Melbourne’s south offers coastal hikes, hidden bush tracks, and historic walking trails. With all this to explore, here are some of our favourite walks in Melbourne’s southern suburbs.
6.4km, 90 minutes (one way)
Did you know Port Phillip Bay was once a vast grassy plain? The Yarra River once ran through Black Rock? Or that you can spot blue tongue lizards sunbaking by our southside beaches? The signage along the coastal walk stretching from Black Rock Yacht Club [Half Moon Bay, Black Rock] to Sandringham Yacht Club [Jetty Road, Sandringham] explains Port Phillip Bay’s unique environment and Indigenous history along with sculptures and paintings created by local artists. The walk also provides spectacular views of Half Moon Bay, Port Phillip Bay, and the Mornington Peninsula. Along with being one of the best day walks in Melbourne, there are plenty of swimming spots and rock pools to ramble on if you’d like to extend your walk.
6km, 75 minutes (return)
Pack a picnic and bring the kids along for this walk as you’ll be passing through playgrounds, picnic spots and heaps of open spaces perfect for kicking the footy. This walking trail is leafy, green and the Dandenong Wetlands [1601 Heatherton Road, Dandenong North] is the perfect pit-stop for watching black swans and other native wildlife. If you’d like to make a day of it, finish your walk at Myuna Farm [182 Kidds Road, Doveton]; the kids will enjoy the farm animals and train ride, and you can grab a bite to eat at the onsite Farm Cafe. This is a great cycling path too if you’re looking for something a little more fast-paced. Make sure you wear your hat on this walk as there is limited shade.
Image source: Bob Padua
3.5km, 60 minutes (loop)
Love wildflowers? Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens [Corner Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne] highlights the beauty of the Australian bush on the Possum Gully Wildflower Walk. You can do this walk at any time of year as there are always flowers in bloom from the brilliant Thyme Pink Bells to the red cinnamon wattle. With a strong focus on native ecosystems, a walk at the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens will help you reimagine Australia’s natural landscape. This walk is medium intensity but if you’re after something a bit more leisurely, the Wetlands Walk is shorter and great for birdwatching in the Wylies Creek Wetlands.
3.9km, 65 minutes (loop)
If you love architecture and history, the Ostend Trail will keep you occupied. You’ll find out how the Middle Brighton Baths navigated the scandalous idea of mixed bathing, where the first residents of Brighton were buried as well as the story behind terrace houses of Normanby Street. This walk is a perfect accompaniment to a visit to the Brighton Beach Boxes and gives you the chance to see how Brighton evolved into the suburb it is today. This walk begins and ends at Brighton Schoolhouse [15 St Andrews Street, Brighton]. It was once a church and is now a café serving good coffee and tasty meals, perfect for your post-walk treat.
Image Source: facebook.com/brightonschoolhouse
2.8km, 40 minutes (return)
The Valley View Track in Lysterfield Park [Horswood Road, Lysterfield] follows the route of the tramway used to construct Lysterfield Reservoir, from 1927 to 1935. Although the horses hauling stone along this path are long gone, hints at the history of this area remain. Start your walk at Hallam North Road carpark [329 Hallam North Road, Lysterfield South] and follow the Valley View Track. When you reach the Lysterfield Hills Track head left to reach the summit. Towards the end of your walk, you’ll see remnants of a horses drinking trough; this is the perfect spot to take a moment rest and enjoy the natural surrounds. The end of your bush walk will make the climb worth it, with beautiful scenes of Melbourne’s skyline and Dandenong on a clear day. You can follow the same path back to your car or wander along the many other trails that wind through Lysterfield Park. If you’re walking at dawn or dusk, keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos.
3km, 40 minutes (return)
The Lower Sweetwater Creek Nature Reserve [Frankston South], is a green wedge of bushland behind Olivers Hill Lookout [Nepean Highway, Frankston]. There are boardwalks and paths weaving throughout so you don’t need to follow a set trail, but we recommend starting on Liddlesdale Avenue by the beach and following the path into the reserve. If you’re lucky, you might spy koalas, kookaburras and superb blue wrens. Finish you walk by leaving the reserve and heading to Olivers Hill Lookout and enjoying the beach views or extend your walk by following the Frankston Foreshore trail along the coastline.
Image source: @the_3199
5km, 60 minutes (one way)
Scotchmans Creek Trail is a 13km walking track from Jells Park to Warrigal Road and is a narrow stretch of green among the surrounding suburbia. This section of the trail starts right near Chadstone Shopping Centre [1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone] and ends at Fairway Reserve [Fleet Street, Mount Waverley]. The path is easy to follow and is well signposted. All you’ll need to do is keep the creek in sight and follow the trail past Oakleigh Public Golf Course and Huntingdale Wetlands. If you’d like a great view of the creek and the city skyline, take a detour towards Scotchmans Run Reserve. This is the highest point on the walk, and all you need to do to get here is turn right at Stamford Road and left on Estelle Street. Return to the trail and continue along the track through Huntingdale Wetlands until you reach Tunnel Reserve. If you’re still feeling energetic, you can walk back the way you came. Or if you’re ready to rest, walk up to Waverley Road and catch the bus route 623 back to where you started. This trail connects to the Gardiners Creek trail that will take you all the way into the city.
Image Credit: @sim_cookept
Dandenong Valley Parklands is a vast green space in Melbourne’s south, incorporating the Eastlink Trail, Dandenong Creek Trail, and Scotchmans Creek Pathway. You could spend a whole day exploring this parkland area with walks, playgrounds and picnic areas winding throughout. Jells Park [Waverley Road, Wheelers Hill] is an ideal spot to start your walk if you’ve got the kids in tow. It’s well signposted and has a great space for post-walk picnics or letting the kids run wild. If you’re after something a bit quieter, Koomba Park [Dandenong Creek Trail, Wantirna] might be more your style. There’s an abundance of native birds to watch and a boardwalk taking you past billabongs and lakes. Bring your dog along for this walk; most of the parklands have dog-friendly walking trails with lots of off-leash areas.
Image credit: @lisamaree_88
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