Melbourne as the second biggest city in Australia may surprise you with the abundance of parks and gardens. The city itself is so green! There are also walking tracks near Melbourne that all outdoor enthusiasts will certainly appreciate. What’s interesting, you can get to those places without a car, just using public transport. Isn’t that cool?
If you are staying in Melbourne for a while, you may be interested in taking a day walk nearby the city or a bit shorter one on Saturday afternoon. If you enjoy outdoor activities, make sure to check my list of walking tracks near Melbourne. Good news is that you don’t have to own a car to get to those places!
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WALKING TRACKS NEAR MELBOURNE – MAP
This map presents the location of walking tracks near Melbourne. Click on the map to see the details. Further information on how to get to those places and some travel tips are given below. Have a read to make sure you are well-prepared for your walk!
DANDENONG RANGES NATIONAL PARK
Dandenong Ranges National Park offers several walking tracks that go through a tropical rainforest. A short travelling distance, only 40 minutes in a car or an hour on train, makes it a perfect weekend getaway from Melbourne. Walking tracks in this national park are not difficult, but they are very poorly marked. It feels more like orienteering than a proper hike on a well-marked trail. I think that using google maps is essential here.
1000 STEPS KOKODA WALK
This is definitely the most popular walking track near Melbourne. 1000 Steps Kokoda Walk goes around 290 metres up through an evergreen rainforest. This walking track is quite steep but relatively short. The number of steps you have to climb will surely raise your heart rate. It’s a shame that after such an effort, there is no spectacular view from the top.
Walking track: around 3 km, 1,5 hours (both ways)
HOW TO GET THERE?
By car or train from Flinders Station, Melbourne. If you are going to use public transport, get on the train that goes to Belgrave and get off at Upper Ferntree Gully Station. Then you will have to walk for about 20 minutes to get to the point where 1000 Steps Kokoda Walk starts.
1000 Steps Kokoda Walk
MT DANDENONG CIRCUIT
This walking track includes several shorter trails that go through Dandenong Ranges National Park. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy task to navigate in this area. This walking track is poorly marked. There are some signs with names of particular trails but honestly, I was struggling to find my way a couple of times. In fact, I got lost twice! The best idea is to follow the below instructions and use google maps as a reference.
This walking track starts and finishes at the Olinda Recreational Reserve. Walk along the Olinda-Monbulk Road towards Monbulk. Once you pass the Golf Course, turn left on the Chalet Road (next to Olinda Pool). After several minutes, turn left on Golf Course Track/Rock Track. Then turn left again at the junction with Cornius Track. At next junction with Mathias Track, go straight onto Blackhole Track and then Join KC Track. A while later, turn left onto Rifle Range Gully Track.
After a few kilometres, turn left onto Bartlett Track. It joins onto the Falls Road. A short way down the Falls Road, join Mechanics Track that leads to Olinda Falls. You will spot here the signs to Olinda Falls. Walk down to see the waterfall and then go back and walk towards the Olinda Falls Picnic Area. Once you pass the Olinda Falls Picnic Area, turn left onto the Falls Road and then turn right onto Mechanics Track. Mechanics Track crosses over the Farndon’s Road and goes to the Tourist Road. Cross the Tourist Road and walk up towards the Mt Dondenong Arboretum.
This path joins the Ridge Road and you have to cross over to Kyeema Track. Follow Kyeema Track and after next 100 metres you should notice Trig Track that goes to Mt Dandenong Summit. Go back the same way and follow Kyeema Track towards Burkes Lookout. Turn right at the junction with Tower Track and go down the hill.
Turn right onto ZigZag Track, then turn left onto Channel 10 Track. Continue Channel 10 Track until you reach the junction with Dandenong Creek Track. Turn right and follow Dandenong Creek Track until you reach the Olinda-Basin Road. Turn left onto the Olinda-Basin Road and walk next 200 metres until you spot Caterpillar Track on the right. Continue Caterpillar Track until you get to Dodds Track and then follow the Dodds Road. The Dodds Road joins the Range Road. Turn left here and return to the Olinda Recreational Reserve.
Walking track: around 15,6 km, 5 hours (loop)
HOW TO GET THERE?
By car that you can park at the Olinda Recreational Reserve or by bus number 688. The bus stop is located near 1000 Steps Kokoda Walk. If you are going to catch the bus, make sure to get off at Parsons La.
Mt Dandenong Circuit
If you plan on walking both trails on the same day, I would suggest to start from 1000 Steps Kokoda Walk. You don’t have to do the entire Mt Dandenong Circuit if you don’t have enough time. It may be shortened dependently on your preferences. If you are going to walk both trails and use public transport to get to Dandenong Ranges National Park, you can go back to Melbourne from Upper Ferntree Gully Station as well as from Croydon Station. The bus number 688 goes to both stations.
YARRA RANGES NATIONAL PARK
Yarra Ranges is an extensive national park that offers plenty of walking tracks. This mountainous area is covered with Mountain Ash trees, one of the world’s tallest tree species. These trees are pretty spectacular! Yarra Ranges National Park is easily accessible by car but not only. Good news is that you can use public transport to get to Marysville, Healesville and Warburton from Melbourne and it will not take you ages. So why don’t you go to any of these towns for the weekend to enjoy the walking tracks and majestic rainforest scenery?
MOUNT DONNA BUANG
Mount Donna Buang is the highest mountain in Yarra Ranges National Park (1250 metres). The walking track starts in the town of Warburton. To find its beginning, cross over the Yarra River, preferably by Swing Bridge. Turn left after the bridge and look out for the Martyr Road on the right. There is a sign attached to the pole that points the direction to Mount Donna Buang. Walk up the Martyr Road until you notice a path that moves left into bush. There is also a big sign just before this path, so I’m pretty sure that you won’t miss it. This is the place where the actual walking track begins. From this point, it’s quite easy to follow the trail. You just have to climb up until you reach the Mount Donna Road that goes to the top of the mountain (don’t be surprised by the fact that you can drive up Mount Donna Buang which most people do!). Cross the Mount Donna Road and follow a wide path that leads through the forest. Within next hour, you should spot a viewing tower. If you do, it means that you reached the peak.
Walking track: around 12 km, 7 hours (both ways)
LA LA FALLS
Not far from the town of Warburton, there is a walking track that goes to La La Falls. It begins at La La Falls Car Park. To get to La La Falls Car Park, follow the Old Warburton Road (google maps may be useful).
Walking track: around 3 km, 1,5 hours (both ways)
La La Falls
MT LITTLE JOE
Mt Little Joe is a quite steep hill located in the middle of bush. What a shame that there is no view from its top! It’s still a pleasurable walk though. You can reach Mt Little Joe walking from La La Falls Car Park. Just return to the Old Warburton Road. At first junction, you will notice that the Old Warburton Road turns left and right towards Warburton. Turn left there and walk up the road until you see a trail on the right that moves into the forest. It’s Mt Little Joe Track. Follow this track until you spot a steep trail (even very steep!) on the left. It will take you to Mt Little Joe. To get back, you can take any path that goes down the hill. It just depends where are you going next. I used google maps to navigate back because I headed to the closest bus stop.
Walking track: around 8 km, 4 hours (loop)
HOW TO GET THERE?
By car or train from Flinders Station, Melbourne. If you are going to use public transport, get on the train that goes to Lilydale and get off at Lilydale Station. Then catch the bus number 683 and get off at any bus stop in the town of Warburton.
Warburton is a small and peaceful town. I think that two days here are enough to enjoy the local walking tracks. I came to Warburton for the weekend and climbed Mt Donna Buang on the first day. The second day kicked off with a short walk to La La Falls, followed by a hike to Mt Little Joe.
MERRI CREEK TRAIL
Any idea how to spend a day in Melbourne in an active and enjoyable way? Why don’t you try a walking track that starts in Melbourne? Merri Creek Trail begins 4 km from the city, at Dights Falls and finishes at Moomba Park in Fawkner. This walking track goes along the creek so all you need to do is to follow the river. There are many parks, bridges, metal constructions on the trail which make it very interesting. You don’t have to walk the entire trail all at once. If you get tired, just catch a train or bus as there are many stations and bus stops close to the trail. Merri Creek Trail is also perfect for bike lovers.
Walking track: 20 km, 4 hours (one way)
MAIN YARRA TRAIL
Another idea for an active afternoon in Melbourne is the Main Yarra Trail. This walking track starts at Flinders Station, goes along the Yarra River and finishes at Eltham Station. It’s 40 km in total! Anyone fancy doing it all at once? It’s not necessary because there are a lot of train stations and bus stops along the trail so it won’t be difficult to catch a train or bus half way. I walked Main Yarra Trail on two different days, from Eltham to Heidelberg and then from Heidelberg to the city.
Walking track: 40 km, 8 – 10 hours (one way)
MERRI CREEK OR MAIN YARRA TRAIL?
If I had to choose between Merri Creek Trail and Main Yarra Trail, I would definitely recommend you to take the first one. I think that Merri Creek Trail is more diverse, especially the walking track from Dights Falls to Cable Suspension Bridge (first 10 km). If your time to explore walking tracks near Melbourne is limited, I do think that this part of Merri Creek Trail will be your best choice.
That’s it! These are the walking tracks near Melbourne. Do you have any questions about those places? Let me know by leaving a comment below.