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Best Hikes Within Two Hours of Melbourne CBD

Home > Melbourne > Beaches | Day Trips | Escape the City | Outdoor | Walks | Lists
by Amelia Warrandyte (subscribe)
Walker. Coffee drinker. Writer.
Published August 15th 2019
100% fresh air, guaranteed
Melbourne's suburbs are often a bottleneck of congestion, noise and pollution. Even the most skyscraper-loving city slickers eventually reach a point where an adventure beyond the concrete jungle is necessary.

Thankfully, Victoria's regions are encompassed with many highly accessibly national parks and plenty of walking trails within them. Regardless of your fitness level or desired hiking length, there will be a suitable nature trail to save you from the busy city streets. Below are four popular hikes within a couple of hours' drive from Melbourne.

1. Mount Dandenong Climb

The steep climb to Mount Dandenong is one for the most determined of fitness freaks. Although, the all-encompassing view at the top is what attracts a variety of people to attempt the hike. Beginning at the end of Glasgow Road in Montrose, the fire trail zigzags up the hill for approximately fifteen minutes before turning into a direct vertical route.

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The view from Burkes Lookout at Mount Dandenong.

By the time we reached the top (a full forty minutes of torture), I had sweat pouring out of every pore in my body. But, I admit, it was worth it. In a gap between the dense forest, puffing hikers are able to indulge in a view that showcases all of Melbourne's Eastern suburbs. In the far distance, it is even possible to see the mountains of the Yarra Valley and the skyline of Melbourne itself.

The short (yet challenging) hike is approximately two kilometres one way from Glasgow Road. Despite little signage, the track is easy to follow. I recommend wearing appropriate sneakers or hiking boots, as the terrain can get quite rocky in parts. In Winter, expect slippery, muddy slopes.

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Enjoying the sunset after a climb up Mount Dandenong.

2. Bushranger's Bay Hike

Depending on how lucky (or unlucky) you are with beating the traffic, the beginning of this scenic trail may just be over two hours from inner-city Melbourne.

bushrangers bay, sunset, inlet, cape schanck, mornington peninsula, hiking
A small inlet reaches to Bushranger's Bay.

The easy-to-follow path can be accessed from the Boneo Road car park. All 2.5km of the flat trail is relatively un-scenic, however once arriving at Bushranger's Bay, the landscape becomes remarkable. The bay itself is a large, peaceful cove. Because the beach can only be reached by foot, it is usually quite empty and provides the ultimate feeling of isolation.

My advice is to start the walk in the afternoon, watch the sunset as it falls behind Cape Schanck, and return to your car with head torches.

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Afternoon sun at Bushranger's Bay on Mornington Peninsula.

3. Surf Coast Walk

At just over an hour and a half from Melbourne is Australia's surf capital, Torquay. From this coastal town, walkers can begin a 44km Surf Coast Walk along esplanade paths and cliff trails.

The one-way hike begins at Point Impossible and ends in Fairhaven. Walkers can initiate their hike at a variety of points along the trail and choose to return whenever their legs are tiring.

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Beach walking near Point Addis.

Some of the most popular sections of the walk include:
- Bird Rock to Bells Beach (3km one way)
- Point Addis to Anglesea (7km one way)
- Point Roadknight to Urquhart Bluff (5km one way)

All along the coastal stretch are surfing hubs and forest areas of Cape Otway National Park.

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Surfers make the most of waves near Torquay.

4. Cathedral Ranges Circuit

Two hours North-East of Melbourne is the Yarra Valley's Cathedral Ranges State Park. One of the most popular and admired hikes in this forestry area is the dramatic Southern Circuit, which takes walkers to a high viewing point.

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All-encompassing panoramas from Sugarloaf Peak.

Despite only being an 11km return hike, the Southern Circuit is not a breezy stroll. The trail is considered to be Grade 4 and can take anywhere between 3-6 hours depending on your pace and fitness level.

Particularly around Sugarloaf Peak, the path reduces to a rock scramble and hikers must find their way by following reflector arrows glued onto trees and stone. However, if you are willing to grind your muscles and test your navigation skills, then visiting Cathedral Ranges is a must.

Because the park has been left in a very natural state, wildlife remains in abundance in the area. Not to mention, the views across the surrounding areas are ones to make your jaw fall off.

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Green fields beyond the rugged terrain.

And more.

These four trails are a mere few amongst hundreds of awe-striking hikes in Victoria.

Where is your favourite local hike?
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Why? Escape the city hustle and explore Victoria's favourite hiking trails
When: Leave early in the morning to ensure that your walks are completed before dark.
Where: Destinations within two hours of the city.
Cost: The best part about hiking: it's free!
Your Comment
Long and arduous hikes are off my ahenda these days but even the shortest walks amongst nature are extremely rewarding.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8059) 600 days ago
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