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Best day walks near Melbourne
People have asked which are the best day walks close to Melbourne. Here are a few favourite day walks along with references to track notes in reliable and widely available guide books. --© David Sisson 2 January 2012
(Dandenong Ranges, Belgrave - Kallista). Tall forests and tree fern gullies. Grade: Easy-medium or Medium.
Described in Day walks: Melbourne, John Chapman, 2005 pp. 117 - 120. There are plenty of cross linking tracks so the walk can be lengthened or shortened to individual tastes.
Mt Macedon circuit
(Central Victoria) Tall forest, great views and an attractive village. Grade: Medium - Hard.
An nice long circuit from the pub to The Cross to Camels Hump - Sanatorium Lake and Mt Towrong. Described in Day walks: Victoria. 2nd ed. John Chapman, 2011. pp. 88 - 93.
(Dromana). Hills, coastal views and a waterfall. Grade: Easy - medium.
Mt Donna Buang and Mt Victoria
(Warburton) See description on this website
(Taggerty - Thornton) See the description on this website.
Greens Bush, Bushranger Bay and Cape Schanck
(Mornington Peninsula). Grade: Easy - medium. Described in Day walks: Victoria. 2nd ed. John Chapman, 2011. pp. 128 - 131. The route in the walks involves a short car shuffle but if you don't have a second car, the walk from the Boneo Road car park to Cape Schanck, returning by the same route is still worthwhile. Optional climb of Elephant Rock for the adventurous at low tide.
George Bass Walk
(Kilcunda) Coastal hills and cliffs. A pleasant walk along the scenic West Gippsland coast near Phillip Island. Described in Day walks: Victoria. 2nd ed. John Chapman, 2011. pp. 135 - 139. The route covered in these track notes walk also involves a car shuffle, but if you only have one vehicle, the walk from the Punch Bowl Road carpark to the Kilcunda trestle bridge and return (with lunch at the Kilcunda Pub) is also a good walk, the views are quite different on the way back, so the backtracking isn't dull.
Conditions can be a bit bleak around Melbourne in winter, but area to the west of Melbourne is warmer and dryer than most other areas, so it is well suited to day trips in winter. Conversely, conditions are usually too hot and dry to be comfortable in summer, so they are best avoided between December and March.
You Yangs and Flinders Peak
(Lara). Open forest, heathland and a great view. Grade: Easy - medium. A good shortish walks is an ascent of Flinders Peak, followed by a circuit of the same hill. If you want to spend longer in the area, a walk around the Branding Yard circuit is worthwhile. Described in Day Walks: Melbourne. John Chapman, 2005. pp 42 - 46. A few things have changed since this was published, but the notes are still accurate.
Werribee River Gorge
(Bacchus Marsh). A rugged gorge, ironbark woodland and secluded river beaches. Grade: Medium. Notes for a short walk are in Day walks: Victoria. 2nd ed. John Chapman, 2011. pp. 84 - 87. This walk can be extended by climbing from just east of Needles Beach to Western Bluff and the railway line and descending via Ironbark Gorge making a figure 8 shaped walk for the day. The best map for the area isLerderderg and Werribee Gorges, 1:20,000. Meridian Maps.
More ideas for walks west of Melbourne can be found in Glenn Tempest's excellent guidebook: Melbourne's western gorges: a walkers guide to the Brisbane Ranges, Werribee and Lerderderg Gorges. Open Spaces, 2011. It has a good coverage of walks west of the city, although it excludes the You Yangs and Long Forest.