When living in built up areas, it's easy to forget there's a world of fresh air, mountains and wide open fields that exists just beyond our city limits. But exist it does.
Australia is filled with hikes and day walks that remind us of just how good it feels to get outside, explore, and take some time out from our tech-focused lives.
We've put together some of our favourite hikes and day walks all within easy driving distance of Melbourne and Sydney. Coastal views, mountain ranges, and beautiful bush trails are waiting, so put your walking boots on.
Image source: Visit Melbourne
Point Nepean Walk, Mornington Peninsular, Vic
Level: Easy with a few stairs
With views of the Bass straight to the left and Port Phillip Bay on the right, this scenic coastal walk is a beautiful way to explore the point of the peninsular.
There's plenty to see while you stroll, including the Rip lookout, Cheviot Beach and Fort Nepean, a former defensive facility established to protect the narrow entrance to Port Phillip.
Image source: Hiking Fiasco
Werribee Gorge Circuit, Macedon Ranges, Vic
Within an hours drive of Melbourne, Werribee Gorge provides an adventure playground of the natural kind.
This is a hike that has it all; on-trail, off-trail, lookouts, descents, climbs, river crossings, cable climbs and rock hopping. While not ideal for novice hikers, it provides those with experience a thrilling day.
Image source: Adventure Me
Ironbark Basin Walk, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Tucked away between Bells Beach and Point Addis, Ironbark Basin is a beautiful bushed inland basin that runs down to the beach. Along the Ironbark Basin walk you’ll enjoy stunning ocean views and if you’re lucky, spot a few echidnas, reptiles and native birds along the way!
Image source: Adventure Me
Warburton Redwood Forest Walk, Dandenong Ranges, Vic
Distance: As far as you like
A good one for those who want to take a little detour from a day spent exploring the wineries of the Yarra Valley.
With redwoods rising up into the sky on either side, entering into this forest is a peaceful, somewhat magical experience, with the soft springy ground muffling the noise from the outside world.
Wander for as long as you like, or stay and have a picnic with goodies collected from the Yarra Valley Dairy and chocleterie.
Image source: National Parks NSW
Glow Worm Tunnel Walking Track, Wollemi National Park, NSW
This one's just as much about the destination as it is about the walk. Take the easy 1km stretch to the tunnel entrance, past tall forests, lush tree ferns, narrow gorges and beautiful rock formations, until you reach the 400 metre tunnel.
Built in the early 1900s as part of the railway for the thriving mining industry, the tunnel is now home to thousands of glow worms that cling to the dark, damp walls. Switch off your torch, keep quiet, and wait for the worms to light up.
Image source: Best Sydney Walks
Manly to Spit Walk, Balgowlah Heights, NSW
This route takes you on a journey from sandy coves and secret beach to beautiful vantage points of Sydney Harbour.
You’ll need to keep an eye out for signs, but at the highest point of the climb you can see Aboriginal rock engravings of a kangaroo, a whale and small fish at Grotto Point. If the weather calls for it, take a break from walking and stop off at Castle Rock beach for a paddle. Its crystal clear waters will sooth your tired feet.
Image source: Best Sydney Walks
Federation Cliff Walk, Raleigh Reserve, NSW
This clifftop walk takes in panoramic views of out to the Pacific Ocean while it leads you from Dover Heights to Watsons Bay.
The 80 metre sandstone cliffs that guard the approaches to Sydney Harbour are one of the city’s most dramatic natural features and can be seen at Raleigh Reserve. Along the way make sure you also admire the Macquarie Lighthouse and marvel at the dramatic views of The Gap.
Image source: Girl in the bunny ears
Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock, Royal National Park, NSW
Distance: 6.8 return
Part of the Coast Track – a 26 kilometre hike hugging the sandstone cliffs of the Royal National Park - Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock lets you take in a slice of this beautiful trail without dedicating yourself to a 2-day hike.
Starting at Beachcomber Avenue, this well signposted walk is made up of rugged clifftop flats and steep, rocky stairs. It’s a popular walk year round, and allows you to take in the fragile, white rock formation known as Wedding Cake Rock.
With so many long weekends ahead of us, now's the perfect time to dedicate a day to a hike that will leave you feeling energised and revitalised!
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