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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Five Epic Mountain Walks Near Melbourne to Try this Season

Conquer jagged mountaintops and coastal peaks this weekend.
By Hudson Brown
March 12, 2019
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Five Epic Mountain Walks Near Melbourne to Try this Season

Conquer jagged mountaintops and coastal peaks this weekend.
By Hudson Brown
March 12, 2019
  shares

Breaking away from the daily city grind is always a good idea. And getting your heart rate up while you explore regional areas is a top-notch way to do so. This doesn't mean you need to go a country mile to find some awesome hikes, though. Luckily for us, there are loads of trails not far from Melbourne that can easily be completed within a day.

Whether it's jagged mountaintops or coastal trails, you'll be on top of the world when you reach the summit.

This year's bushfire season is particularly dangerous. Before you head on an out-of-town adventure, check the CFA and Parks Victoria websites and heed any alerts and warnings.

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WERRIBEE GORGE CIRCUIT WALK

Situated just 65 kilometres west of Melbourne, the Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk is barely outside the city and can easily be finished with time left over to enjoy the rest of the day. Ideal for hikers looking for a bit of a challenge with their fresh air, here you'll find a mixture of picturesque views dotted along the edge of the gorge.

This circuit is approximately ten kilometres long and should take around four hours to complete at a reasonable pace, including a few water breaks. The surface ranges from loose stones to sand, and has a few passes where you'll need to navigate your way using fixed ropes or scramble up some rock faces.

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James Walsh via Flickr

IRONBARK BASIN WALK

Stretching for about ten kilometres between Bells Beach and Point Addis and taking around three hours to complete, the Ironbark Basin Walk is an inland adventure that includes beachfront sections, ocean views and sheltered forest.

This relatively easy walk is based within the Great Otway National Park and features many of the natural highlights that the region is renowned for. It's also likely that you'll come across the local fauna on your travels, including reptiles, native birdlife and even echidnas. Some of the most stunning views here are found at the Point Addis end, where three separate lookouts offer panoramic ocean views.

In addition, the Ironbark Basin Walk also highlights some compelling local history with the added Koorie Cultural Walk. It takes around an hour and provides insight into how the Indigenous Wathaurung peoples lived here for thousands of years.

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Larry Koester via Flickr

BUSHRANGERS BAY WALKING TRACK

Head 90 minutes out of Melbourne and you'll find yourself at Bushrangers Bay, one of the many stunning inlets along Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula. And by taking a stroll down the Bushrangers Bay Walking Track, you'll get to survey the pristine beauty of the entire area.

Featuring towering basalt cliffs and kilometres of wind-blasted coastal shrubbery, the landscape here has been punished over the years. But, fortunately, the 2.6-kilometre walk itself is rather easy, with a well-defined path winding its way along the cliff tops before arriving at the beachfront.

While going for a swim here is a tempting prospect, keep in mind that the area is unpatrolled and renowned for its perilous waves. It's recommended to only swim during low tide, so finish the walk with time to spare and get the most out of your day.

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Visit Victoria

CATHEDRAL RANGE SOUTHERN CIRCUIT

Like most of the Cathedral Ranges, the Southern Circuit walk is hilly, rocky and simply beautiful. And if you're up for a challenge with stunning rewards, head here to get a glimpse of the sprawling state park and landscape below.

Located a two-hour drive from Melbourne, this trek features steep outcrops, rigid caves and some precarious exposed hillside shelves. But if you decide to take on this ten-kilometre circuit, you'll soon discover that the region's wonderful vistas are pretty hard to beat. Just a few highlights include Wells Cave, The Razorback and Sugarloaf Peak, which, once you reach the summit, will provide you with 360-degree views of the entire valley below.

A trek for the more experienced adventurer, the Cathedral Range Southern Circuit is a memorable four-hour experience that will inspire your sense of adventure like few other hikes in regional Victoria. Hop to it.

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YOU YANGS PEAK CIRCUIT

The You Yangs Peaks Circuit is one of the more challenging treks on this list — hikers not only need to be fit to reach the peak, but will also require some basic off-track navigating skills to get there. Still, for those after a proper hiking challenge who also don't want to be driving for hours, this 12.8-kilometre, four-hour hike is a must-visit within a drivable distance of Melbourne.

Leaving from the Turntable car park, hikers will begin by climbing 450 steps to Flinders Peak, where views across You Yangs National Park and the distant landscape await as an early reward. But from here, things get a little bit more difficult as you head off-trail on your way to the summit.

For those after a real nature challenge, expect a wealth of rock hopping and even some unassisted climbing to reach the top. But don't stress — if it all becomes a bit much, there's a variety of alternative routes you can take to avoid the more difficult sections.

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Top image: Cathedral Range State Park by Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria

Published on March 12, 2019 by Hudson Brown

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