Melbourne is one of those rare cities that is bustling at its centre but once you leave the suburbs, it really is not surrounded by much urbanisation at all. Outside Melbourne, the state of Victoria has a very low population density. All this means is that there are so many untouched landscapes to explore – aka: a hiker’s paradise.
As many of you know, I absolutely love to hike. That’s why, while I was living in Melbourne I made sure to check out as many different walking trails as I could. I was not disappointed! Whether you are an experienced hiker or just starting out, these destinations have numerous trails with varying degrees of difficulty, so just check them out and find the right path for you!
Day Hikes Near Melbourne
1. Lerderderg State Park
Distance from Melbourne: 72km (around 1 hour)
Lerderderg is a huge park with a variety of trails to choose from. They wind past the river, through the trees and up the mountains. The trails range in length and difficulty, so there is something for everyone. It is also a good place to camp so if you have a bit more time, take a tent and make a multi-day trip out of it!
2. Hanging Rock
Distance from Melbourne: 77km (around 1 hour)
Hanging rock is named after a single large rock that is shaped and positioned in a way that it looks like it’s ‘hanging’ with no support. While this is pretty cool, Hanging Rock Reserve has a lot more to offer. The natural formations are numbered and guide you up the mountain in a roughly half hour long ascent. At the top, basically what you find is a pile of rocks – might sound boring but it is anything but. It’s basically a giant playground, where you can jump over and climb on rocks of all different shapes and sizes. It’s a lot of fun and there’s plenty to explore.
3. Organ Pipes National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 28km (around 30 minutes)
Another awesome hike near Melbourne is actually en route to Hanging Rock and you could easily cover both in one day.This strange natural phenomenon is truly one of the coolest things I’ve seen in Australia. The name “organ pipes” comes from the rock formation which literally looks like giant organ pipes on the wall. This is the main attraction, but you can walk around and see various rocks, all named after different objects which they truly do resemble. This walk takes around one hour. If you are after a big hike there are some mountains around the park which you can climb.
4. Werribee Gorge
Distance from Melbourne: 70km (around 1 hour)
Probably one of my favourite hikes in Melbourne – the views are incredible, and the grass and shrubbery are incredibly green by Australian standards. Again, Werribee Gorge has a few different hiking trails on offer with varying degrees of difficulty. Be aware that the suggested times are almost always over-estimated. I did the circuit track, which was supposed to take 4-5 hours but in reality took about 3 hours.
5. Phillip Island
Distance from Melbourne: 142km (around 2 hours)
Phillip Island is famed for many things, namely penguin-spotting and the Grand Prix Circuit which holds a number of famous events each year. Aside from these things, Phillip Island actually boasts some of the best walking tracks near Melbourne. The one I did was Cape Woolamai, which aside from including Woolamai Beach (one of the most beautiful surf beaches I’ve seen), also features the highest point of Phillip Island, which means awesome views of the whole island. It is also home to some more weird and wonderful rock formations. For more information on Phillip Island walking trails, click here.
Multi-day Hikes Near Melbourne
Now, technically these parks both have trails that can be completed in one day, even including the drive there and back from Melbourne. If you are short of time, I still recommend checking them out in a day hike. But I have listed them as multi-day hikes for two reasons. Firstly, they are both quite a bit further from Melbourne than the other hiking destinations I’ve listed. And secondly, they are both huge and absolutely beautiful national parks that you could spend a lifetime exploring, and have plenty of options for multi-day hikes. Why not make it a little camping trip?
Distance from Melbourne: 250km (3 hours 30 minutes)
The Grampians National Park is one of the most the most famous places in the state of Victoria, and being an avid hiker I knew that I couldn’t miss it. It’s truly a hiker’s paradise, with hundreds of different routes to choose from. Some pass by waterfalls, others wind through the mountains, most offer spectacular views of the Victoria plains and the mountains in the backgrounds. There are plenty of overnight campgrounds also available in various different locations.
7. Wilsons Promontory National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 216km (3 hours)
This must be the best hiking destination that I discovered near Melbourne. It has everything I could ask for – stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, challenging hiking, mountains, fascinating wildlife and plant life… The list goes on. It is just humungous. Whether you just want a quick walk to the beach, or a week long tramp, the Prom has you covered. What I did was call their office and ask for recommendations based on the time I had available and my skill level – they were able to advise accordingly.
Interactive Map of Hikes Near Melbourne
To make things easier, I’ve put together an interactive map with all the aforementioned hikes. This is where they are:
Make sure you find some time to do a hike near Melbourne if you’re spending any time in the city!
Have you been hiking at any of these places? Where is your favourite place to hike near Melbourne?
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