Guest Post by Sam Russel at The Adventure Lab
Melbourne is best known for its sport (especially Aussie Rules Footy), magnificent art, and for having a large cafe and bar culture that gets the local Melburnians socialising to all hours. However, the great city of Melbourne certainly holds its own in terms of adventure, with a diverse range of activities on offer for both the young and old.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure close to the Melbourne CBD, or a couple of hours away in the beautiful countryside of Victoria, travellers are spoilt for choices in many facets when looking for outdoor activities, whether it be for individual purposes or group travellers. After-all, this is Australia, the land of adventure.
In this article we look at some of the best adventure activities in Melbourne to give you some inspiration for your next visit.
An Adventurer’s Guide to Melbourne in Stunning Victoria
Rock Climbing at great heights
Melbourne boasts some of the country’s best climbing walls, offering a great afternoon of excitement for both children and adults. Hardrock Climbing in the CBD offers a range of traditional rope walls, at around 16m in height, while a large number of bouldering gyms in the inner suburbs offer some variety for those willing to ditch the harness.
If you’re keen to get outdoors with your climbing, The Grampians is your best bet. While not realistic for a day trip, you won’t regret heading out there for a night or two. Home to world famous sandstone rock climbing, The Grampians is also home to impressive walking trails, lookouts and waterfalls.
Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk
The Werribee Gorge State Park is located about an hour northwest of Melbourne, and is one of the city’s best kept secrets. There are options for both a short and longer loop walk, both fairly challenging and offering a range of sights.
A highlight of the walk is the much photographed Needles Beach, a popular spot to stop for lunch, especially in the summer months given the shade provided by the imposing cliffs. The path from the beach along to the car park features an old water channel from the 1920s that used to irrigate the surrounding area.
Be aware that these tracks feature cable traverses and rocky sections so make sure you wear appropriate footwear. It is also important to avoid this area after heavy rainfall as the river is prone to swelling and could make the trails dangerous or impassable.
Both tracks start at Meikles Point Picnic Area. For more information on these day walks check out theadventurelab.com.au.
You could spend weeks in Melbourne without realising this amazing park was right on your doorstep. Located about 5km northeast of the CBD, this 260 hectare park includes walking and biking tracks and two golf courses.
Lush Australian bush makes way for the winding Yarra River which enters the park in the northeastern corner and exits to the south before flowing into the CBD.
The park is also home to the famous Studley Boathouse and cafe, where locals stop for post-walk coffee or rent out row-boats to take on the river during summer months.
The Abbotsford Convent is another highlight of the park. Located in the southwest corner, the convent is set amongst beautiful gardens and is home to a number of cafes and restaurants. Walk from the convent towards the river and you will come across the Collingwood Children’s Farm, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to take children. On the weekends you will often find farmers markets here as well.
Be sure to take some form of map when you enter the park as the area is a lot larger than it first seems and it can be easy to get lost.
Surfing the Victorian Coast
While not possible in Melbourne itself, take a short drive down either side of the bay and you will be rewarded with world class surf breaks.
The highlight of course is world-famous Bells Beach. While suitable for experienced surfers only, the impressive cliffs and booming waves are still worth checking out even if you aren’t planning on getting in the water.
There are many other great spots dotted along the coast in both directions. Stand-outs include Fairhaven beach, located on the Great Ocean Road, and Cape Woolamai in Gippsland.
The Dandenong Ranges
Located about an hours drive east of Melbourne, the Dandenong ranges offer some of the best hiking tracks in Victoria. There’s a huge range of tracks on offer, with something to suit all ability levels.
The most popular walk is the 1000 steps/Kokoda Memorial Walk which is a short but steep trail featuring historical information commemorating Australian soldiers who fought in Papua New Guinea during World War 2. This track is, however, frequented by both fitness junkies and tourists so be ready for crowds, especially if visiting in the weekend.
Another great option is to head to Grants Picnic Ground, which is the starting point for the popular Sherbrooke Forest trails and also features a bird sanctuary.
Serious adventurers should check out the Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track. This 17km trail showcases the best the Dandenong Ranges have to offer, winding through eucalyptus forest and featuring a number of swing bridges. Starting from the townships of either Sassafras or Emerald, you will need to arrange transport at the other end.
Check out Parks Victoria for more info.
* All photos in this article have been provided by The Adventure Lab.