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TRAVEL & LEISURE

The Seven Best One-Day Hikes Near Melbourne

Swap the pavement for bush tracks, coastal walks and mountain peaks.
By Alexandra Milne
March 24, 2017
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By Alexandra Milne
March 24, 2017
  shares

Lucky for us Melburnians, some of Australia's most breathtaking hiking terrain is within easy reach of the city limits. And hiking is a year-round activity in Oz, so it's always a good time to swap the city streets for dirt roads and bush tracks. Victoria is plentiful in coastal trails, inland waterfalls and alpine terrain — so whether you want to stop for a swim, stroll for half a day or spend the weekend trekking up a mountain, these walks will cover just about any whim and any time constraint. Here are the seven best one-day hikes near Melbourne. It's about time you ticked them off one-by-one.

From 11.59pm on Sunday, October 18, travel to regional Victoria is only allowed for permitted purposes within 25 kilometres of your home. At this time, you still cannot travel into regional Victoria for exercise or recreation. For more information, head to the DHHS website.
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Alexandra Milne

KALIMNA FALLS TRAIL, GREAT OTWAY NATIONAL PARK

Hiking to Kalimna Falls is the ideal activity for a hot afternoon. Start off with a scenic drive to Lorne along the Great Ocean Road — making sure to allow more than two hours when traffic is heavy. Alternatively, the inland route is substantially quicker (but not nearly as picturesque). The hike itself is eight kilometres return to the Sheoak picnic area, with the option to back-track along the same path or turn onto the Garvey Track, which follows a ridge line to the picnic area. The highlight of this walk is the peaceful lower falls — during off-peak hours, it feels like your own private swimming hole. If you like a bit of rock climbing, make sure to head up to the 15-metre-high upper falls too.

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Hikers on Mount Feathertop in Victoria's High Country

Visit Victoria

MOUNT FEATHERTOP VIA RAZORBACK TRAIL, ALPINE NATIONAL PARK

The Razorback Trail up to Mount Feathertop is a 22-kilometre behemoth in the Alpine National Park — and it's not for the fainthearted, or for windy days. But for all the commitment and hardship, this hike is truly worth it for the stunning views. Be sure to wear-in your hiking boots prior to setting out and take lots of water and sunblock. If you want to do the hike over two days instead, there is a campsite on the way up. Even if you hike it all in one go, you'll need to stay one night in the area, since the park is located over 5 hours' drive northeast of Melbourne. Find a cosy cabin to spend the night in — there are plenty of accommodation options at Mount Hotham, Dinner Plain, Harrietville and Bright.
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Steve Collis via Flickr

WERRIBEE GORGE CIRCUIT WALK, WERRIBEE GORGE STATE PARK

If you're looking for a hike that will get you home by lunchtime, head to Werribee Gorge State Park — it's only an hour out of the CBD. Starting at the Quarry Car Park, the main circuit takes you around the top of the gorge and down again to the bottom. With the great rock faces looming on either side of you, it feels like a scene out of Jurassic Park — which makes sense, considering Werribee Gorge has been forged by 500 million years of geological history. The main circuit is about eight kilometres, takes approximately three hours and is clearly signposted. Do not attempt this trek after heavy rainfall though, as there's plenty of rock scrambling involved.
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Grampians National Park by Ain Raadik Photography via Visit Victoria

MOUNT ROSEA WALK, GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK

The Grampians are among the most spectacular mountain ranges in Victoria and are home to one of the region's most epic multi-day hikes. If you're looking for a shorter stay, the Mount Rosea Walk takes just four-to-five hours to complete — but that doesn't mean it's a breeze either. Without a clear path, you have to hunt for markers scattered along the trail, and occasional rock scrambling keeps it interesting. You'll also cross a suspended bridge at great heights along the way. And a four wheel drive is recommended to traverse the unsealed roads that lead to the walk. As such, this track is best for those who are a little adventurous. While this national park is a three-hour drive away, there are plenty of campgrounds and hotels in the area if you plan to stay the night.

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Split Point Lighthouse via Visit Victoria

CURRAWONG FALLS TRACK, GREAT OTWAY NATIONAL PARK

Aireys Inlet is a quiet town 90-minutes from Melbourne. Close to both the beach and the Otways, the area is great for hikers — but our pick is the trail that runs along Ironbark Gorge to Currawong Falls. This 10.2-kilometre circuit starts at Distillery Picnic Area and takes around three-to-four hours to complete. There are a number of hikes that start from this spot, so make sure you pay attention to the signs to avoid getting lost. Along the way, you'll pass through spring wildflowers in the Ironbark Forest, traipse through heathlands dotted with tree ferns and spot wallabies at the melaleuca swamp. Ancient flowering grass trees can also be seen throughout the trail. Once you reach the top, enjoy some seriously stunning vistas, with the Split Point Lighthouse in full view. cp-line

Bells Beach by Mark Chew via Visit Victoria

SURF COAST WALK, GREAT OCEAN ROAD

The Surf Coast Walk is a whopping 44 kilometre track connecting the towns of Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. But you don't have to cover the entire 44 kilometres in one day. With 12 trail heads to choose from, just pick a section that suits you. The walk is one-way, but regular car shuttles and local buses run throughout the day (be sure to check the timetables ahead of time). Your best bet is to leave early in the morning so you can fully enjoy the beachside walks before high tide — one of our favourites is Bells Beach. This popular hike is great for beginners, but not for those who hike for seclusion. But these astounding ocean views are well worth battling the crowds for.

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Tamyka Bell via Flickr

MOUNT BOGONG VIA STAIRCASE SPUR TRAIL, ALPINE NATIONAL PARK

Mount Bogong is the tallest mountain in Victoria, and the Staircase Spur Trail (as the track is very appropriately named) will get you to the summit. The 16-kilometre return walk can be completed in either one or two days — there are campsites with huts, drop toilets and water along the track. Be sure to check the weather beforehand and plan the hike on a clear day. when you'll be rewarded with spectacular, panoramic views of the Alpine area. If you go in poor weather, well, you're in for a lot of discomfort and disappointment. Needless to say, this walk is best for those with hiking experience and good fitness.
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Top Image: Hikers at Feathertop by TNE via Visit Victoria

Published on March 24, 2017 by Alexandra Milne

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