Werribee Gorge is a geological gem located approximately 65 kilometres west of Melbourne. Its 564 hectares of native bushland opens up around the Werribee River, revealing steep cliff faces with patterns of folded seabed sediment, glacial material, and lava flow, from what geologists predict is a 500 million year history.
The main Circuit Walk takes three to four hours to complete. Park at the Quarry picnic area, following the orange markers in an anti-clockwise direction.
Along the 10 kilometre trail you'll get to take in native bushland, sharp rock formations, steep and often crumbly descents, thick scrub, a rolling river, rock scrambling and sandy beaches. Remains of an old water race from 1928 that carried water to Bacchus Marsh can also be seen.
Perfect for both first timers, and experienced hikers, there's something for everyone.
Precautions: Heavy rain may cause the river to rise, making the track impassable. The gorge is also a high bushfire risk area.
Arthurs Seat State Park Situated 75 kilometres south east of Melbourne, and made famous by its historic chairlift overlooking the Mornington Peninsula, Arthurs Seat State Park attracts thousands of tourists year round. While the lift is no longer in action, the magnificent views remain.
Many tourists drive to the 314 metre summit to take in the broad view of the coast towards Melbourne, however, the more spectacular views towards Point Nepean are revealed off road.
For the full experience of Arthurs Seat, park at the start of the Two Bays Walking Track on the corner where Bayvview Rd and LaTrobe Parade meet, and make your way up the mountain on various tracks from there. An icy cold drink from the cafe at the summit is a nice reward for the steep slog.
Head south towards the The Kings Falls Circuit walk to upgrade from a two hour summit hike to a half day hike, encompassing the entire area. Well shaded by indigenous flora, the circuit combines boardwalks and narrow gravel tracks. The falls themselves aren't spectacular in summer, but are heavy flowing in winter.
Cathedral Range State Park
This outstanding stretch of upturned sedimentary rock appears approximately 100 kilometres north east of Melbourne. Its seven kilometres of jagged peaks and steep valleys are ideal for exploring.
There are many tracks of varied length and difficulty, and several campsites for overnight hikers. However, even experienced hikers should expect to break a sweat more than once.
The Cathedral Circuit is a good three to four hour introduction to the range and, although quite steep, it showcases views of the Park's surrounding farmland and forests from its several peaks.
Or join several tracks for a full day hike. Follow the river towards Cooks Mill, scramble up a steep valley along Jawbone Creek track, take in the views at North Jawbone Peak, follow the sharp ridge towards Neds Saddle, and continue along the Cathedral Circuit track before a crumbly descent back to the car park. Put aside six to seven hours for this one.
For experienced hikers, the southern end of the range is where the real challenge lies. The short but steep circuit around Sugarloaf Peak will take you to the highest, most exposed point on the range. Expect the circuit to take an hour.