The hike has long been a weekend tradition for Melburnians. An off-the-grid walk is one of the best reasons to escape suburbia and the concrete jungle. With so many hikes in Victoria to choose from there's never been a better time to pile the whole family into the car, kids and maybe even dogs included.
Here are the best 8 kid-friendly hikes around Victoria:
Point Nepean Walk
With Bass Straight on one side and Port Phillip Bay on the other, Point Nepean Coastal Walk is a great way for the family to explore the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula. The track itself winds along the coast, up through twisted Moonah woodlands, but it’s pretty easy going most of the way so it’s kid-friendly. History buffs can check out the old gun placements and Shepherd Hut, one of the oldest limestone buildings in Victoria.
Toorongo Falls Circuit Walk
Most Melburnians have heard of Triplet Falls or Erskine Falls, but you won’t find many who have hiked Toorongo Falls in West Gippsland. You’ll find this little circuit trail about two hours out of town, in the wilderness north of Noojee. Toorongo Falls Circuit Walk actually includes two waterfalls: Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls. It’s pretty easygoing. Even the kids shouldn’t have too much trouble. The total length is only around 2.2 kilometres and the whole thing should take about 90 minutes.
Den Of Nargun Circuit Walk
The Den of Nargun is a bit further from Melbourne (just over three hours), but trust us, it’s worth the drive if the kids are up for a road trip. It’s a beautiful forest loop trail that runs 5 kilometres through the Mitchell River National Park. This whole area is technically part of the Bataluk Cultural Trail, which explores the culture and history of the Gunaikurnai people. The Circuit should take about an hour and a half. There are a few steep scrambles, but it’s mostly an ambling forest trail, winding past moss-covered boulders, little river gullies and several waterfalls. The halfway point is the Den itself. The Dream-story of Nargun speaks of a cave “inhabited by a fierce creature that was half human and half stone.” You’ll spot the cave beyond a small waterhole, but please be respectful—don’t climb inside.
Bushrangers Bay Walking Trail
Bushranger’s Bay has always been one of Melbourne’s favourite day hikes, and it’s only an hour’s drive south of the city. The bay itself was named after two escaped convicts. It’s a narrow strip of gravelly sand, surrounded by dark basalt cliffs, with jagged rock pools and some pretty scary rip currents. The Bushrangers Bay Walking Trail runs for 6 kilometres along the cliffs, all the way from Cape Schanck carpark. It’s arguably got the best coastal views in all of Victoria: you’ll get to see Cape Schanck Lighthouse, Main Creek, rocky, windswept beaches, and groves of shady Banksia trees. Pretty much the perfect family sightseeing expedition.
Plenty Gorge Walk
Plenty Gorge Park provides a spectacular backdrop for a weekend stroll with the kids. If you are looking for a reprieve from the urban jungle and would appreciate a place to go bushwalking and wildlife watching, this is the destination for you. The Plenty Gorge Walk will take you along scenic tracks that lead to the wooded gorge and dividing river. You’ll want to get the kids on the lookout for fellow wildlife as the bushland is home to echidnas, kangaroos, herons and swans. The hour-and-a-half walk starts and ends in the Red Gum picnic area so you’d be foolish not to pack a lunch to celebrate the completion of your trek.
Ironbark Basin Walk
GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Ironbark Basin Walk runs from the southwestern end of Bells Beach all the way to Point Addis, snaking inland around Jarosite Mine and the Point Addis Marine National Park. Depending on the tides, you can start at Point Addis car park and walk east along the beach—or do it in reverse. Either way, you get views over a sweeping basin that runs all the way down to the coast. If you’re lucky, you might spot a few echidnas, too. Ironbark is a family-friendly hike as most of the trail is packed with earth and gentle gradients.
Kurth Kiln Walk
GEMBROOK & DANDENONG RANGES
Kurth Kiln Regional Park is as rich in history as it is in nature. What was originally known for its kiln to make charcoal back in the second world war is now a popular spot for picnicking, camping and nature walking. This is a worthwhile pit stop for any family up for exploring the stunning Dandenong Ranges. The Kurth Kiln Walk provides nature seekers with a trail immersed in forest flora and creek views. You’ll follow a loop up and down Tomahawk Creek to start and end your hour-long stroll at the historic kiln. This walk is also dog friendly so you’re more than welcome to bring along your furry child as well, as long as you keep them on a leash.
Flinders Peak At You Yangs National Park
Set out in the picturesque stretch of inland Victoria, the Flinders Peak walk is a decent 3.2km stroll through some of the state's most pristine bushland and terrain. Just over an hour from town, this one easily fits into the list as one of the best kid-friendly walks near Melbourne. The medium-paced track also features a few stretches of elevation but it's all worth it once you take in that view. Not only is this a kid-friendly hike it's also doggo-friendly, fun for everyone.
Maroondah Reservoir Park Walk
Just a short drive from the Healesville township you will find Maroondah Reservoir Park, an impressive 41-metre high dam wall offering walkers a new point of view to admire the diverse landscape. From here you can ogle formal gardens, forested slopes and the reservoir lake. You certainly won’t be stuck looking for a worthwhile view. The Maroondah Reservoir Park Walk encourages families to take a stroll along the dam wall. This is essentially a walk in the park with its paved route. But while the trail is an easy forty-five minutes the views are still just as rewarding. No matter the season, rain, hail or shine, Maroondah Reservoir Park Walk and its Edna Walling-style landscape are beautiful all year round.
Check out the best kid-friendly things to do in Melbourne over here.
Image credit: Urban List