Where are the best hikes in Victoria?

Caution: before any hike, always check relevant park management websites for updated information on track conditions, closures or dangers.

Some of the below hikes may have been affected by bush fires and may be closed for hikers. Please help those affected by fires by donating to The Red Cross, who work to provide aid during an emergency, conflict, disaster or crisis. 

This southern state has it all when it comes to hiking. Pitch your tent by one Australia's most isolated, pristine and picturesque beaches on a balmy evening in January or wake up to a white wonderland with the lonely cry of a single crow up in the frosty peaks of the Australian Alps. Some of the best spots are also only a short drive from the state's capital, Melbourne. Whatever your flavour – snow, beach, heath, rainforest, eucalypts – there are trails in Victoria to suit all tastes and all experience levels. 

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Cathedral Ranges

Features: Razorback ridgeline (hard on the ankles), saddle camping, camping at the base. 

Rating: Easy to Grade 4-5 (experienced hikers). 

Length/Time: Multiple distances, ranging from 650m to 12.5km Northern Circuit walk. You can also merge the Northern and Southern circuits into a much bigger day of about 24km. 

When to go: Any time of year. Avoid wet weather due to some of the cliff scrambling along the ridgeline. 

Child-friendly: Yes. There is camping at the base and a range of easier walks for young kids. The Northern and Southern Circuits are also suitable for older kids. 

More information: See Parks Victoria for more information. 

Map of VictoriaMap of Victoria

Just two hours northeast from Melbourne, Cathedral Ranges State Park offers some of the best hiking for those of all experience levels. This comes down to both the terrain on offer as well as the variety of circuits you can choose from. 

The range's peak, Sugarloaf, sits up at 923 metres above sea level, which makes it an achievable climb for most fitness levels.

There are camping grounds at the base of the range, with the soft babbling of Little River making it an ideal weekend getaway. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, one of the reasons the Cathedral Range offers some of the best hikes near Melbourne is because you can hike up to The Farmyard and camp up there overnight before exploring the Southern and/or Northern Circuit the next day. It does get cold up there, however, so be prepared. 

Cathedral ranges, VictoriaCathedral ranges, Victoria

Break the hike up by taking on the 12.5km Northern Circuit on day one, camping down at the bottom, then exploring the slightly more cliff-scrambly and ankle-bending 10.5km Southern Circuit on day two. Experienced hikers can get up early, drive up to the ranges and combine the two circuits for an epic day's walking. 

Highlights? The Razorback Track along the Southern Circuit has some great cliff scrambling, where you might even be better off bringing a small rope to lower your bag on one particular section. You also have the option of climbing down (or up) Walls Cave Track, but this is quite scrambly and so best avoided in wet conditions.

The Northern Circuit is nothing to shy away from, with great views from the same Razorback Track and a more approachable incline from Neds Gully. 

Mount Bogong - Staircase Spur

Features: alpine conditions (snow during winter), exposed edges, rough terrain, well-marked. 

Rating:  Grade 4, difficult. 

Length/Time: 21.4km

When to go: All year depending on experience

Child-friendly: Due to the trail's grading and relative exposure to changing weather, this is best done with older children who have bushwalking experience, especially in winter when this should be seen as for very well-prepared, experienced hikers only. 

More information: see Parks Victoria's Alpine National Park page for current track info or its guide for individual trails around the Mount Bogong area

Map of VictoriaMap of Victoria
View from Mount Bogong at sunsetView from Mount Bogong at sunset
Hikers at the base of Mount BogongHikers at the base of Mount Bogong
Kathmandu NSW team member, Anastasia, took on Mount Bogong and won! Thanks to her for these insipring photos.

You can't say that you've explored Victoria until you've taken on its tallest mountain. A 4.5-hour drive from Melbourne, at 1,986 metres above sea level this mountain poses a challenge for all hikers. The Staircase Spur trail is a 21.4km circuit that requires planning and an early morning. If you want to camp overnight up on the mountain, you have a choice of camping outside of three huts: Bivouac Hut, Cleve Cole Memorial Hut and Michell Hut, which all sit within 4km of the summit, making them great spots to bed down before a dawn summit. 

Note: only camp outside of these huts, as they are intended for emergency use only and contain emergency firewood. 

The real incline starts to kick in after the 2.5km mark on the Staircase Spur trail and doesn't let up until you reach the summit at about the 9km mark, so be prepared for a challenging start to the day and a more subtle decline as you scale back down to where you started, the Mountain Creek Camping Area.

 As mentioned above, the Staircase Spur trail can be hiked at all times of the year, offering vastly different experiences for hikers. Winter is an ideal time to hike it (for experienced hikers only), but the exposed summit and dramatically shifting weather along the entire trail mean this is a hike that should only be done by truly prepared and experienced hikers who take into account the possibility that they might lose visibility due to weather. 

Grampians Peaks Trail

Features: Messmate forest, exposed edges and rocky outcrops, undulations, epic views, significant inclines. 

Rating: Grade 4, difficult.

Length/Time: 33km, 3 days/2 nights

When to go: All year (off-season is best, to avoid both the sun and the crowds). 

Child-friendly: While a significant challenge, the Grampians offer a great option for experienced older kids to take on their first multi-day hike. 

More information: visit the Parks Victoria website for more information on all three tracks mentioned below. 

Map of VictoriaMap of Victoria
Kangaroo Kangaroo

The Grampians have always been a playground for adventurous hikers, and with the addition of the Grampians Peak Trail, they are set to become home to some of the state's most famous multiday hikes.

A 3.5-hour drive west of Melbourne, there are two existing overnight hikes in the Grampians: the 'Major Mitchell Plateau' and 'The Fortress and Mt Thackery'. These are both three-day/two-night hikes that should not be missed and are great introductions to the area. 

New to the region is the Grampians Peaks Trail, which is also currently a three-day/two-night hike but is being developed into a 13-day challenge for serious hikers. 

View from the Grampians of a cliff and farmlandView from the Grampians of a cliff and farmland

You will need to book your camping spot for both nights, as this area grows increasingly busy as the weather warms, but it is definitely worth it as the raised camping beds on the first night are the perfect spot to cook your meal and watch the adjacent cliffs in the near distance as they are bathed in the blaze of sunset. 

Apart from the stunning views and abundant wildlife and incredible hikes, the Grampians are also home to some of the most highly concentrated Indigenous Australian artefacts, especially in the form of rock art. You can read about the various sites to visit here

Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing

Features: alpine trails, exposed rocky outcrops, exposed edges, isolated areas without track markers, snow gums, rivers. 

Rating: Grade 4 (experienced bushwalkers)

Length/Time:  37km (3 days/2 nights)

When to go: Track is accessible November to April. 

For more information: visit the Parks Victoria website as a starting point.

Map of VictoriaMap of Victoria

An incredible but relatively unknown hike is the point-to-point walk from Falls Creek resort to Hotham resort. You can go in either direction, but the hike from Falls Creek to Hotham is preferred by many. 

Requiring a permit, this walk is situated in the heart of the Australian Alps, in which there is the 655 Australian Alps walking track (why not take off a few months and take that on?). 

The first half of the hike from Falls Creek undulates without any significant climbs, but then as you start to make your approach to Hotham, you will be faced with three steep climbs of approximately 300-400 metres. 

Mt HothamMt Hotham
The Machinery Spur Track in Hotham

Image: Tim Hart

An incredible but relatively unknown hike is the point-to-point walk from Falls Creek resort to Hotham resort. You can go in either direction, but the hike from Falls Creek to Hotham is preferred by many. 

Requiring a permit, this walk is situated in the heart of the Australian Alps, in which there is the 655 Australian Alps walking track (why not take off a few months and take that on?). 

The first half of the hike from Falls Creek undulates without any significant climbs, but then as you start to make your approach to Hotham, you will be faced with three steep climbs of approximately 300-400 metres. 

Edmondson Hut Track in the Australian AlpsEdmondson Hut Track in the Australian Alps
The hike out of Falls Creek is relatively flat

Image: Tim Hart

With about 4 hours of walking each day, this isn't a necessarily physically challenging hike (apart from the three inclines as you approach Hotham), but changing weather can pose a significant risk if you choose to do the hike in the colder months, while even in the summer months you will need to pack with freezing temperatures in mind (temperatures are generally 10 degrees colder than in surrounding valleys during summer).

Why take on this hike? This is a great introduction to multi-day hiking for already experienced bushwalkers as well as a good start to hiking in the Australian Alps. More than anything, it offers the opportunity to feel on top of the world for three days straight. You can choose to just do a one-day section of the hike or even a two-day section. See this Parks Victoria FAQ page for information on shorter hikes. 

Great Ocean Walk

Features: wetlands, beach trails, low tide crossings, estuaries and rivers, tall rainforest, exposed cliffs. 

Rating: Grade 1–3, easy to intermediate.

Length/Time: variable (max 100km)

When to go: November–March

Child-friendly: Yes. There are options for short day walks and you are always close to services and amenities if you require them. 

More information: visit the official Great Ocean Walk page for detailed information. 

Map of VictoriaMap of Victoria

Forget climbing in the cold. What about hikes for beach lovers? The 100km Great Ocean Walk is the best destination for those who want a dip in the ocean for every leg of the hike. 

Taking on average between 6-8 days to complete, you can choose to take on any section of this epic walk which traces the wind-hewn coastline of Southwestern Victoria, passing the Great Otway National Park and Cape Otway Lighthouse before eventually heralding your finish by presenting you with one of Australia's most iconic natural icons: the Twelve Apostles. 

Twelve apostlesTwelve apostles

Begin the walk at any point, but the first leg officially starts at Apollo Bay, a three-hour drive southwest from Melbourne. The majority of the walk hugs the coastline tightly, with occasional interludes through tall forests and exposed heathland. 

One of the few truly multiday coastal hikes in the state, the Great Ocean Walk is fast becoming as renowned across Australian and around the world as the Overland is in Tasmania or the Larapinta Trail in Northern Territory. 

Birds flying over rainforestBirds flying over rainforest

Image: Ryan Young

For experienced hikers or those feeling fresh in their legs, you can easily opt not to camp in each designated campsite along the trail, cutting how long it takes you to do the hike by 2-3 days. 

One of the best things you can do on this hike is to download the audio guide onto your phone for the entire hike. That's right, there is an audio guide. Rather than carry a heavy guidebook, you can get more out of this walk by understanding the rich history of this region, from those famous individuals who built the Great Ocean Road after the First World War as well as the countless shipwrecks that dot the coastline, marking it in history as an infamous stretch of coast, right through to stories of the Gadubanud people, who lived across the forests and coastlines of this region, using bark canoes to travel through the rivers, estuaries and along the coastline itself. 

Mornington Peninsula Coastal Walk

Features: beaches, optional tidal crossings, sheltered coastal trails, moonah forests, exposed rocky dunes.

Rating: Grade 2–3, easy to intermediate

Length/Time:  40km. 

Best time to go: September-April

Child-friendly: Yes. Like the Great Ocean Walk, you can pick any point of this hiking trail. There are no significant climbs. This is a great first step in introducing your kids to hiking. Warning: the beaches along this stretch of coast produce significant waves and strong tides. Swimming is not advised in any of the unmanned beaches. 

Map of VictoriaMap of Victoria
Walking path by beachWalking path by beach

The Mornington Peninsula Coastal Walk is an incredible trail that few know about (yet). In the off-season months (i.e. October) you will barely pass anybody else hiking the trail, while even in Summer you will feel like you have the entire trail to yourself. 

Alongside the Great Ocean Walk, this Victorian hiking trail is a great example of the various spots that are opening up for hikers seeking coastal trails. Regular dips in rock pools and soaking your feet in the incoming tides of some of Victoria's wildest beaches, as well as a cool off-shore breeze, make this an ideal trail to experience in the hotter months. 

Blaigowrie BeachBlaigowrie Beach

Image: Britt Gaiser

As this is a point-to-point hike, you will need to prepare a car or life at the other end. At 40km, this is a serious length to take on in one day and there is no camping along the way, but it can be a great incentive to hire some accommodation halfway down in Rye or Blairgowrie to break the hike up into two days. 

There is plenty of beach walking on this trail, so prepare for how much this slows you down. With few real inclines and one of the closest hikes near Melbourne, this is a great option for families. 

Wilsons Promontory - Eastern Circuit

Features: Rainforest, pristine coastline, secluded coves and bays, estuaries. 

Rating: Grade 3-4 - intermediate to experienced. 

Length/Time:  36km (3-4 days or more if you want to camp for more than one day at any of the sites). 

Best time to go: October-May

Child-friendly: Yes. You can split the trail up over four days or more and there are few real challenges for kids.

More information: visit Parks Victoria to book. Things book up quickly for summer, so get in early.  

Map of VictoriaMap of Victoria

There are a number of short hikes in Wilsons Promontory to consider, and with camping at Tidal River, there is plenty for the kids. But even the 36km Eastern Circuit trail can be taken on by older kids. The first day's crossing to Sealer's Cove is only 9.5km and passes through lush rainforest (muddy during winter!) and opens up to one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in Australia. Camping at Sealer's Cove requires a permit, which keeps numbers in the area sustainable and maintains this area's status as one of Victoria's most pristine marine environments. 

The next day can be an easy jaunt over to Refuge Cove, which is like the little brother of Sealer's Cove. It offers an even more secluded cove in which to spend the entire afternoon soaking. 

If you like, you can do the Eastern Circuit over four days and camp the third night in Little Waterloo Bay. The short hike along the coast is different from any of the other days, hugging the coastline but sheltered within tall rainforest, with the deep blue ocean accompanying you to your left the entire way. Finally, you can return to Tidal River on the fourth day in a longer but relatively flat hike. 

Wilsons Promonotory beaches from the vantage of Mount OberonWilsons Promonotory beaches from the vantage of Mount Oberon

Image: Jacob Dyer

Take this hike on at your own pace. You can stay at any of the campsites on the circuit for a maximum of two nights, so you could feasibly make this a six-night hike where you simply spend an extra day in each spot lazing by the water. 

If you want to take on a little more of a hike and explore more of the Prom, take on the Southern Circuit. In this case, you can still hop across to Sealer's Cove, Refuge Cove and Little Waterloo Bay, but rather than then cut across the Prom to Little Oberon Bay (which you follow back to your car at Tidal River), instead head south from Little Waterloo Bay to the windswept southern point, where you can visit the lighthouse. This is the southernmost point of the Australian mainland, and sees some serious winds at all times of the year. This is a great option for those who want to get a real feel for the entire promontory. 

Colourful rocks at WIlsons PromontoryColourful rocks at WIlsons Promontory

Image: Jonny Clow

Lake Eildon

Features: shaded tracks, lake shorelines, creeks, steep hill climbs

Rating: Easy-intermediate

Length/Time:  Day hikes ranging from 1km-7km

Best time to go: October-April

Child-friendly: Yes. There are plenty of accessible day-walks around Lake Eildon

For more information: see this Parks Victoria guide to the various walks surrounding Lake Eildon

Map of VictoriaMap of Victoria

As far as some of the best short walks in Victoria, those that surround Lake Eildon in the northeast of Victoria are the unsung heroes of the state. 

Lake Eildon is one of the best places in Victoria for family-friendly hiking and camping, with a range of short walks that trace the shoreline, provide steep inclines up hills for incredible views as well as picturesque camping spots. 

Freycinet peninsulaFreycinet peninsula

There are a range of campgrounds dotted around Lake Eildon, so you can turn this into a fun multi-day hike for kids by exploring the various spots around the national park. Pick up a fishing licence before you head out and score yourself some rainbow trout while you're out there. 

You will need to book your spots at each campsite and be warned, they can book up quickly over the summer period (especially school holidays), but as this is only a 3.5-hour drive northeast from Melbourne, you can easily make this a fun weekend outside of school holidays. 

Want some more tips on camping with the kids? Bec and Justin Lorrimer packed up their belongings (and their kids) in 2015 and started travelling this giant continent. They have some sage advice for those looking to do similar things, so check out their tips on camping with kids here. 

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