Weekends were created to inspire spontaneous smiles, new friendships and fun-filled adventures. Every weekend deserves a Weekend Note. Discover more by subscribing or clicking the 'Like' link at the end of the article.
Published August 30th 2016
(by Nick Harris / CC BY 2.5)
Melbourne's cultural, sporting and natural landmarks regularly drive us to the top of 'best of' lists of world cities, with The Economist recently awarding us #1 spot. While Aussies in other states fume at our success, we continue enjoying the enthralling mix of wildlife, landscapes and artistic creations whenever we take a stroll.
From the gentle waves of Brighton Beach to the colourful inhabitants in Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary, Melbourne can be explored on foot using some of our best walking tracks.
(by StAnselm / Public Domain)
On a coastal walk in Melbourne, you'll explore cliffs, beaches, pools, creeks, native plants and animals, innovative architecture and aboriginal and colonial history. On your journey, you'll encounter cafes, restaurants, child-friendly parks, leisure centres, boats to hire, fishing spots and friendly locals repeating walks they've enjoyed for decades. Regardless of where you live in Melbourne, these walks are in easy reach for a weekend escape. Often, you can sail aboard a ferry ride to begin or end your adventure. Each of these walks should be experienced at least once in your lifetime of weekends, but could you choose a single favourite with so many inspiring choices?
Whichever walk you choose, you'll enjoy it but safety is a top priority.
Ensure you've prepared with supplies – water, snacks, appropriate clothing (hat, long-sleeve shirt, jumper, rainjacket, sunglasses, sturdy walking shoes), mobile phone, camera, backpack. Let a friend know where you're going and when you'll finish. These walks are signposted – watch for shared paths to avoid accidents with cyclists.
(by Urgeback / CC BY-SA 3.0)
Each of these walks offers specific highlights, with seasonal festivals and art displays making them popular with millions of locals and tourists:
Bayside Coastal Trail From Brighton to Beaumaris, cliffs and beaches cater for lovers of beaches, seaside views, history buffs and art aficionados. The local council has developed self-guided walks featuring Indigenous, artistic, historical and environmental highlights. On the history trail, you'll encounter Sandringham's H.M.V.S. Cerberus, a century of life-saving drama with bathers plucked from open seas, Moreton Bay Fig trees at Black Rock House and the chequered history of the Great Southern Hotel. Click here for more details.
Two Bays Walking Track Escape the city on the Mornington Peninsula, forging across 26 kilometres of tranquil nature, thriving with kangaroos hopping past as eagles and Superb Fairy-wrens soar overhead. Walk beside ancient grass-trees, stoically edging higher for over 2 centuries. At the halfway mark, picnic at Seawinds Gardens, overlooking Port Phillip Bay. Despite the name, roving criminals don't inhabit Bushrangers Bay, a coastal must-see for the basalt cliffs bordered by Pulpit and Elephant Rock. If you only have an hour or two, there are plenty of shorter circuits to choose from. Click here for more details.
Foreshore Trail As autumn leaves begin falling, Formula One race cars scream around Albert Park, cheered by over 100,000 motorsport fans, many arriving from interstate and overseas. For the visitor enjoying Melbourne for the weekend, Port Phillip's Foreshore Trail is a convenient slice of serenity within shouting distance of the duelling drivers on the race track. The 11-kilometre trail can be tackled in 3 hours but take your time to discover the local foodie and photog treats. Highlights include Acland St's coffee and cakes, Mr. Moon's broad gaping grin at Luna Park and the Art Deco Centenary Bridge. Click here for more details.
Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail Head for the imposing Westgate Bridge, often the choke point for peak hour traffic snarls above the Scienceworks Museum, to begin a maritime adventure. Amble through Williamstown, building pace to reach Skeleton Creek 23 kilometres away. Watch for the signs highlighting the nautical history of the area, as you pass through diverse splashes of nature, with wetlands, beaches and gardens all featured on the trail. You can swim on the Esplanade at Point Gellibrand, tackle the 100 Steps at Truganina Park and breeze through the trail on a bicycle. Click here for more details.
Altona Coastal Park
Tucked into the long Hobsons Bay Trail, Altona Coastal Park entices hikers, cyclists and dog-walkers with 70 hectares of racing history, plant, animal, and geological gems. Birdlovers will delight at the giant petrels, blue wrens, crimson robins and red-legged oyster catchers. Watch your steps though as the odd tiger snake has slithered through the grasslands. If you hear the thundering of horses, it may be your imagination, excited by the last sections of Williamstown Racecourse and the tall red sculpture, Requiem for a Champion. Pause at the salt marshes or continue into the seabed at low tide, 'walking on water' for spectacular views of the coastline at Port Phillip Bay, stretching into Melbourne City. Click here for more details.
As Australia's best coffee brews on another perfect Melbourne morning, which coastal walk do you enjoy most?
With so many options, we'd love to hear your comments.