Here are five stunning walks, all within driving distance of the city ...
Great Walks 1: The Great Ocean Walk. “Beautiful coastal scenery, some long stretches of remote beach, an historic lighthouse and a lot of wildlife,” reports Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler on his eponymous blog. “We saw wallabies, echidnas (spiny anteaters, one of which just wandered into our campsite), a seal on Station Beach, a lot of koalas and a wide variety of birdlife including plenty of parrots.”
Great Walks 2: the Grampians National Park. “Millions of years old, the wise, rock formations of the Grampians have seen it all, calmly welcoming everyone from super fit rock climbers to interstate day trippers,” writes Traveller. “While the highly photogenic wildflowers draw in tourists during spring, there's also fern gullies, heath woodland, mountain forest and sub-alpine terrain, all supporting a variety of mammal, reptile, amphibian and insect species.”
Great Walks 3: the Dandenong Ranges National Park. “About an hour’s drive out of Melbourne, some 35 kilometres east of the city, this park has forests of towering mountain ash and lush, damp fern gullies. Reports Explore Australia: “Around 300 kilometres of walking tracks crisscross the park, including several great short and medium walks such as the popular Fern Gully trail and the Sherbrooke Forest loop. There are also plenty of pleasant picnic spots, including Grants and Valley picnic areas.”
Great Walks 4: Phillip Island. “Melburnites have been hitting up the sea-licked island since the late 1880s to pick strawberries and spy on the local muttonbird population,” says Urban Walkabout. “Today’s visitors, however, are more likely to pick up fish and chips and watch the celebrated penguin parade.”
Great Walks 5: Wilsons Promontory. Situated on the southern tip of Victoria, "this spectacular peninsula offers some of the finest coastal hiking in Australia," says Cam Honan in The Hiking Life. Diverse fauna, granite mountains and peaceful Eucalypt forests make it "one of the country's most beloved bushwalking destinations," says Honan, who describes his 59-km circuit of the southern section of the park like this: "Beaches, coves, view from Kersops Peak, sunrises and sunsets, terrestrial fauna (wallabies, emus, wombats, kangaroos and yellow-tail black cockatoos) and for those with a keen eye and a bit of luck, marine life including dolphins, sea lions, seals and a variety of whales including Humpback, Killer and Southern right."
Five excellent walks really close to the city from Time Out
21 Melbourne walks that will take your breath away from Buzzfeed