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Unplugging To Unwind: Five Of Melbourne’s Best Day Hikes

The winter months in Melbourne might have you cooped up inside watching movies or enjoying cosy speakeasies in the city. But come summer, it’s all about outdoor cinemas and rooftop bars. This also means a lot of socialising.

When you crave time to disconnect, then a challenging or relaxing hike might very well be the answer. Whether you’re looking to break a sweat on a sunrise mountain hike or simply after a leisurely afternoon coastal stroll, these five Melbourne day hikes should have you sorted.

Coles Track, Point Nepean National Park

Guarding the entrance of Port Phillip Bay is Point Nepean National Park. It sits on one of the most treacherous coastlines in Victoria. The park is an hour and a half drive from Melbourne CBD along the Mornington Peninsula.

You’ll find plenty of trails when you park at Quarantine Station car park. Follow the Coles Track for an easy walk along the bay, then continue towards the point at Fort Nepean along Defence Road. Along the way, you’ll be swarmed with sweeping views of the Bass Strait on one side and Port Phillip Bay on the other. You’ll also pass colonial structures from the 1880s, old military forts, and Cheviot Beach (where Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared in 1967).

Distance from Melbourne CBD: 1.5-hour drive

Track: Coles Track

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 10-kilometre return, 4 hours

Mount Oberon Summit, Wilsons Promontory

If you’re enjoying a camping trip at Wilsons Promontory, opt for a sunrise hike up Mount Oberon. A shuttle bus can take you from Tidal River campground to the Telegraph Saddle car park where the track begins up the summit. It’s a steady incline up for about 3.4-kilometres.

Along there way there are wooden benches if you need to take a break. The last section leading to the summit is rather steep, but once you arrive at the top, panoramic views of Little Oberon Bay, Leonard Bay, Whisky Bay and Picnic Bay will make the effort worth your while.

Distance from Melbourne CBD: 3-hour drive

Track: Mount Oberon Summit Walk

Difficulty: Easy to medium

Length: 6.8-kilometre return, 2 hours

Flinders Peak Walk, You Yangs Regional Park

You Yangs Regional Park is a one hour drive west of Melbourne CBD. It’s an ideal area for nature walks, mountain biking and horseback riding. Flinders Peak is the highest point in the park.

After a 1.5 kilometre climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of the city of Melbourne and the surrounding regions. The trail is dog-friendly, so bring your pup along for this outdoor adventure. The Flinders Peak walk starts at the Turntable car park where there are barbecue facilities and picnic tables set up for an after-hike meal.

Distance from Melbourne CBD: 1-hour drive

Track: Flinders Peak Walk

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 3-kilometre return, 1 hour

Bushrangers Bay Track, Cape Schanck

melbourne day hikes

Bushrangers Bay is a sandy beach that opens to the Bass Strait. There are two trails that lead to the beach, but one is more scenic than the other. Park the car at Cape Schanck Lighthouse. From there, the 2.6-kilometre Bushrangers Bay Track will guide you along cliff tops with excellent views of the sea.

The track is sandy and steep in some places, so wear appropriate shoes. Bring a towel so that you can enjoy Bushrangers Bay once you get there. Swimming at Bushrangers Bay is hazardous as it’s known for strong rips, but there are plenty of shallow rock pools to dip your toes in. Follow the same path back to Cape Schanck Lighthouse.

Distance from Melbourne CBD: 2-hour drive

Track: Bushrangers Bay Track

Difficulty: Easy to medium

Length: 6-kilometre return, 4 hours

Hollow Mountain Walk, Grampians National Park

melbourne day hikes

If you’re looking for a challenging and scenic hike, then the Hollow Mountain walk in Grampians National Park is a great option. It involves a little bit of rock climbing, exposed ledges, and uphill scrambles. You’ll know you made it to the top when you find yourself enclosed in a cave-like formation with panoramic views opening up to Wimmera Plain and Mount Stapylton.

This 2.2-kilometre track starts and ends at Hollow Mountain car park and takes about two hours to complete.

Distance from Melbourne CBD: 3-hour drive

Track: Hollow Mountain Walk

Difficulty: Medium to difficult

Length: 2.2-kilometre return, 2 hours

Tree Fern Gully Trail, Yarra Ranges

melbourne day hikes

The Tree Fern Gully trail is a peaceful walk among eucalyptus trees and shady fern plants. The 3.4-kilometre gravel trail starts at Gallipoli Park in Marysville and leads to Steavenson Falls, one of Victoria’s tallest waterfalls. The overhead trees create a cool, shaded and quiet environment that’s perfect for enjoying the surrounding nature.

Tree Fern Gully trail follows the Steavenson River and is an excellent option for beginners as it’s relatively flat and takes about an hour and a half to complete.

Distance from Melbourne: 2-hour drive

Track: Tree Fern Gully Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 6.8-kilometre return, 1.5 hours

(All images: Visit Victoria, lead image: Hollow Mountain)

Published 13 January, 2020