Want to do some hiking while you’re in Melbourne? You’ve certainly found the right guide! We’ll tell you all about the ten best hiking trails in and around Melbourne, from short walks to multi-day expeditions!
Coastal hikes, bushwalks, and long-distance treks – Melbourne is full of rewarding trails that will keep you entertained for days. Whether you’re looking to explore the city, spend some time in national parks, or just walk to go on long walks at some big beaches, we’ve got you covered!
From circuits around the city to those trails that are an hour’s drive from CBD – here are the ten best hikes in (and near) Melbourne!
Beware of snakes. About 3000 Australians get bitten by snakes every year, and you do not want to belong to that group. So, wear sturdy shoes if you’re going on bushwalks, and try to make as much noise as you can to scare the snakes. If you see a snake out in the wild, don’t poke it or throw rocks at it – just avoid it by taking a longer route.
Prepare for coastal hikes. Coastal hikes in Australia are phenomenal – you’re walking around at the edge of the continent, and admiring spectacular panoramic views. On the other hand, you’re hiking on exposed terrain under the hot Australian sun, and that’s not as fun as it sounds. Bring lots of water (more than you think you need), apply an entire tube of high SPF sunscreen, and wear a hat. It’s also smart to wear light-colored breezy clothes, for optimal comfort.
Yarra Bend Park loop is an easy hike around the golf course in Yarra Bend Park. The circuit hike is 9.5 kilometers long, and it can be completed in 2-3 hours. The elevation gain is minimal, the hike follows paved paths, and there are no hazards on the trail, making this loop trail suitable even for hiking newbies.
The Trailhead is at a parking lot near Fairfield Amphitheatre, just off the main highway. There’s a bus stop just outside the park, so you can easily get to the trail even if you’re relying only on public transport.
Yarra Bend Park is just outside the metropolitan Melbourne area – only about 4 kilometers from Melbourne CBD. It’s a serene oasis nestled between Melbourne’s various neighborhoods, and it’s a nice change of scenery from the more urban parts of the city.
The hiking trail features a forest, a river, bird watching opportunities, wildlife, and it’s perfectly suitable for children and leashed dogs. It’s not exactly thrilling for experienced hikers, but it’s just right if you’re looking to do something fun that’s not too far from the city center.
Glasgow Track is a short but demanding trail in Dandenong Ranges National Park. It’s only a little over a kilometer from the trailhead to Bourke’s Lookout, but with an elevation gain of 339 meters. That means you’re climbing pretty much the entire way to the lookout. Because of that and the very rocky terrain, this trail is rated as difficult and should only be attempted by experienced hikers.
Bourke’s Lookout features some spectacular panoramic views of downtown Melbourne – you can even see all the way to the CBD area. If you’re heading straight back from the lookout, it’s recommended to take a zig-zag route that follows the Dacite Track down, since it’s easier on your knees. But know that you don’t have to head straight back – there are several other trails in the area, and you can continue on any one of them.
Mount Dandenong Loop trail is a great way to kill two more hours and get to see more of the beautiful national park. It follows Kyeema and Singleton-Terrace trails back to the original trailhead, and it’s much more relaxing than the vertical ascent to Bourke’s Lookout.
The closest bus stop to the national park is on Canterbury Road. It’s about a 45-minute walk from the road to the Glasgow Track trailhead, so make sure to take that time into account if you’re relying only on public transport.
Lyrebird Track is another loop hike in Dandenong Ranges National Park. For the most part, the trail is easy and follows a paved path, but there’s one section that’s entirely responsible for the moderate rating. It’s the infamous 1000 steps of the Kokoda Memorial Walk that you need to climb for almost 800 meters. The elevation gain from the top to the bottom of the steps is about 180 meters!
It’s certainly not an easy feat, but the spectacular nature that awaits at the top is more than reason enough to put in the effort. The Lyrebird Track eventually takes you to the One Tree Hill Picnic ground, where you will find tables, a water tap, and a bathroom – everything you need to rest and recharge after the exhausting ascent.
The trail mostly goes through a forest, and there’s plenty of shade along the way. But the abundance of trees also means your views of downtown Melbourne are obstructed, so don’t expect any panoramic vistas on this hike.
The trailhead is at the parking lot at the bottom of the steps, and it’s very close to the bus stop. You can take the bus to and from the trailhead, making it a great option for all hikers who rely entirely on public transport to get around Melbourne.
The Bay Trail is a long-distance hike from Austin Road, Seaford to West Gate Bridge in Port Melbourne. The hiking trail follows the coast, which means that you’re walking along some of Australia’s best beaches the entire hike. It’s a coastal hike, so you will want to wear lots of sunscreen, bring a hat, and pack a truckload of water.
This is an easy trail anyone could do – the only difficult thing about it is walking for 9-10 hours. The terrain is pretty easy, the elevation gain is minimal (25 meters is the highest altitude), and there are no hazards on the trail. You can decide whether you want to walk through the trees, along the beaches, or just follow the main highway.
Interesting sights are abundant along the way, so you can make this a two-day adventure if you’d like to explore more of Melbourne. The Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary is definitely the best detour you can make on this trail, as it features some amazing bird-watching opportunities. Naturally, you can always stop for a swim on one of the many beaches you’ll walk past along the way, and you’ll even come across lookout points that offer spectacular scenic views.
The best thing about this hike is that it’s very close to the highway – if at any point you want to quit, you can just get on the bus.
The Capital City Trail is a circuit hike around Melbourne’s metropolitan area. If this is your first visit to the city, the Capital City loop hike is an excellent opportunity to see as much of the city as possible in a day.
The loop hike starts in Melbourne CBD, at the Princes Bridge. For nearly the entire first half, the circuit follows the Yarra River all the way from the bridge to the Yarra Bend Park. From there, the trail explores the northern part of metropolitan Melbourne and even goes through the Melbourne zoo. After the zoo, the trail follows Moone Ponds Creek to Docklands, and finally back to Princes Bridge where you began the hike.
This simple circuit is suitable for everyone, include total hiking newbies. Think of it as a more structured exploration of Melbourne, with ample opportunities for detours and visits to parks, art galleries, shops, restaurants, and whatnot. Also, the hike stays close to the roads for the most part, and if you ever get too tired, you can just hop on the bus and make your way back home!
The Organ Pipes Track is a short and easy hike to the lookout point in Organ Pipes National Park, just outside Melbourne. If you want to see something unique and exciting, this is definitely the hike for you! The national park was named for the extraordinary geological formation that resembles organ pipes. It’s something you have to see for yourself, and it’s absolutely mesmerizing.
The hiking trail is very simple with minimal elevation gain. In fact, you’re only gaining elevation on your way back. The entire out and back hike is just 1.4 kilometers, and you can complete it in just 20 minutes. There is a longer trail to the top, but even that one won’t take more than 40 minutes.
Since this is such a short trail, I would recommend combining it with a trip to Woodlands Historic Park, just on the other side of the Melbourne Airport. You can do the 13-kilometer Back Paddock Loop of the park, which features lakes, rivers, wildlife, and beautiful views. The park is also a popular horse-riding location, with multiple equestrian centers that will let you go on a ride. A trip to this part of Melbourne is excellent if you want to spend some time in nature, and not among houses and buildings during your entire stay.
Mount Macedon Loop is a difficult trail that should satisfy even the most experienced hikers. The hike starts with an easy trail near Mount Macedon hotel, switching to gravel and switchbacks soon after that. It continues for almost 19 kilometers with a total elevation gain of some 700 meters, for an exciting 6-hour adventure in the Mount Macedon Regional Park.
One thing to note is that the regional park is outside Melbourne, but it’s just an hour-long train ride from the Southern Cross station in downtown Melbourne. The circuit trail is exceptionally rewarding, with several different attractions and opportunities to test your limits. One of those is the Camels Hump – a lookout point at the top of a giant rock. It’s a great climbing opportunity that alpinists are bound to enjoy, with breathtaking views from the top.
This circuit trail also passes near Sanatorium Lake, ascends Mt. Towrong, and descends into the valley below. There are rocks, steps, and gravel roads, so make sure you’re wearing some sturdy shoes with lots of grip and traction.
East Walk and Cowan Track Loop is a moderately difficult circuit hike in Lederderg State Park. The State Park is outside Melbourne, and it’s accessible only if you have a car, so keep that in mind. It is possible to reach with a train and taxi combination, but it’s both pricey and time-consuming – it’s not that good of a hike to warrant four hours and $200 just for transportation.
The trailhead is at O’Briens Crossing campground, and you can hardly miss it. The first half of the trail is fairly easy – it follows the Lederderg River downstream, with almost no change in elevation. You’ll pass by several ruins, picnic areas, and campsites along the way, so there will be plenty of opportunities for rest.
Near the 8 kilometer marker is where things start to get interesting. The trail starts to ascend, and it’s an uphill climb most of the last five kilometers. It’s a tiring climb, but you get to enjoy some beautiful views along the way. There’s a steep descent near the end of the track when the trail follows the Shortcut Track back to the trailhead.
The track is rocky, and some sections can be wet or overgrown, and sturdy hiking boots are recommended.
Blue Lake Circuit is an easy and relaxing hike in Plenty Gorge Park. It’s in northern Melbourne, and you can easily get to the park by public transport. This park is great whether you’re looking to do a quick hike or spend an entire walking, thanks to the variety of trails in the area. The 2-kilometer hike circles the greater area around Blue Lake, featuring beautiful views, wildflowers, wildlife, and lots of bird watching opportunities.
The trail is easy with very little elevation gain, and you can complete the hike in just some 40 minutes. There are several picnic areas along the trail, and even lookout points that you can climb if you want.
In addition to that, this circuit hike actually intersects with some longer trails that explore the entire Plenty Gorge area. If the 40-minute hike is not enough, you can always go on a loop around the park.
There’s the Yellow Gum circuit, which takes you to the eastern side of the park and back in about an hour and a half. Also, there is another loop trail that starts at the same place as the Blue Lake circuit – the Plenty Gorge Medium Loop. This is a 19-kilometer hike that explores the entire park and takes about 6-7 hours to complete. So, if the Blue Lake loop just tickled your imagination, you can always continue hiking for the rest of the day.
The Sugarloaf Reservoir Circuit is a loop hike around the Sugarloaf Reservoir. It’s about a 45-minute drive CBD area, so you can easily get to the Sugarloaf Reservoir Park and make a day trip of it. There are no busses that take you directly to the park though, so it’s not the best idea if you don’t have your own car in Melbourne.
Sugarloaf Reservoir supplies Melbourne households with water. There’s a water treatment plant near the reservoir, and there are several lookout points you’ll pass during the hike. The area is popular for fishing, sailing, picnics, and hiking, so there are lots of things to keep you entertained!
The loop trail makes a circle around the entire reservoir, passing lookout points, and picnic areas. This hike features scenic views, wildflowers, kangaroos, and black-tailed wallabies, so you’re in for a treat! Also, there’s little to no shade on the trail, so make sure to dress appropriately.
The circuit follows the waterline, and the trail is well-marked. There are markers along the way that will help you navigate the walk, and even inexperienced hikers shouldn’t have issues following the path. With minimal elevation gain and easy terrain, the only difficult thing about this hike is the length – hiking for five hours straight is a demanding task for newbie hikers.