Victoria's not all about great coffee and uber shopping. It's got some peaky terrain from mountains to sea which makes for some legendary views. Here's our pick of the top ten walks from coastal cruises to total thigh burners up summits.
Take in panoramic views over Tidal River, the coast and offshore islands from the southernmost point of Australia. Set off from Telegraph Saddle car park and follow the track on a steady uphill climb to the viewing platform at the summit of Mt Oberon. You’ll pass by huge boulders and bush teeming with native wildlife including wombats, emus, kangaroos and echidnas on this 6.8km walk. If you can manage it, consider reaching the summit by sunrise to see the surrounding bush and coastline bathed in golden light.
Make sure you’ve packed layers and a raincoast - the summit can be windy and cool even during the summer months.
Explore the beaches, cliff tops and stunning sculptures along the 17km Bayside Coastal Trail. Stretching from Brighton to Beaumaris, and passing through Sandringham, Hampton and Black Rock, this walk can be cut into sections if you’re limited on time.
Don’t miss the Windhover sculpture by Lenton Parr - a dramatic steel piece framed by stunning ocean - or the carved black marble tower known as the Beacon. Aside from the stunning natural beauty of the region and the dramatic art, this trail also celebrates the region’s rich Aboriginal history.
Don’t miss a picnic stop at Half Moon Bay - one of the prettiest bays in the area!
Wind past some of the most spectacular beaches and bushland on the Mornington Peninsula on this 26.5km track stretching from Latrobe Parade at Anthony’s Nose to Cape Schanck Lighthouse. The entire walk can be completed in a day or choose to walk a section and complete in an afternoon.
This is an easy walk through bushland, river gum valleys and coastline looking over Bass Strait. Keep an eye out for whales off the coast and kangaroos and wallabies as they make their way through bush clearings.
Come the weekend, the famous Kokoda Memorial Track (1,000 Steps Walk) in Dandenong Ranges is overrun with fitness finantics escaping Melbourne for the day. If you’re after a more serene walk through the gentle tree ferns, manna gum and blackwood then try the Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk.
This 6.6km walk starts at Grants Picnic Ground, then heads past the bird feeding enclosure. Follow the first section of the ‘Lyrebird Walk’, making sure you head right at every available turn.
Conquer two summits in one day on this well-marked, 7km trail. You’ll be walking through forests of Alpine Ash and snow gum to reach the summit of the 1,747m high Mt Stirling. From this peak, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of Crosscut Saw, Mount Buller and Mount Buffalo. There’s a number of signs along the trail which tell stories of Mt Stirling’s past as a logging area and facts about the local flora and fauna. Pop culture nuts may want to also check out nearby Craig’s’ Hut - a film set used in the 1882 film The Man From Snowy River.
Head to Mount Buller and take the short walk to the summit. There’s a number of other walking trails around if you’re still in the mood to explore.
The trail may not be accessible during winter month as it’s also used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Follow a disused railway line that once ran in and out of Trentham on this leisurely 12km walk. You’ll travel past running creeks as well as pine and eucalyptus forests on the edge of the Wombat State Forest. This loop walk starts at the Trentham heritage-listed railway station - where you can learn more about the region’s history.
Make sure you stop at Lyonville half-way through where you can enjoy a drink and meal at the local pub.
If you’re up for a challenge then head out to Werribee Gorge State Park for a bush walk full of steep climbs and some cable walking along rocks. The beginning of this walk starts off gently, through a disused water channel built in the 1920s to supply irrigation to the local area. Things start to get a little more adventurous as you make your way around the base of a few small cliffs and scramble over rocks with the help of some wire ropes. After the first 45 minutes of climbing, you’ll then be treated to spectacular views over Werribee Gorge and across the rugged, rocky landscape of the entire state park.
The river is prone to flooding so avoid this walk after heavy rain. You’ll also need to watch out for the red-bellied black snakes and tiger snakes which are common in the area.
Hike your way through some of Victoria’s most scenic alpine terrain and enjoy sweeping views of Gippsland on this two hour walk. Starting from Village Restaurant in Baw Baw’s Alpine Village, you’ll be walking to the summit of Mt Baw Baw before winding your way through the northern part of the alpine resort. The walk includes three scenic picnic areas at Mueller’s Lookout, Summit Cairn and Downey’s. Return to the village to spend the rest of the afternoon admiring the view over Latrobe Valley with a glass of wine in hand at the Village Restaurant.
It’s not recommended to hike this 2.5km trail during skiing season as the track intersects with some key ski runs.
This 5km walk in the middle of Mitchell River National Park is a must-do if you’re road tripping through East Gippsland. You’ll be treated to lush rainforests, waterfalls, pools and the highlight of the trail, the Den of Nargun. According to Aboriginal legend, a half-stone, half-human creature known as the Nargun once lived in the cavity underneath the falls. Please refrain from entering the cave - visitors are asked not to due to its cultural significance. Keep an eye out for some of the birds known to inhabit the area including swift parrots, owls and peregrine falcons.
There are plenty of epic picnic spots along the way, and even a BBQ area complete with working gas BBQ at the Den of Nargun, so make sure you take some lunch supplies with you.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to conquer Victoria’s highest mountain then head for the Staircase Spur Trail. The trail begins just past the Mountain Creek picnic area, off the main vehicle track. Be warned, like the name suggests, the Staircase Spur Trail is a steep ascent for experienced walkers only. Take a break at Bivouac Hut, located halfway along the climb, before carrying on along the track through snow gums and alpine scrub. You’ll then reach the summit plateau. This exposed plain offers little shelter from the strong winds, fog, freezing temperatures, rain and snow so be prepared to turn back if conditions are bad. And please pack, warm clothes, water, hat and sunscreen depending on the season.
If the weather is looking fine, carry on to the summit. From the summit you can either choose to return via the staircase or Eskdale Spur.
This is a challenging hike so make sure you are fit and well prepared for different weather conditions.
Banner Photo Credit: Visit Dandenong Ranges