abundance of picturesque trails, unique wildlife, and local wonders, we’ve rounded up a list of the best hikes in Victoria – sorting them by the closest to furthest from the CBD allowing you to jump ahead to a particular hike.

    PS: our favourite is the Lake Elizabeth Walk, just wait to read why.

    PPS: Remember, before jumping in the car, make sure to wear a pair of sturdy shoes and pack plenty of water and snacks.

    Melbourne day hikes less than one hour away

    Organ Pipes Trail – Organ Pipes National Park, Keilor North

    You wouldn’t expect to find a national park just off the Calder Freeway 20kms from Melbourne, but this 121-hectare park has a natural attraction that is definitely worth visiting – the 2.5 million-year-old basalt columns that resemble organ pipes, hence the name!

    Starting at the visitor centre (that includes toilets and shady spots for picnics), the short but steep trail passes several features of the park including Jacksons Creek, Keilor Plains, Rosette Rock and Tessellated Pavement as well as the main attraction the Organ Pipes. This hike is suitable for families and children, with a wonderful array of features on offer.

    Duration (circuit): 30m (1.5km)
    Level of difficulty: Easy to medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 30m

    Bourke's Lookout via Glasgow Track aka Fire Trail Hike - Dandenong Ranges National Park, Mount Dandenong

    If you’re looking for a difficult, blood-pumping hike and, like us, want to skip the busy 1000 steps, then this 2.3km moderate-difficult out and back trail is it! Also known as the Fire Trail Hike, it’s one of the toughest hikes in the Dandenong’s and famous for bushwalkers training for the famous Kokoda track. Picture this – the first 45min a steep, straight up incline plus rock scrambling - yet the reward of spectacular views at Burkes Lookout at the top. A big tip for first-timers tackling this trail is to make it a circuit hike (4km), and on the way down taking the Zig Zag track to alleviate your knees and ankles – and yes there’s also wildlife and beautiful scenery, but we can’t stress enough how much this strenuous trail doubles as a punishing cardio workout. With limited parking on Osprey Road (off Ridge Road) you can also opt to start this trail from Doongala Homestead that includes picnic tables and toilets, making it an ideal starting point.

    Duration (return): 2-3h (2.3km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium to hard
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h

    Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk – Werribee Gorge State Park, Werribee

    This moderate 10km walk starts at Meikles Point Picnic area and follows the Werribee River to the north west providing hikers with gorgeous views, rock scrambling and a waterhole to cool off in. With a mix of terrain and some steep sections near the start and end of the walk, the hike takes roughly 3.5 hours to complete, with the highlight being the panoramic views over the gorge (head to the Eastern Lookout at the gorge rim). For those looking for shorter walks, there are 3, 4 and 5km trails, but if taking the circuit make sure you come prepared and allow plenty of time and daylight.

    Duration (return): 3.5-5h (10km)
    Level of difficulty: Moderate
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h

    Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk

    Image: Instagram/click.saidrose

    Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk – Dandenong Ranges National Park, Kallista

    Skip the overrated 1000 steps and take on the 7km Eastern Sherbrooke Forest circuit. Starting at Grants Picnic Ground (follow the Lyrebird Walk, onto Neumann Rd, over Hardy Creek then onto Welch Track), the moderate trail provides plenty of greenery minus the crowds. Surrounded by lush vegetation the walk takes you through stringybark and mountain ash woods with plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities. Whilst not covered here, if you’re looking for other dog-friendly hikes in this region, then grab your pupper and visit either the Mathias (3.5km one way) or Dandenong Ranges Tourist Tracks (17km one-way) which are both scenic and sure to be loved by you and your dog.

    Duration (return): 2.5h (7km circuit)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h

    Flinders Peak Walk – You Yangs Regional Park, Little River (Dog Friendly)

    A hike for dog owners – that’s right - the You Yangs National Park is a dog-friendly park located in Little River, between Melbourne and Geelong, only an hour away from Melbourne’s CBD – and a favourite of Auski’s intern Wasabi the labrador. The most popular walk is the 3.2km Flinders Peak Walk, beginning at Turntable carpark, taking you up to the highest point of the You Yangs providing you with uninterrupted 360-degree views. This blood-pumping walk does come with a warning – there are 450 steps standing in your way to the summit which doesn’t sound too difficult, but it will definitely have you puffing and stopping for a break (a couple of times!). The moderate trail is busy on weekends (with quite a few dogs) and warm days, but is accessible all year round, with the carpark equipped with facilities making it perfect for a lunchbreak afterwards.

    Duration (return): 1h (3.2km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h

    Flinders Peak Walk
    Dog Friendly Walk Melbourne

    Hanging Rock Trail / Summit Walk - Macedon Regional Park, Macedon Ranges

    Rumoured to have been the hangout of bushranger 'Mad Dog' Morgan and made famous by the classic Australian novel and movie Picnic at Hanging Rock, the 1.9km out and back trail ascends Hanging Rock summit providing a bird's-eye view over the surrounding Macedon and Cobaw ranges. The region is filled with natural beauty; abundant wildflowers and wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and a vast array of birdlife. Starting at the Hanging Rock Discovery Centre, the short walk will get the blood pumping with some steep sections which can be slippery on wet days. The main attractions of the hike are the 6-million-year-old rocks and granite boulders and the infamous mound of massive granite tors (the free-standing rock outcrop that rises abruptly from the summit). If you’re after a more challenging full-day hike in the region there is an 18.8km Macedon Ranges Walking Trail which will keep you going for 5 hours.

    Duration (circuit): 45mins – 1hr mins (1.9km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h

    Lerderderg Gorge Circuit Walk - Lerderderg State Park, Lerderderg

    Within easy reach from Melbourne, Bacchus Marsh and Ballarat, Lerderderg State Park offers hiking in ‘real bushland’. Beginning at Mackenzies Flat picnic area, the circuit walk follows the Lerderderg river and features forest, grasslands, old mining camps and the steep-sided 300-metre deep Lerderderg Gorge. Wildlife in the state park is abundant, with the opportunity to spot echidnas, wombats, koalas, wallabies, wedge-tailed eagles and cockatoos. Along the trail there is plenty of rock-hopping and some river crossings (if the river is flowing), and after four to five hours walking your feet will be feeling it, so kick your shoes off and cool down in the river which is the perfect way to end your day.

    Duration (circuit): 4-5h (13.5km circuit)
    Level of difficulty: Moderate
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h

    Sherbrooke Falls via Ridge, Moore & Lloyd’s Track - Dandenong Ranges National Park, Mount Dandenong

    Whilst you can opt for the easy one hour walk to Sherbrooke Falls, the longer 6.1km circuit is a lot better; still a family-friendly trail through lush forests. The circuit does come with a few points to note; some parts of the trail go alongside the road, there is a steep incline at Moore’s Break which can be quite challenging, but the rest of the shady trail is quite easy. Be prepared dependent on weather (muddy following rain, chilly in winter) and it’s best to tackle this trail earlier on to avoid the crowds on weekends particularly around the falls. Plan for a picturesque picnic (best to pack and leave it in your car) to finish your walk as you won’t want to leave.

    Duration (return): 2-2.5h (6.1km circuit)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h

    Melbourne day hikes less than two hours away

    Bushrangers Bay Trail / Walking Track - Mornington Peninsula National Park, Cape Schanck

    A coastal clifftop walk that overlooks the beautiful Bass Strait, the Bushrangers Bay Trail departs from Cape Schanck car park and ends at a breathtaking beach. The trail has a few elevations and stairs, so whilst it may be a moderate challenge at times, it is definitely worth the effort. The trail passes through beautiful Banksia groves and sandy outcrops and you may spot native wildlife including kangaroos, whales in winter as well as an abundance of birdlife. Whilst you can opt for concluding the walk with a dip in the cool water, it’s not recommended due to the beach being unpatrolled and often dangerous with strong rips and large waves.

    Duration (one way): 35-45mins (2.7km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h 30m

    Echo Flat Walk - Lake Mountain Alpine Resort Bushwalks

    Lake Mountain provides some of the best bushwalking locations near Melbourne. With various trails mapped out for you to enjoy, it is an excellent way to explore Victoria’s alpine landscape. The hikes range from an easy 250m to 8km of well-maintained trails, with some destinations providing spectacular views and spots for a relaxing picnic.

    Echo Flat Walk is an easy interpretative walk along the ski trails - this walk starts at Lake Mountain Village. Follow Echo Flat trail and you will soon enter the Snow Gum. At the top of the hill, you’ll arrive at the Snow Gauge. From here you can look out across the headwaters of the Taggerty River and the Echo Flat heath land and moss beds. Once you arrive at the Camp, return on Snow Gum and Home Trails.

    Echo Flat Walk

    Duration (circuit): 1hr (4km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from CBD: 2hrs

    Fingal Beach Walk - Mornington Peninsula National Park, Cape Schanck

    Another stunning clifftop walk with a secluded beach, Fingal Beach Walk starts at the Fingal Picnic Area approx. 2km north of Cape Schanck. The picnic area has toilet and BBQ facilities making it a great way to end your hike. Highlights of the trail include winding through scrubland, viewing incredible basalt cliffs, exploring the low tide of Fingal Beach, along with plenty of spectacular lookout spots. Heads up, access to the beach is via a steep staircase so be prepared to climb all the way back up for your return.

    Duration (return): 1.5-2h(5km) to Fingal Beach
    Level of difficulty: Easy to medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h 30min

    Point Nepean Walk – Point Nepean National Park, Portsea

    The 542 hectares Point Nepean National Park is one of the best places to walk and explore with not only a range of trails of varying distance, but also plenty to see on this epic coastal walk. The full 14.5km return walk is pretty flat and will take between 2-4 hours depending on your speed and the time you spend exploring the old historic Quarantine Station and World War II military defences. The coastal and bush tracks will take you to the tip of famous Point Nepean providing you with panoramic views of Bass Strait, across to Queenscliff and Port Phillip Bay. Car parking is available at the Quarantine Station or Gunners Cottage (cars are not permitted past this point).

    Duration (return): 3h (14.5km)
    Level of difficulty: Easy to medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 1h40m

    Keppel Lookout Walk & Steavenson Falls (Victoria's highest waterfall) – High Country Victoria, Marysville

    One of the most favourite walks of the Auski team, the challenging hike to Steavenson Falls to see Victoria’s highest waterfall (an 84m drop) is definitely worth tackling. If you’re not up for a hike, you can still visit and view the falls which are only 350m from the carpark. Starting the trek at Steavenson Falls carpark on Falls Rd, you’ll get to view the impressive waterfall before climbing up through mountain ash and stringybark forest to view the four best lookouts across the Cathedral Range State Park, the falls as well as Marysville. This hike is steep in places and fairly uneven and can be weather dependent (slippery and muddy following rain), and it’s best to stock up on water and snacks before heading out on this trail.

    Duration (return): 3-4 h(11km loop)
    Level of difficulty: Medium to hard; very steep, formed track
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 2h

    Lake Elizabeth Dog Friendly Hike Melbourne
    Lake Elizabeth Victoria

    Lake Elizabeth Walk – Great Otway National Park, Forrest (Dog Friendly)

    Found deep in the Otways, Lake Elizabeth is one of the stand-out favourites on this list, especially from our intern Wasabi the labrador. Another dog-friendly (on-lead) hike, the trail ends at one of Victoria-s hidden gems where you can spot wild platypus playing and zooming across the mirror-like surface of the water in a picturesque setting that is out of this world. With options of the lake-only trail or 4km circuit of the lake, the trail is sheltered by eucalypt trees and lush ferns, with the valley echoing from the sounds of Superb Fairy-wrens, Bowerbirds and Eastern Yellow Robins. This is also a popular spot for mountain biking but beware heading down to the camping grounds/carpark - the gravel drive down into the valley to the parking area is quite steep, slippery and always wet (due to the lush environment) so be prepared to get stressed driving in and out (you’ll constantly feel like you’re going to slide off the road and plummet to the valley below). If you can brave the drive in, there is no comparison to the lakes beauty with its calm waters punctuated by trunks of dead trees, and the opportunity to spot the shy and elusive platypus. While the best viewing times are dusk and dawn, the road in and out is nerve-wracking in the middle of the day, so it’s best to aim for late afternoon.

    Duration (return): 1h (1.5km) lake only, 2h (4km) circuit
    Level of difficulty: Easy - Moderate
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 2h 30m

    Ned’s Gully Track – Cathedral Range State Park, Taggerty, High Country Victoria

    Ned’s Gully Track a great first trail to take if you have never visited the Cathedral Range State Park – a 2.2km steady uphill hike starting from Ned’s Gully Camping Area up to Ned’s Gully and Ned’s Saddle before changing course towards Cathedral peak which is the highest point in the region at 840 metres elevation. The track meanders through dry woodlands and forested gullies with an abundance of wildlife and habitats on view. Whilst the track is easy to follow, there is uneven ground and the trail is best suited to frequent hikers and those with bushwalking experience. For adventurous and fit hikers, the track splits at Ned’s Saddle providing a range of more challenging trails. Be prepared with appropriate clothing (the weather can change quickly), sturdy shoes and as always sufficient water.

    Duration (one way): 1h (2.2km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium to hard
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 2h

    Beauchamp Falls Walk – Great Otway National Park, Beech Forrest

    A list of Victoria’s best hiking tracks wouldn’t be complete without Beauchamp falls; a 3km walk ending with one of the best-hidden waterfalls that cascades for 20 metres. Starting at the picnic area, the sometimes-strenuous walk takes you through mountain ash forests dotted with large myrtle beech, blackwood and thick ferns before arriving at the viewing platform (there’s no access to the falls). The track can be slippery in parts, especially when wet or on the steep sections of the walk. If you’re after an easier walk, the nearby Hopetoun Falls is just down the road past Beauchamp falls and offers another beautiful waterfall.

    Duration (return): 1h (3km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 2h 30m

    The Big Drift - Wilsons Promontory

    If you’re up for a different kind of walk that will provide you with photos many will think can’t possibly be in Victoria, then the Big Drift walk is the one for you. The other-worldly landscape is an extensive series of ever-changing inland sand dunes that is off the tourist track. Starting from the Stockyard campsite follow the signposts to the northern flank of Big Drift. The walk meanders through bushland and fields before arriving at a steep sandy hill that is quite tough to conquer (it’s easier to crawl up than walk). Once you get to the top, the endless sand dunes are visible and you’re free to explore the peaceful golden landscape. For those looking for the perfect picture, visiting at sunrise or sunset when the sand dunes are rose gold in colour provides you with the most ethereal and stunning scene. It’s quite easy to get lost in the Big Drift so remember the way you came, and that there’s no access to the beach – you’re here for the sand dunes after all.

    Duration: 1h (2km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from CBD: 2h30m

    Melbourne day hikes more than three hours away (but worth it!)

    The Pinnacle Walk & Lookout – Grampians National Park, Halls Gap

    The Pinnacle walk and lookout is one of the highlights of the Grampians, and there’s a reason this National Park brings hikers and bushwalkers back frequently when you’re rewarded with stunning views of Halls Gap and the peaks of the Grampians. Starting from Sundial Car Park, the 2.1km walk up includes rock-hopping, water crossings and climbing through geological terrain (will be loved by kids!) and takes a bit over 2 hours for return. Whilst there are several longer and more difficult trails to reach The Pinnacle, this easy trail is good for beginners, first-timers, families or those after a pleasant bushwalk without sweating up a storm.

    Duration (return): 2h (4.2km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 3h

    Cape Otway to Rainbow Falls Walk – Great Otway National Park, Cape Otway

    A stunning walk that starts at the famous Cape Otway Lighthouse built in 1848 that overlooks Bass Strait, this scenic walk passes along cliff faces, through sand dunes, along Station Beach and to the beautiful Rainbow Falls. The beach is unpatrolled and not recommended for swimming, but worth stopping by on your way back and to refresh those feet. For those up for shorter walks, there is a range of trails in the area, all providing access to the beauty of the Great Otway National Park.

    Duration (circuit): 3-3/5hr (11.5km)
    Level of difficulty: Moderate
    Drive time from CBD: 3h 10m

    Mt Oberon Summit Walk - Wilsons Promontory National Park, Wilsons Promontory

    Experience the picturesque Wilsons Promontory with the Mount Oberon summit walk that will provide you with stunning views of the southernmost point of Australia's mainland and is perfect for any Instagram feed. Starting from Telegraph Saddle carpark, the trail takes you along a shady track to the summit, and although the terrain isn’t as striking as others on this list, the panoramic views over the coast and offshore islands at the summit are worth it. All year round this walk, and especially the summit, can be quite windy and cool so pack appropriately.

    Duration (return): 2h (6.8km)
    Level of difficulty: Medium to hard
    Drive time from Melbourne CBD: 3h 10m

    What are you waiting for? Grab a mate or your dog or your headphones and head out solo, and get out and tackle one of these amazing hikes! If you’re getting out there make sure to share your pics with us on Facebook or Instagram (@auskiaustralia)!

    Know another great hike we've missed? Get in touch and let us know!

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