The Australian state of Victoria has just emerged from COVID lockdown and Victorians are ready to adventure once again. Here are some options for adventure goals in this beautiful state.
Explore the city of Melbourne. The Capital City Trail is a smooth, flat 29km loop that is a fabulous way of seeing Melbourne by bike or on foot. It starts at Southbank following the Yarra river past landmarks such as the Victorian Arts Centre, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the MCG and Melbourne Park . For the second half of the Capital City Trail, you follow the old Inner Circle Railway through Royal Park, Moonee Ponds Creek towards Docklands, pass the Polly Woodside Maritime Museum and then the Exhibition Centre, before making it back to Southbank. Click here for a map that you can download to your phone.
The Capital City Trail. Image Credit: Only Melbourne.
Looking for great views and a post-hike swim close to Melbourne? Werribee Gorge is only 1hr from the Melbourne CBD. The 10km Circuit Walk takes you from the Meikles Point picnic area and up to the Eastern Lookout at the gorge rim for panoramic views across the Country of the Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri Peoples. Parks VIC suggest that you walk the circuit anti-clockwise to return you on the gentler riverside track leaving the completed, steep sections behind you. A 50 metre section of cable handrail is provided to assist walkers on tricky high angle rock above the river upstream from Meikles Point Picnic Area.
Werribee Gorge. Image credit: Hiking Fiasco
If its all about the up, how about 7,300 steps of up? The iconic MCG is the location of Melbourne's annual Stadium Stomp. There are course options for everyone – full course (7,300 steps), short course (1,900 steps) and Junior Stomp (1,900 steps). And for those who want to stomp until they drop – Stomp Unlimited is for you. 2021 dates have not yet been announced but you can get more info and register your interest here.
Prefer a bike adventure? Victoria has 800kms of spectacular and safe rail trails to explore. The easiest to access from Melbourne is the Great Victorian Rail Trail, about 2hrs drive north of the city, with 134kms of trail between Tallarook (accessible by train) and Mansfield. Bring your own bike or hire one from a number of local operators. There is an excellent website with maps, travel information and accommodation options here.
If a mountain adventure is your thing, check out the stunning Mount Feathertop razorback trail. This 22km return hike in Alpine National Park takes about 7hrs and is mostly above the tree line - providing incredible views over the Bogong High Plains. This hike is for summer time only and should not be attempted in bad weather. The trail starts from the carpark at Diamantina Hut, 2.5km from Hotham village (approx 4.5hrs drive from Melbourne). You can find a map here.
Image credit: Remember the Wild
If you are ready to try your first multi-day thru hike, you can't go past the 104km Great Ocean Walk from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles . The reason this is perfect for those wanting to try multi-day hiking is that the campsites are conveniently located 10km-14km apart, meaning that you can complete the walk in as little as 4 or as many as 8 days. You can carry your pack and camp, glamp with a company that sets up your tent while you hike with a daypack only, or choose an accommodated option. There are no rules to adventure - do it your way! The official website is here.
If you would like to get together with like-minded people how about a Trail Festival?. If you have never experienced a trail festival, the Warburton Trail Festival - 6-8 March 2021 - is a perfect option for all levels of runner and walker. Located only 1.5hrs from Melbourne in the beautiful Warburton Valley, there are events for everyone: from the non-timed 5km body positive stomp, to longer 14km (3hr limit), 22km (4.5hr limit) and 50km (8.5hr limit) events. There is even a dash and lilo derby on the Monday - 1.5km on foot upstream, and 1.5km by lilo back down. Beautiful trails, friendly people and a great day out or weekend away. Check it out here.
Image Credit: Warburton Trail Festival - Tour de Trails
Looking for something more quirky? How about the Aussie Ciderthon - 5 December 2021. Yes, this is what it sounds like: an event where you run or walk and also drink cider! Located in the Melbourne suburb of Keilor, this will be the first time the event is held in Australia. Choose your distance - either 5km, 10km or 14km and sample Australia’s best local ciders every 5km. Live music, food, bar, playscape, obstacle jumping castle (for adults too!), and more. Dress ups highly recommended. More information here.
There really are great adventure options everywhere in Victoria. The hardest part is choosing.