With more and more reasons to venture outside nowadays, some of our favourite parks and walking trails have become busier than ever. But there are plenty of hikes near Melbourne if you’re wanting to avoid a crowd.
As people seek relief from their restricted lifestyles, the lure to get out of the house is stronger than ever. As Plant Life Balance advocate Professor Tonia Gray explains, “access to nature and green spaces is important for wellbeing and, given the current unknown but likely lengthy duration of isolation measures, will help maintain morale”.
If you’re looking for a change of scenery, check out these four hikes near Melbourne to escape the crowds this weekend.
The Warby Trail
Lilydale to Warburton
The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is one of Australia’s iconic Rail Trails which meanders through the Yarra Valley between the Dandenong Ranges and the Great Dividing Ranges. The 38km recreation trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders follows the path of the historical railway line which was established in the 1900s to service the agricultural industry of the time.
Take the time to enjoy the spectacular views of the Yarra Ranges National Park, pass through beautiful bushland, wineries and farmlands.
Cambarville – 4km
Ideal for anyone looking for beginners hikes near Melbourne, or a spot to walk little ones – located 18km outside of the town of Marysville.
The Cumberland track is a beautifully scenic spot with waterfalls, a giant tree that towers like something godly from Lord of the Rings standing at 87.84 metres high, and the crown of the hike, the Cora Lynn Falls – all this within the first 2 kms!
If you continue on you’ll come across a picnic ground (for all your stretching and squatting needs) before heading back under the rustling leaves of the forest.
Olinda Falls and Valley Circuit
Dandenong National Park – 15.7km
The RJ Hamer Arboretum is so quiet and has so many tracks it makes it one of the best hikes near Melbourne. You can find the isolation you’re looking for if you take one of the tracks less trodden.
While the Woolrich Lookout car park where this hike starts can appear popular at times, it is the Olinda Falls and Valley Circuit that is the underrated, underestimated, and underpopulated.
Make your way through the western section of the Arboretum heading north to Falls Road and onto Olinda Falls. The Olinda Falls are one of the few spots in the national park where you can stop to rest beside a waterfall, before continuing onto a dirt road that takes you through several tracks of which include a picnic ground, before hiking up a hill back to the carpark!
The Glasgow track
The Dandenong Ranges – 9.3km
This track is for those looking for hikes near Melbourne with an uphill challenge and many steep climbs. Time to work those thighs, hips and butts – but there’s a reward in this one. Once you reach the top, you will truly feel the freedom from the small walls of your home with a view of the city of Melbourne and the surrounding eastern suburbs.
Bonus: this track has many wide tracks for effective social distancing should anyone happen to come your way!
Mt St Leonard and Condons Track
Healesville – 24.5km
This is one of the hikes near Melbourne for the experienced hiker or, at least, someone with a good level of fitness. A 24.5km day hike where the first large chunk is mostly uphill as you climb a steep climb to the top of Mt St Leonard.
Once you reach the top you’re treated to a 360 degree views of the surrounding areas – and a moment to catch your breath! Head down towards the more flat setting of Monda Road until you hit the Condons Track – a lush oxygen-rich bushland of downhill techniques – aka dodge and don’t slip.
Once you hit the bottom it’s finally time for a stroll as you make your way back to the start of the track. This tough hike is well worth the amazing views and self-love you feel upon completion.
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