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Best Melbourne COVID Walks from Your Front Door

Home > Melbourne > Art | Dog Friendly | Outdoor | Parks | Walks
by Julie Mundy (subscribe)
Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog:
Published July 12th 2020
Walking adventures from your front door
COVID Mach 2.0 in Melbourne has seen us needing to exercise close to and from our homes, rather than head out to known walking tracks. Some of us are luckier than others in terms of what might be in our backyard, however, don't despair - you might be surprised at the hidden wonders just around the corner! Here's some ideas to keep it varied and fun as you pound the pavements of your local suburb.

1. Check out the bluestone alleys, short cut paths and old laneways
Melbourne, laneways, walks, autumn
Melbourne's hidden laneways can be beautiful

It's not just the CBD which has amazing laneways - much of Melbourne (even new developments) have all sorts of walkthroughs and foot-traffic only walkways, and the inner suburbs have miles and miles of old bluestone alleys, some of which can be real hidden gems. As you walk through the oldest of them, remember they were originally built for the 'night soil' dunny cart men and ice deliveries in the days before indoor plumbing and refrigeration. Ask your grandparents about it, as many of them have stories to share!

My local is overgrown and different with every season. Some alleyways have been adopted by their neighbouring properties and have vegetable and herb gardens and seats to rest on - treasured urban oases.

2. Download your local council walking app to discover your local history
Glen Eira Walking Tour apps
Glen Eira Walking Tours app is available on the App Store or Google Play

Many of Melbourne's councils have really great free walking apps - some narrated by quirky historians and comedians. Try 'Glen Eira Walking Tours' for the Rosstown Rail Trail walk and many others. Most councils will often have free walks brochures on their websites.

3. Set a theme for your daily walk (particularly good with kids)
Let's see - each of these can set you up for a different discovery each day
Flame Tree, Melbourne, parks
Flame Tree in Elsternwick

- Hunt down the historic homes local icons in your area

- Go urban birdwatching - how many parrots can you spot in the trees (good for late afternoon/early morning walks)

- Go rare or flowering tree hunting

- See how many red post boxes you can include in one walk

- Take photos of blue objects while out and about

- Find the houses with dragon finials on their roof

- Seek out the teddy bears and butterflies which people are putting in their windows and gardens, or the chalk footpath messages to cheer each other up during COVID

- Find a new cafe a bit further away than your 'usual' and grab a takeaway coffee or chai to help support them

- Look for diverting sculptures and water features in the gardens of the houses you walk past

- Go for a walk to the local town hall, just to check out its beautiful architecture


4. Follow the water!

Sir William Fry Reserve, parks, Melbourne
Sir William Fry Reserve wetlands

Melbourne is run through with all sorts of water - rivers (Some underground!), ponds, creeks, canals, lakes, bay, swamps - what's in your suburb? Where there is water, there is usually a walking trail and increasingly so as councils look to encourage physical activity.

The walk beside Werribee River is a total delight; as are many miles of the Merri Creek, Gardiner Creek and Dandenong Creek Trails, or the Elwood Canal path and the Yarra River trails. Lots of the newer suburbs have done a great job of building in recreational paths around their water features too such as the Tarneit and Skeleton Creek Wetlands. However, even small local parks often have very beautiful water features. This small lake at William Fry Reserve is full of ducks and its trees were laden with screaming lorikeets when I visited.

Of course, if you are lucky enough to live by the bay from Altona to the Peninsula, the walking options are endless with wonderful bayside walking and cycling trails, but even inland there is always water to be found to still the mind.

4. Turn your walk into a picture!

Two friends of mine have built this into a high art form in the first shut down - using a GPS app to track their walks and taking requests! Check out their fish!

They got inventive enough to do snails, crocodiles, butterflies, maps of Australia and even a Yoda. Have a 3D image in your head as you walk along and see how accurate you can get. Try posting it like my friends do and play a creative guessing game with your FB friends.

walks, tracks, Melbourne, trails
How 'picturesque' a walk can you invent?

5. Look for the street art
street art, Melbourne
Local street art to make you smile
Melbourne is well known for its city laneways of edgy street art - but many of its suburbs have incredibly talented artists just waiting to be discovered. Set yourself a goal of finding a new bit of street art each week to inspire you: you might be surprised where you find it. Some businesses and even local homeowners are commissioning art for their bare walls, others turn up on council-sponsored 'canvasses', yet others appear spontaneously, often with great wit and timing.

In this way, I can guarantee you will discover all sorts of things about your local neighbourhood you never knew before, and which you would never notice from a car. What other ideas have you tried to turn your local walks into an adventure during the lockdown?

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Why? Because there's a lot more in your own backyard than you ever knew!
When: 24/7 - though daylight best!
Where: Start from your front door and go!
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Helpful article. Is that first photo of the laneway in Balwyn?
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|6087) 673 days ago
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