The best day hikes from Melbourne

Stretch your legs beyond the city: we've collated the best hiking and walking trails in Melbourne and greater Victoria
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
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For a breath of fresh air, head out of the city this weekend with our guide to Melbourne’s best day hikes. From local wonders to seaside spectacles, regional Victoria is brimming with picturesque walks great for getting your heart pumping.

Long weekend on the horizon? Try one of these great getaways. And if you'd rather stay closer to come, here are five great Melbourne walks, a stone's throw from the city.

Less than two hours away

1
Werribee Gorge
Photograph: Steve Collis

Werribee Gorge

Circuit Walk

This walk features a hiking trifecta: gorgeous views, rock scrambling and, depending on what time of year you visit, a post-hike swimming hole. Start at the Meikles Point picnic area and carpark and follow the path as it snakes around the river and uphill via a rocky crest. Head towards the Eastern Lookout at the gorge rim for a panorama of the park’s best natural wonders.

Drive time from CBD: 1h
Duration (circuit): 4h (10km)
Level of difficulty: Medium to hard

2
Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula National Park

Bushrangers Bay Trail

This coastal clifftop walk boasts picturesque vistas over Bass Strait. To begin, set off from the Cape Schanck car park through sandy outcrops, adjacent farmland and banksia forest. Keep an eye out for whales, chatty birds and maybe the occasional kangaroo as it makes its way across the grassy clearings. Top it off with a dip in the cool waves at the trail’s namesake beach.

Drive time from CBD: 1h 30m
Duration (one way): 45m (2.7km)
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

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3
Two cyclists ride through the picturesque Dandenong Ranges
Photograph: Mark Watson, Visions of Victoria

Dandenong Ranges

Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk

Done with the 1,000 Steps? This Sherbrooke Forest walk offers up much of the same ferny greenery but without the hordes of fitness fanatics. Start at Grants Picnic Ground, past the bird feeding enclosure, and follow the first section of the track labelled the ‘Lyrebird Walk’. Keep on the sometimes-steep path, heading right at any turn, to see lush vegetation and the occasional kookaburra.

Drive time from CBD: 1h
Duration (return): 2.5h (6.6km)
Level of difficulty: Medium

Further afield

4
Hiking at The Grampians
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

Grampians National Park

The Pinnacle

There’s a reason the Grampians bring bushwalkers back time and time again. Rough and rocky on first glance, it surprises visitors with hidden waterfalls, hollow mountains and incredible natural amphitheatres. The walk towards the Pinnacle starts at the Sundial car park where hikers can climb through fun geological terrain towards a big lump of rock overlooking Fyans Valley. If you’d like to test your fitness, there’s also a harder climb to the same destination that starts at the Wonderland carpark.

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

5
Mount Oberon look out
Photograph: David Iliff

Wilsons Promontory

Mount Oberon Summit Walk

Starting from Telegraph Saddle car park, this walk follows a windy and shaded path up Mount Oberon towards a postcard perfect view over Tidal River, the coast and local offshore islands. What this walk lacks in exciting terrain it makes up for in astonishing vistas at the summit.

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

Turn it into an overnighter

Travel, Short getaways

The best Victorian campsites near Melbourne

Getting back to nature is good for the soul, and the best thing is that you don't have to make yourself car-sick to do it. There are plenty of places a stone's throw from the CBD where you can lawfully pitch a tent.

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