Find peace in the wild with a beginner-friendly hike. Be dazzled by waterfalls, rugged mountain ranges, panoramic lookouts and horizons that stretch into infinity – Victoria is the ultimate place to be for nature lovers.
Here are 10 of the best trails to hit up in Victoria if you want a taste of nature, minus the crowds and the burning calves.
1. Den of Nargun, Gippsland
Distance: 5km return, approximately 90 minutes
Buried deep within Mitchell River National Park in the lush green gully’s of Gippsland is the Den of Nargun. This walk is a must for a few reasons. First, the trail meanders through areas of Indigenous significance on the Bataluk Cultural Trail. Second, you can gaze at rivers, waterfalls and pools of calm water. And third, once you arrive at the den you can ponder the ‘nargun’ inhabitant, a large female creature who is rumoured to live in the cave behind the waterfall.
2. Mount Franklin Loop, Daylesford
Distance: 1.9km return, approximately 35 minutes
Get up close and personal to an extinct volcano in Hepburn Regional Park. Start in the central crater of Mount Franklin and take a short loop around the rim of the 470,000-year-old volcano. Traipse along the birch-lined path and soak up views of the surrounding plains on this beautiful walk.
3. Mount Cannibal, Gippsland
Distance: 2.3km return, approximately 50 minutes
Tick your daily burst of cardio off your to-do list and summit Mount Cannibal on the loop walk through Mount Cannibal Flora and Fauna Reserve near Garfield. Climb past huge granite boulders and through stringy bark trees and be rewarded with incredible 360-degree views of the surrounding valley.
4. Venus Baths Loop Walk, Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park
Distance: 2.3km return, approximately 45 minutes
From the heart of Halls Gap, take an easy stroll to Venus Baths. Cross the Stony Creek, walk through the botanic gardens and head further long a flat walking track to a number of freshwater rock pools where you can take a dip to cool off.
5. Mount Buffalo, High Country
Distance: 1-6.6km, approximately 30-60 minutes
Mount Buffalo National Park has too many great walks to name just one. So. Starting with the shorter, easiest of our three favourites is The Horn, a one kilometre out and back trail that takes you to the edge of Mount Buffalo’s plateau, through sun-bleached snow gums and granite boulders to the lookout shelter atop the cliff.
Or, take in different views of The Horn from the Cathedral Hump Track. Take a mini climb to the summit of the Hump and look out at Cresta Valley, the Horn and the Cathedral. The third, more difficult of these walks is The Gorge, Lake Catani and Chalwell Galleries Walking Track, which is 6.6 kilometres and gives you a taste of basic rock scrambling/climbing.
6. Ada Tree Rainforest Walk, Gippsland
Distance: 3.2km returns, approximately 90 minutes
Myrtle beech rainforest is a sight to behold, and the lush green forest that surrounds one of Victoria’s largest trees is no exception. The Ada Tree is a giant mountain ash that’s estimated to be more than 300 years old and towers over the forest floor at a whopping 76-metres with a 15 metre circumference. This short yet rewarding hike starts and finishes at the Ada Tree picnic area.
7. Pink Lakes Trail, The Murray
Distance: 2.5km return, approximately 90 minutes
The other-worldly Murray-Sunset National Park is home to many unique sights, including four pink lakes. In spring, the lakes turn a vivid pink caused by a release of red pigment from algae in the water. The colour is the most vibrant at dawn, in the late afternoon or when the sky is cloudy. Begin at the Pink Lakes picnic area and witness this show of colour, as well as native plant and wildlife, billabongs, wetlands and semi-arid sand dunes.
8. Portland, Great Ocean Road
Distance: 2.1-8kms, approximately 40 minutes to 2 hours
Quietly perched at the very end of the Great Ocean Road, Portland looks like a sleepy coastal town, but is actually home to a number of Victoria’s most beautiful natural attractions. Two beginner-friendly walks in the area are the Enchanted Forest Walk and the Cape Nelson Loop Walk.
Close to the town centre, the Enchanted Forest Walk is a short, quiet trail that is actually an old landslide that has had dense, tropical vegetation grow over it creating a unique canopy with a fairytale-esque vibe.
Incorporating sections of the Great South West Walk, Lighthouse Walk and Seacliff Nature Walk, the Cape Nelson Loop Walk starts at the Cape Nelson lighthouse and winds around the tip of the majestic east coast before heading inland through native vegetation and then back to the lighthouse.
9. Boronia Peak, Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park
Distance: 6.6km return, approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes
The hardest of our beginner-friendly trails, Boronia Peak is one of Mount William’s best kept gems, which gets less foot traffic than other high peaks in the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park. Note that extra caution should be taken on this trail as it does involve a scramble up to the rocky summit, which boasts views of Lake Fyans in the east and the Fyans Valley below.
10. Dog Rocks Loop, Castlemaine
Distance: 4.7km returns, approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes
This stunning granite outcrop in Mount Alexander Regional Park has incredible hillside views over the surrounding countryside. Dog Rocks itself is an eye-catching rock formation comprised of stacked boulders, worth the relatively easy walk through native bushland.