5 Of Melbourne’s Best Hikes To Tackle This Weekend

If you’re looking to ditch the city for the weekend and get all up in nature’s face, hiking should be high on your priority list. But where to? Well, if you live in Melbourne and you’re keen on ditching the Instagrammers and crowds at the famous 1000 Steps in the Dandenong Ranges, you should expand your options a little wilder.

Living in Melbourne you get the best of both worlds – an enviable city life filled with art, entertainment and culture, and access to some of the most picturesque locations this side of the equator.

Here are five of the best hikes to explore on your weekends, two hours or less from Melbourne city centre.

#1 Hanging Rock

There’s a whole lot of mystery that surrounds the six million year old Hanging Rock Reserve in north-west Melbourne – the most of which revolve around that infamous picnic back in 1900. This rare volcanic formation is located near the town on Woodend, and sits dramatically among the Mount Macedon Ranges.

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Offering spectacular views over the dusty landscape, you could spend hours climbing, searching and weaving through the rocks atop this hill, but be warned: things can get a little spooky in those darkened corner caves.

#2 Yarra Bend Park

For a little inner-city stroll, hit up Yarra Bend Park in Clifton Hill. There’s a few different paths to take, weaving around the freeway and the Yarra Bend Golf Course, but whatever road you take you’ll enjoy some primo views of the city landscape.

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Start with a scone at the Fairfield Park Boathouse & Tea Gardens, then a cutesy paddle along the Yarra River and follow it up with a descend down the windy trail beside the river. It’s cruisey Sunday afternoon perfection.

#3 Werribee Gorge

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, Werribee Gorge‘s 10 kilometre Circuit Walk is it. Start from the lower picnic ground and head out on a rugged and hilly adventure through bushland, rocky outcrops and even a bit of cable walking on the side of the gorge.

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It’s a little challenging, but definitely worth it for the panoramic views at the top. If the sun’s out, bring your swimmers and take a dip in the gorge’s icey waterhole for a refresher like no other.

#4 Cape Schanck

The ‘ninsh is Victoria at its best – it’s a plethora of pristine beaches, rugged forests and roads that stretch forever. If you’re headed down there (maybe on your way to the Peninsula Hot Springs?) be sure to make a stop off at Cape Schanck for a boardwalk like no other.

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The 2.6 kilometre trek takes you through sandy bushland, down towards a wooden boardwalk that stretches right to the water. Spy the brave fishermen on the shore, hermit crabs among the black rocks and maybe even a few dolphins swimming in the waves. The view from above is everything though. There’s also rock pools to be found and a lighthouse.

#5 Sherbrooke Forest

With the 1000 Steps filling up quite quickly on weekends, your best bet to avoid the crowds is to head a little east to Sherbrooke Forest. Depending on how much time you have, wander down towards the Sherbrooke Falls and around the windy tracks into the lush verdant forest.

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Finish it off with a quick detour over to the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, a spot so picturesque it wouldn’t be out of place in a fairytale. Seriously.

Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.

Lead image: Visit Macedon Ranges