Melbourne is full of pockets of bushland surprisingly close to the city centre. One of them is the walking trail alongside the Yarra River, called the Main Yarra Trail . Like its neighbour, the Merri Creek trail, the Main Yarra Trail is an enjoyable bushland path just on the doorstep of Melbourne's city centre.
Starting at Southbank in the city, this shared pedestrian and bike path follows the Yarra all the way to the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail in Templestowe, near Pettys Orchard (Melway 22 B11).
The whole trail (map here) goes for 35 km, although you can easily do shorter sections.
One of my favourite sections is the walk from Studley Park Boathouse in Fairfield to Loys Paddock Reserve in Burnley. It's around 12 km return and takes about three to four hours. 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.
The boathouse is a good starting point - it's a lovely spot in its own right and a good place to pick up a sandwich or snacks for your walk.
The walking trail then crosses to the north side of the river on the footbridge at the boathouse and takes you west towards Coben Oval. With the path surrounded by bushland, you'd never know you're so close to the city.
There are lots of points of interest along the way. The path takes you by the site of the 1918 World Record Dive by Alick Wickham – a terrifying 62.7 metres from the cliffs opposite.
The path is wide, mostly flat and in most areas is sealed, suitable for bikes, wheelchairs and prams.
After the convent, cross the river on the footbridge and keep following the river south-east through Kew. At the Walmer Street bridge you cross the river again. From the bridge, you can see the Studley Park Vineyard, only 4 kilometres from the city centre.
Still following the river, you can now spot any number of tycoon-style residences perched on the Kew side of the river, many with boats and private piers.