Melbourne escape-artists are spoilt for choice when it comes to weekend adventuring.
Which ever direction you decide to throw a metaphorical stone from the CBD, it’s likely to land on either a secluded forest trail, a wild and rugged coastal track or plop into a remote mountain stream that’s teeming with fish.
With the help of expert Victorian hikers who’ve conquered more trails than most of us have had hot dinners, we’ve simmered down the plethora of options to bring you five absolute pearlers. Special thanks to Darren from Trail Hiking and Neil from Bushwalking Blog.
Right, time to dust down the backpacks folks; Summer’s here and there’s a trail out there with your name on it:
1) Beeripmo Walk (20.6km)
Duration: 1-2 days
Distance from Melbourne: 221km
The Beeripmo Walk represents a challenge for the more experienced bush walker, this rewarding two day walk winds through cool fern gullies and tall forests, taking in views across the surrounding hills of both Mount Cole and Buangor State park.
The track offers extensive views of Mt Langi Ghiran, the Grampians to the south towards Mt Cole and the Western Plains. The track is well defined and sign posted and the walk has been designed for those seeking a relaxing walk with time to take in the beautiful surrounds.
This walk starts at Richards camp site. The closest camp to the half way point is Beeripmo camp ground. Here you will find toilets and a rain water tank which you can use to refill water bladders (make sure you boil or use a filtering system). The camp ground is quiet pleasant, with about ten or so sites with their own fire pits nestled among the eucalypt forest.
2) Wilsons Promontory – Eastern Circuit (36.5km)
Duration: 2-3 days
Distance from Melbourne: 225km
The Wilsons Promontory – Eastern Circuit hike is a wonderful circuit hike that explores stunning secluded beaches along the Eastern side of Wilsons Prom. This is one of the least crowded locations on the Prom. It is a top destination for hikers, often nominated as one of the best walks in the state, as it rewards visitors with a natural beauty that includes a spectacular golden beach sheltered from prevailing winds; crystal clear turquoise waters; and an abundance of wildlife.
Day 1 Camp. Telegraph Saddle to Sealers Cove: 9.5km. Sealers Cove is a picturesque, circular cove boasting glassy turquoise water, golden sand and a shady campground.
Day 2 Camp. Sealers Cove to Little Waterloo Bay: 14.7km. Refuge Cove campsite, located at the southern end of the cove, is surrounded by lush vegetation and is within close proximity to the water.
3) Mount Cobbler Plateau Circuit (27.2km)
Duration: 2 days
Distance from Melbourne: 278km
Cascading waterfalls, clear mountain streams, wildflowers and spectacular views of the Alps are all features of the Wobonga Plateau – Mount Cobbler area of the Alpine National Park. There is a variety of tours and places of interest for day visitors as well as those staying longer.
Camping is available close to the trail head at Speculation Road: There is a small campsite along Speculation Road (possible 4WD) on the King River approximately 3.6km from Stirling Circuit Road.
The overnight campsite can be found on an open saddle at the junction of the Mount Cobbler Walking Track and a foot trail heading north-south at the top of the plateau. This is a large camp site suitable for around 5-6 tents.
4) Lake Tali Karng – Hidden Lake Circuit (30.7km)
Duration: 2 days
Distance from Melbourne: 301km
The views and landscape of Tali Karng and its surrounds are so magnificent it is easy to appreciate its special cultural significance. With a depth of up to 50 metres and fed by the Snowden and Nigothoruk Creeks and by the melted snow that runs off the Wellington Plains, the water in the lake is very cold. Tali Karng is a hidden jewel nestled deep in the mountains of Gippsland and this hike offers you an opportunity to explore deep into the heart of the valley.
Camping is available at Nyimba Camp, the campground high above Lake Tali Karng, just near the trail that shoots down steeply to that hidden lake. Toilets are provided at this site. Note that you are not permitted to camp on the shores of the lake.
5) Cathedral Range North & South Circuit (24km)
Duration: 2 days
Distance from Melbourne: 117km
With upturned sandstone peaks and razorback ridges (and just two hours north-east of Melbourne) Cathedral Range is one of the greatest mountain ranges in the state. We advise starting from Jawbone carpark and heading up a few kilometres of dirt vehicle track to find the start of Canyon Track and ascend Sugarloaf Peak. From there you’ll make your way along Razorback Ridge to The Farmyard campground. Your second day will see you following the ridgeline all the way to Little Cathedral at the north end of the range, and then descending to follow Little River Track and Saint Bernards Track back to your vehicle.
The park is best known for its two popular day-hikes, the northern and southern circuits, but these can easily be linked together with an overnight stay at “The Farmyard” – a campground in a saddle, roughly in the middle of the range.