Hiking is so deeply ingrained in Australian culture that they have their own term for it: bushwalking. Here are the ten best hiking trails near Melbourne. 

Australia’s wilderness is vast and varied, from bushlands to steep mountains and sandy surfs to deserts. Starting with refreshing day-hikes near Melbourne that the office-goer can easily get to, and then moving outwards to include some of the country’s most epic multi-day treks, here are ten hiking trails near Melbourne for you to try.

1. Werribee Gorge State Park Circuit

Just an hour’s drive north-west of Melbourne, this is a challenging bushwalk that gives you stunning scenery and an adventure-filled workout. The dramatic angles and shadows of the 500-million year-old gorge formation play on the blues, greens, and yellows of the surrounding landscape, as eagles soar overhead. The trail includes tough uphills and a cable-assisted rock climb. For those looking for an additional challenge, you can choose to extend your hike to Ironbark Gorge, which includes river crossings and rock-hopping. 

Best For: An adventurous workout with great views

Approximate Distance: 12.5 km

Estimated Completion Time: 3 hours / 6 hours with Ironbark Gorge extension

Difficulty: 3 out of 5 stars

werribee gorge circuit walk best hiking trails near melbourne

The view of Werribee Gorge from Falcons Lookout, now closed off from the circuit walk, but accessible via detour.


2. Daylesford Lake and Falls

The area around Lake Daylesford, only 80 minutes from Melbourne, has some of Victoria’s most breathtaking natural scenery. Enjoy the views of lakes, waterfalls, and mineral springs as you listen to an assortment of bird wildlife – swans, cormorants, moorhens, wrens, and cockatoos – chirp at you: a true birdwatcher’s paradise.

Best For: A day trip to a spa town  

Approximate Distance: 18.5 km

Estimated Completion Time: 6 hours

Difficulty: 3 out of 5 stars

daylesford lake and falls walk best hiking trails near melbourne


3. The Mornington Peninsula Coastal Walk

Only an hour’s drive south from Melbourne’s city center, the Mornington Peninsula National Park is a favourite with city-dwellers looking for a nearby escape. This walk along the Peninsula’s southern side gives you a surreal, spirit-lifting experience. Starting from the rugged ocean coast of Cape Schanck, you move into the luscious vegetation of Point Nepean National Park, returning to sandy beach terrain at Rye and Sorrento. You will pass one of Australia’s kangaroo havens, Greens Bush, and surfer-friendly Gunamatta Beach, on the way. Be sure to stop at Sorrento Ocean Beach: its cool rockpools will offer you a refreshing respite from your hike. It is also possible to only do sections of the trail that interest you.

Best For: A restoring getaway from city life

Approximate Distance: 30 km

Estimated Completion Time: 8 hours

Difficulty: 2 out of 5 stars

mornington peninsula coastal walk best hiking trails near melbourne australia

The Weekender

4. The Kosciuszko Walk

One of New South Wales’ most iconic trails, the Kosciuszko Walk allows you to summit Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak, with relatively little effort. Hikers take a scenic ride aboard the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift and start the trail at the top of the ride. You can find the best views in summer: blooming alpine flowers and snow gum trees, and clear blue lakes. Popular during winter as well, the trail turns into a busy ski destination. It is actually a short section of the Australian Alps Walking Track, a 650 km long-distance walking trail winding through the high country of Victoria, New South Wales, and Australian Capital Territory. 

Best For: Summit views for relatively little effort

Approximate Distance: 13 km

Estimated Completion Time: 5 hours

Difficulty: 2 out of 5 stars

mount kosciuszko best hiking trails near melbourne australia

Life’s An Adventure

5. Thurra River Dunes Walk

Looking for a hike to strengthen your calves and glutes? The Thurra River Dunes Walk is perfect for adding that extra level of difficulty to your outdoor excursion. Located in Croajingolong National Park, East Gippsland, the Thurra River Dunes make you feel like you’re on a faraway planet. Starting from the Thurra River Campground, you wind through coastal shrubland and end up on shifting, pristine white sand. As you tower 30 meters above the swelling Thurra River, you can see the expanse of the Croajingolong landscape. 

Best For: Hiking, but with a sandy challenge 

Approximate Distance: 4 km

Estimated Completion Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: 3 out of 5 stars

thurra dunes best hiking trails near melbourne australia

Visit Gippsland

6. The Great Ocean Walk

The entirety of the Great Ocean Walk stretches from east to west Victoria, starting at the charming fishing village of Apollo Bay and ending at the 12 Apostles, the famous limestone spires near Port Campbell National Park. This is called a ‘mild to wild’ journey as remoteness and ruggedness increase the further towards the 12 Apostles you go. Completing the whole trail is multi-day experience, but you can sample sections as day hikes: we recommend Blanket Bay to Cape Otway (10 km one way), Wreck Beach (a 2 km or 4.5 km loop), and the one to two day Milanesia Beach to Twelve Apostles (35 km one way, with the possibility of spending nights at campsites along the way). You pass through heathlands, forests, honeycomb-like rock shelves, beaches with whale sighting possibilities, and eucalypt forests full of koalas, and you can immerse yourself in indigenous and pioneer history along the way. 

Best For: Soaking in a wide array of Victoria’s natural beauty

Approximate Distance: 100 km 

Estimated Completion Time: 8 days

Difficulty: 3 out of 5 stars

great ocean walk best hiking trails near melbourne australia

Great Ocean Walk

7. Perry’s Lookdown to Blue Gum Forest Walking Track

The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park offers some of the best hikes in New South Wales. A 2 hour drive from Sydney, the Blue Gum Forest is a 16-hectare land which was saved from destruction in the early 1930s, when passionate bushwalkers pooled funds to purchase the area. Take a minute to absorb the view of expansive eucalypt forests before setting off from Perry’s Lookdown. Immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of cockatoos, splashing creekwater, and crunchy tree bark; breathe in fragrant eucalyptus and pungent forest earth as you walk. To stay overnight, you can pitch a tent at the Acacia Flat campground nearby. 

Best For: A refreshing retreat into the forest

Approximate Distance: 5 km

Estimated Completion Time: 4 hours

Difficulty: 4 out of 5 stars

blue gum forest best hiking trails near melbourne

Blue Gum Forest Archives – The Habitat Advocate

8. Mount Gower

Climbing Mount Gower is one of the best day hikes in Australia. The mountain is on the World-Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island in New South Wales. On this hike, you wind around the island’s storybook misty forests, lush ferns, and orchid-filled landscape. Along the way, you can see the island’s lagoon, neighbouring Mount Lidgbird, and the volcanic stack, Balls Pyramid. Be prepared to tackle ledge crossings and rope sections along the way!

Best For: An amazing tropical experience 

Approximate Distance: 14.5 km

Estimated Completion Time: 9 hours 

Difficulty: 3.5 out of 5 stars

mount gower

Lord Howe Island Tours

9. The Overland Track

An epic, bucket-list trail for many globetrotters, the Overland Track is located in the secluded Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, beginning at Cradle Mountain and ending at Australia’s deepest lake, Lake St. Clair. Over the course of 6 days, you weave through grassy plains, moorlands, glacier-cut valleys, bluffs, granite peaks, rainforests, and meadows. You can also opt for side trips to other areas of the park, including Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest peak. You can go on your own or join a guided tour, but all trekkers must book online in advance.

Best For: Ticking something off the bucket list

Approximate Distance: 80 km

Estimated Completion Time: 6 days

Difficulty: 5 out of 5 stars



10. Larapinta Trail

The Larapinta Trail is another one for the bucket list. Voted by National Geographic as one of the top 20 trekking experiences on the planet. It runs along the West Macdonnell Ranges in central Australia, starting at Alice Springs Telegraph Station and ending high up in Mount Sonder. The trail is divided into 12 sections that take one or two days each to walk. There is abundant natural beauty in the magnificent gorges, ridges, waterholes, flora, and fauna that you see, and the trail is also culturally significant. Homeland to the indigenous Arrernte people, one of the longest continuing cultures in the world with a history dating back 40,000 years, it is a repository of their heritage and spirituality. The landscape has generated many dreaming tracks (“songlines“). Trailwalkers can pay their respects at sacred sites, appreciate indigenous artwork, and learn about Arrernte culture.

Best For: A transformative experience 

Approximate Distance: 223 km

Estimated Completion Time: 14 days

Difficulty: 4.5 out of 5 stars


NT Tourism

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