Take a walk in one of Victoria's 4 million hectares of beautifully preserved national parks and reserves where you can experience the breathtaking views from a mountain top, the tranquil sounds of a rainforest or a gentle ocean breeze.
Victoria's parks and reserves offer everything from gentle strolls to challenging walks hundreds of kilometres long, and can take you through suburban parks, forests, mountains, coasts, river valleys and historic areas. So, with the chance to tune into nature and enjoy the fresh air, to be soothed by a breeze in the trees, to feel sun on your face and take in beautiful scenery, you’re certain to want to spend more time walking in Victoria’s parks.
Wonderful short walks for everyone
Sherbrooke Loop, Dandenong Ranges National Park
Starting at Sherbrooke Picnic Ground, this 4.8 kilometre loop walk passes through a variety of spectacular vegetation from moist temperate rainforests and ferns, to towering Mountain Ash trees. There are more than 130 species of birds in the park including the elusive Lyrebird.
Dights Falls Loop Trail, Yarra Bend Park
You may be in the inner city, but being in this park will have you thinking you’re miles away. This 4.2 kilometre loop walk allows you to discover the sites of the former lunatic asylum, while the Galatea Point viewing platform is the perfect vantage point to spot Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, Sacred Kingfishers and Rainbow Lorikeets.
Jawbone Track, Cathedral Range State Park
This challenging 2.5 kilometre return walk takes in rugged landscape features as it follows a steep climb to the crest of the range. Keep a lookout for koalas!
Button-Grass Nature Walk, Bunyip State Park
Offering picturesque views of the nearby Weatherhead, Black Snake and Blue Ranges, this 3 kilometre self-guided walk is home to the rare Swamp Bush-Pea and Southern Emu Wren.
For something more challenging
Victoria has some great long-distance walks, through some of the most spectacular landscapes this country has to offer. You don’t have to be superhuman to do a long-distance hike, but you do have to be experienced. Here are just a few challenging hikes to get you started.
Great Ocean Walk
The Great Ocean Walk is a one-way long-distance walk extending from the Apollo Bay Visitor Information Centre through the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks to finish at the iconic Twelve Apostles, near Princetown. The spectacular walk weaves its way through tall forests, coastal heathlands, wild rocky shores, river estuaries and windswept cliff-tops presenting amazing views. Visit www.greatoceanwalk.com.au for detailed information. Hikers should carry the official Information Guide and Map to the Great Ocean Walk. Call Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963 to purchase your copy.
Australian Alps Walking Track
Discover some of Australia’s finest alpine national parks as this track takes you 650 kilometres from Walhalla to Canberra and along tracks in the Baw Baw, Alpine Kosciusko and Namadgi National Parks.
Great Dividing Trail
This 260 kilometre walking trail, which can be walked in smaller sections, follows the top of the Great Dividing Range from Bacchus Marsh to Bendigo. Linking old gold rush towns, and the forests, hills and lakes that straddle the Great Dividing Range, it allows walkers time to savour central Victoria's unique combination of gold rush heritage and natural beauty.
Great South West Walk
A challenging walk that allows you to experience some of Victoria’s finest scenery including native forests, majestic rivers, breathtaking caves, rugged coastlines and quiet lakes. The walk passes through Lower Glenelg National Park, Discovery Bay Coastal Park and Cape Nelson State Park, and can be explored through shorter or overnight hikes, or the more adventurous can complete the entire 250 kilometre, 12-day circular hike. Visit www.greatsouthwestwalk.com for further information.
Please note that permits may be required for overnight hikes. Contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963 for more information before visiting.
A selection of great parks for walking
Croajingolong National Park
Dandenong Ranges National Park
Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park
Grampians National Park
Great Otway National Park
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Yarra Ranges National Park
Nature-friendly tips for a safe journey
- Make sure you plan ahead and obtain a detailed map before you set off. Don’t forget your hat, sunscreen and water.
- Leave no trace: if you’ve carried it in, then carry it out.
- Stay on a track, even if it’s rough or muddy.
- Where there are no tracks, spread out in open country rather than following each other’s footsteps.
- Keep your party small (4-8 people) and go off-peak to reduce the impact on the park.
- Birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are protected in all parks. Respect their presence and keep your distance.
- Remember to tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to be back.