Ending your hard work-day with a beer and Netflix is a pit that’s all too easy to fall into. For some, it’s a lifestyle that works, but for those of us who thrive from adventure, getting out into nature is usually just what the doctor ordered. And the Melbourne mountains are the perfect place to do just that.
Not only is hiking ideal for experiencing nature at its finest, but it’s also a great way to get your heart rate up and unwind. So put down that briefcase and grab your water and hiking boots. The hiking trails of Melbourne, Victoria await.
Hikes near Melbourne: Dandenong Ranges National Park
These popular mountains are an excellent escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Easily reached by public or private transport and only a 50-minute drive from CBD – Dandenong is the popular hiker’s choice.
Only 35km east of Melbourne, the Dandenong Range is over 500sq/km of lush rainforest. And has been popular among hikers for over a century. So join the thousands of Melburnians and tourists in discovering the many kilometers of trails available. Remember to go prepared and plan what to pack for your hiking trip.
Clearly a local and tourist favorite, you will likely find this whole area is consistently busy. Visited by couples, friends, and families, this beautiful park has so much to see and explore and has something for everyone.
There are well-maintained tracks with the option of shorter or longer hikes and great snack-stop spots along the way. Aside from the many trails and track options, you can also grab a well-earned, post-hike bite to eat in one of the cafes.
So let’s take a closer look at some trails that you can explore here.
Kokoda Memorial Walk (The Thousand Steps)
For the fitness fanatics out there who get a kick out of heart palpitations and panting – this one’s for you. Before you tackle these steps, don’t forget to stretch!
The 1000 steps walk is a really popular choice among tourists, locals, and outdoor adventurers. On your way up the hill – in between pants and wiping your brow – enjoy the beautiful ferns, Manna Gum and Blackwood around.
This is a beautiful bushwalk that follows a creek up the lush valley. The 1000 Steps trail gets you out into nature while also putting you through a proper workout. You will definitely be getting that heart right rate up! Just remember your water bottle and a snack to keep your blood sugar and hydration levels up while taking on this toughy but a goodie.
This hike is not recommended for those who have medical conditions that restrict physical activity.
And for those who need an extra push of motivation – there is a great cafe in the car park area to relax in when you’re done. This 1000 Steps Cafe does a great milkshake! And after this monster of a hike, you’ll need the calories. The restrooms nearby are also kept in good condition.
This hike is a great choice for fun and fitness, and it’s free!
Sherbrooke Falls is a beautiful part of the Dandenong Park to take the whole family. An easier option than the 1000 Steps, it has well-trodden and safe trails suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
This walk starts from Sherbrooke Picnic Ground or O’Donohue Picnic Ground. The main track takes around 2 hours (even for the most curious walkers). In these rainforests near Melbourne, you will have plenty of native flora to enjoy as well as the happy sounds of chirping birds.
There is a lovely little waterfall to see on this walk. While certainly a modest water display and by no means a Niagra Falls – it is nonetheless a peaceful sight to enjoy.
The Dandenong Ranges is a great place to experience the beautiful forests of Victoria. This family-friendly spot is a great weekend activity.
Whether for fitness, fun, or meditation – come by yourself or as a group – and enjoy all that these mountains and forests have to offer. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a wallaby! So be sure to keep an eye out for some natives you’ll be sharing the park with – possums, kangaroos, lively rosellas, and laughing kookaburra.
Hiking in Melbourne, Australia
While the Dandenong Ranges are loved by Melburnians and tourists alike, they are slightly less central than some other Melbourne hikes. Let’s take a look at some more central hikes in this beautiful coastal city.
Yarra Bend Park
Yarra Bend Park is one of the gems of Melbourne. It’s known as the bush park in the city and it certainly is just that. Luckily there is this spot to easily escape to when the buzz of the city gets too much.
Here you will find many trails to run or explore. In fact, one of the best Parkruns in Melbourne is done in this park. There are some great hiking paths to follow, ranging between 1 and 3-hour tracks.
The park is very well-maintained and is a perfect spot for dogs and humans alike. There is plenty of open spaces for your furry family members to have some off-leash time to run and roll around.
You’ll soon see that there is a lot happening here. Some of the activities include people running with their dogs, riding bikes, hiking – even rowing boats in the river (these are available for rent).
There is also a super cool cafe nearby (Fairfield Park Boathouse & Tea Gardens) with a delicious menu – definitely try the scones!
Warrandyte State Park
This Melbourne walk is a great place to walk your dog, do some fishing, or even have a dip to cool off on a hot summer’s day. There are also some great picnic spots here.
This is another excellent escape from the daily rat race. While only a few kilometers from suburbia, this area gives you a feeling of remoteness and immersion in the wild.
With a fair few inclined hills, this would be a good choice for moderate to intermediate walkers. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for kangaroos and koalas in the treetops!
Final thoughts on hiking in Melbourne, Victoria – Australia
Between beautiful mountains and some amazing waterfalls – you are in for a treat of a day, wherever you choose to hike here. Just beware that some tracks can get slippery after rain.
Each of the walks offer unique highlights, shifting as the season’s change, ensuring repeat visits are just as memorable.
So lace up those hiking boots and get out there, you won’t be sorry you did. Enjoy soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of these beautiful surroundings, and may the forest be with you.