4 Hidden Melbourne Walks To Try When The Park Is Too Crowded

For most of us, life in lockdown has forced us to reconsider our health and fitness routines in order to stay happy, motivated, and stress-free. With exercise among the slither of reasons people have to leave their homes these days, some of our favourite parks and walking trails have become more crowded than ever as people seek relief from their curtailed lifestyle, despite the warnings to stay inside.

Yet the lure to get out of the house is stronger than ever, and 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”. So it’s important we find ways to continue accessing green outdoor spaces.

If you’re looking to change things up this weekend, why not try a change of scenery by checking out these four hidden Melbourne hikes:

Cumberland Track

Cambarville – 4km

Ideal for anyone looking for more of a stroll, a beginners hike, 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 to k’s!

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/RJ Hamer Arboretum – 15.7km

The RJ Hamer Arboretum is so quiet and has so many tracks that you can find the isolation you’re looking for if you take the track 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!

Note: avoid the over-crowded 1,000 Steps in Ferntree Gully.

The Glasgow track

The Dandenong Ranges – 9.3km

This track is for those looking for an uphill challenge with many steep climbs near the mountain. 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 one is 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.

Need more inspiration?

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