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If you have grown tired of walking or cycling around your own suburb now is the chance to go further afield. In terms of day trips from Melbourne, Geelong and surrounds offers some great walks, hikes and rides. Some are challenging and others perfect for families.
Before you even reach Geelong, the You Yangs, which most people whizz by, offers a number of hikes. Explore the You Yangs Regional Park, where you can not only enjoy some wonderful walks, but you can also bring your dog. The park is located only 45 minutes from Geelong, or an hour from Melbourne.
There are lots of day walks on offer. Highlights include the Flinders Peak walk, which will take you to the highest point in the You Yangs. Climb 450 steps to reach the lookout and enjoy the view of the western volcanic plains, Geelong and Melbourne. Bring a picnic or barbecue to enjoy after your walk.
For more of a challenge, the Northern Range Circuit is a 12.3km moderate grade walk that takes in the quieter northern section of the park with views of the vast countryside. For more information on the park click here.
Bike in the You Yangs
The You Yangs are also perfect for mountain biking with two designated mountain bike areas with 50 kilometres of track. All trails are clearly signposted with directional information and grading.
Another great day hike is the 13.4km Brisbane Ranges Loop in the Brisbane Ranges National Park located about 80km from Melbourne, near the town of Meredith. This hike takes about 6 hours and goes through a rich wildflower habitat. For a map and more details of this walk, click here.
The Barwon River Trail in Geelong includes more than 20km of sealed paths following the Barwon River, with varying vistas of dense vegetation and open flat areas with lovely views. I really enjoyed the industrial heritage section on the track. [/LINK] For a shorter section of this walk, click here.
For a family fun walk, try the Geelong Bollard Trail Walk, an exploration of the unique characters who played a part in Geelong's history. Great spots to take selfies along the way. This walk features 48 sites and more than 100 bollards and will take about two hours one way. Or if you have young children, just do sections of this scenic walk with its ocean vistas. There is also a great ocean pool and a beautiful old carousel.
The Bellarine Rail Trail is a scenic and enjoyable 35-kilometre trail that winds from South Geelong to Queenscliff. The surrounding reserve includes areas of remnant indigenous vegetation offering a tranquil environment for cyclists. I did some of this trail with my kids when they were young. It was fun trying to beat the tourist train.
Ride the Barrabool Hills Tour.
For a more challenging ride, try the Barrabool Hills Tour. At 73km and 176m elevation, this ride will take you through the picturesque Barrabool Hills with breathtaking views across Geelong. The 64km Barwon Heads Tour is an easy relaxed ride that loops through Geelong to Barwon Heads. Here's a map with suggestions of places to stop along the way. You never know - conquer this one and you could be the next Cadel Evans.