Writer, bushwalker, dessert enthusiast. Author of crime-caper novels 'Murder with the Lot' and 'Dead Men Don't Order Flake'. More info here: https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/dead-men-don-t-order-flake
Whether you're a diehard bushwalker or just looking for a day out in some fresh air, Melbourne's a great place for walking. From art trails, to lyrebird rainforest to spectacular coastal views, there's a walk for everyone to enjoy. We've rounded up five of the best walks in and around Melbourne.
For a riverside trail offering instant respite from Melbourne's centre, try this pleasant bushland path that follows the Yarra through the eastern suburbs. Starting at Southbank in the city, this shared pedestrian and bike route follows the river all the way to the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail in Templestowe, near Pettys Orchard (Melway 22 B11).
The whole trail goes for 35 km, although you can easily do shorter sections. Along the way, you encounter tranquil bushland, peaceful views of the river, the odd vista of the city towers and bizarre sections of tycoon residences perched high above the river.
There's more detail on the route, how to get there and a link to a map here.
2. Merri Creek Trail Another pleasant riverside path is the Merri Creek Trail (also called the Merri Creek Path). You'd never know you're within cooee of Melbourne's city centre while following this trail as it winds along Merri Creek.
The full trail is 21 km but this is another walk where you can easily do a shorter section. Starting at Dights Falls in Abbotsford where Merri Creek meets the Yarra River, the trail follows the creek all the way to the Western Ring Road Trail in Fawkner.
Near Abbotsford, there's the site of the Merri Creek Aboriginal School, established in 1846. There's also Merri Park Wetland, a 1.4 hectare area of restored wetland. And the path goes by CERES Community Environment Park, a four hectare park dedicated to sustainable living and organic gardening, with a cafe featuring their produce.
See here for more detail on the route, how to get there and a link to a map
3. Coastal Art Trail For a walk that involves an art-fix and zero bush-bashing, try the Coastal Art trail along Melbourne's bayside coast. There are panoramic views of imposing red cliffs, wide sandy beaches, rocky coves and, of course, miles of sea.
The trail follows the picturesque coastline between Brighton and Beaumaris. With numerous lookout points, it's no wonder this coastline has attracted so many well-known painters over the years. It's a great way to learn more about the art history of Melbourne, with more than 50 artworks on signs along the way.
4. Sherbrooke Forest Walk
This walk offers a dose of mountain air, views of tree ferns and a good chance of seeing a lyrebird. It's a 7km circular walk at Kallista, in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. The path winds through tall mountain ash forest, tree fern gullies and grassy clearings perfect for a picnic.
The forested sections are excellent for spotting lyrebirds as well as many other birds, including blue wrens and yellow robins. Listening to a lyrebird imitate the calls of an array of other birds, including kookaburras, magpies, whip birds and cockatoos, is an experience that's hard to beat.
For more detail and info on how to get there, see here.
5. Bushrangers Bay
Finally, if you feel like escaping the city for a walk by the coast, head to Bushrangers Bay, in the Mornington Peninsula National Park, about an hour's drive south of Melbourne. This coastal clifftop walk has excellent views over the sea and rocky bays as well as the spectacular Cape Schanck and its lighthouse.