Walks in Melbourne for Exploring the city

These fabulous walks in Melbourne are all within – or close to – the city. If you have a few hours, and a car or bus pass, then grab your day pack and head out to conquer these trails.

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Melbourne is a modern city filled with towering buildings and concrete. But if you feel like stretching your legs and getting back to nature, you’re never too far away from a quality stroll. There are lots of beautiful walks in Melbourne where you can breathe in the clean, fresh air – and you won’t have to go far to find them.

1. St Kilda to Port Melbourne

Is there anything cuter than little penguins? These adorable little creatures can be seen at the end of the St. Kilda Pier after sundown, year-round. And this is only one of the reasons why this is one of the most popular walks in Melbourne.

Insider Tip: The penguin colony is in the same place year-round, but summer is the best time to see them preening, socialising, and looking for a mate.

Brighton Beach Boxes Melbourne
Brighton Bay Beach houses

You can tackle this walk in either direction, depending on where you’re starting out. Here’s what you’ll see along the way:

  • The beautiful Port Melbourne Beach foreshore
  • Beaconsfield Parade with its collection of heritage buildings
  • Catani Gardens
  • St. Kilda Pier

Where to eat: Finish your walk with a beer and some live music at the Prince of Wales Hotel at the end of the walk.

Length: 14km
Start: Westgate Park

2. The Tan Track

No visit to Melbourne is complete without doing a lap around the Tan. It was originally a horse-riding track in the early 1900s, but over the years, has become one of the most popular walks in Melbourne.

Insider Tip: There are plenty of metered car parking spaces around the track, so you can drive there if you need to.

Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne
The Shrine of Remembrance

The Tan Track is a popular running spot and is featured in many of Melbourne’s running events. It will take you past:

  • The Botanic Gardens
  • The Shrine of Remembrance

Where to eat: There are cafes along Domain Road at the end of the track when you’re done.

Length: 3.8km
Start: The Pillars of Wisdom near Alexandra Avenue and Olympic Boulevard Junction.

3. Yarra Trail

The Yarra Trail is one of the more leisurely walks in Melbourne, and it’s set up so that you can start or finish wherever you like. The Yarra Trail is one of the most scenic walks in the city, taking you past billabongs and ancient gums before ending at Southbank.

Insider Tip: Make sure you allow time to stop during the walks as there are lots of interesting attractions along the way.

This is one of the best Melbourne city walks because of its flexibility. There are countless ways to get onto the trail, and you should stop regularly to check out some local attractions like:

  • Our Magic Hour, a massive rainbow sculpture created by New York artist Ugo Rondinone
  • Abbotsford Convent
  • The Collingwood Children’s Farm
  • The trail passes by some of the best restaurant sectors in the city, so don’t miss the chance to try to some local favourites

Length: The trail runs up to 33km.
Start: Hoddle Bridge, Richmond

4. Yarra River Sports Walk

The Yarra River Sports Walk is one of the best Melbourne city walks if you want to explore. It takes you past some of the most popular tourist sites in the city, and there are always activities going on in this area. You can play sports like soccer or tennis, relax and have a picnic with friends or family while the kids enjoy the playground, or go shopping.

Yarra River Rowing Melbourne
Always fun watching the rower’s train on the Yarra

Some of the iconic sites you’ll see along the way include:

  • Federation Square, where there’s always something going on
  • The Swan Street Bridge
  • Southbank
  • The Yarra River
  • Flinders Street

Length: 3.36km
Start: Federation Square

5. Capital City Trail

The Capital City Trail is a huge walking track that spreads from east to north over 30km. It will take you through some of the best sites in the city. It’s an easy walk, and one of the best Melbourne city walks if you’re looking to explore.

Insider Tip: If you’re exploring the city for the first time, start at Federation Square and head up along Birrarung Marr for classic landmarks and an easy, flat walk.

Docklands Melboune Capital City Trail walk

Just make sure you plan to stop along the way at sites like:

  • The MCG
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Como House
  • Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park
  • Melbourne Zoo
  • The Docklands precinct
  • And more!

Length: 30km
Start: Southbank

6. Albert Lake Walk

The Albert Lake Walk is one of the most central walks in Melbourne. It’s a good choice if you’re pressed for time and want to get some exercise in a natural environment. This shorter trail is mostly used for running and loops around the famous Albert Lake.

Albert Lake Park Melbourne Walk
Albert Park Lake

Insider Tip: This is a flat, easy trail, but keep an eye out for the swans who frequently race across the pathway and could trip you up.

There are lots of activities you can enjoy in Albert Lake Park. Why not make a day of it and try:

  • Sailing
  • A picnic or BBQ
  • Some team sports
  • Cycling around the lake
  • Spotting local birdlife

Where to eat: Check out the cafes on Fitzroy Street or Clarendon St.

Length: 4.7km
The track is looped, so you can start anywhere along the route.

Want to explore Melbourne for free? Check out our guide for more than 30 ideas!

7. Bayside Coastal Art Trail

The scenery along the Bayside Coastal Art Trail (map) has inspired many famous Australian artists. The walk boasts soaring red cliffs, endless stretches of ocean, and hidden coves where you can explore in complete solitude. In fact, it’s one of the most spectacular walks near Melbourne and is easily accessible using public transport.

Sandringham Beach Melbourne Bayside Walk
Sandringham Beach on the Bayside Coastal Trail

Insider Tip: Although the walk is fairly easy, it does get hot along the way. Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, and some water.

All along the trail, there are signs that celebrate the life and artwork of the artists who were inspired by the view at various spots. You’ll see work by:

  • Tom Roberts
  • Arthur Streeton
  • Frederick McCubbin
  • Arthur Boyd
  • Clarice Beckett
  • C.A. Wilson

Where to eat: There are picnic and BBQ areas throughout, as well as cafes and restaurants in Balcombe Road and just off Black Rock Beach.

Start: Brighton

8. 1000 Steps Walk

If you’re reasonably fit and want a challenge, you might want to try the 1000 Steps Walk. This trek is one of the most popular walks in Melbourne and is often used as a warmup for the famous Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.

Insider Tip: Try to avoid the trail on the weekend mornings as it can get crowded.

1000 steps walk Melbourne
1000 Steps Walk Melbourne Credit: Wilson Afonso / CC

The 1000 Steps Walk has lots of concrete and wooden steps that make the trail accessible year-round. Along the way, look out for:

  • Some of Australia’s fantastic wildlife and birdlife
  • Plaques that are laid out all along the trail depicting the lives of the soldiers who fought and died on the real Kokoda Track in WWII

Food options: the 1000 Steps Café at the end of the trail is particularly popular and serves excellent scones.

Length: 3km long
Start: Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground

9. Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail

For one of the best historic walks near Melbourne, you can’t go past the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail. Stretching from Westgate Bridge to Skeleton Creek, this easy walk takes you past important natural environments, art, and amazing historic buildings.

Insider Tip: This is still a mostly undeveloped area, so make sure you take water with you in case you get thirsty between rest areas.

melbourne from Williamstown Credit Visit Victoria 800
Looking toward Melbourne from Williamstown Wharf. Credit: Visit Victoria

Some of the sites along the trail include:

Length: 23km
Start: Westgate Bridge

10. East-West Walk – You Yangs Regional Park

If you’re looking for one of the walks near Melbourne that’s a little more rugged, then try the East-West Walk in the You Yangs Regional Park. It’s a short walk, but you’ll need strong thighs and maybe some bush-bashing skills to complete it.

Insider Tip: While you’re in the You Yangs, try mountain biking, horse trails, rock climbing, bush walks, or just have a picnic and enjoy the surroundings.

You Yangs walk Credit Visit Victoria
You Yangs walk Credit: Visit Victoria

Located about 60km from the centre of Melbourne, here are some of the attractions of this walk:

  • Flinders Peak, the highest mountain in the You Yangs
  • Stunning views over Corio Bay
  • The Bunjil Geoglyph created by artist Andrew Rogers to commemorate the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games

Food options: There are none. If you don’t have food with you, the nearest town, Little River, Werribee.

Length: 5km
Start: Turntable Carpark in the You Yangs Regional Park.

Why should you do the best walks in Melbourne?

These walks allow you to experience the scenery and natural landscapes the city has to offer. From city and seaside strolls to challenging wilderness walks, you will find something you can tackle next time you fancy a day outdoors.

Got a question? Head over to our Australia Travel Tips Facebook Group and ask a local.

First published May 2020, fully updated March 2023

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