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Beat's Guide to the best day hikes around Victoria

With spring just around the corner, there’s no better time to lace up your runners, hit the road and get your nature fix. 

Victoria has some beautiful walking tracks, suitable for all kinds of fitness levels. So, whether you’re looking for a nice stroll surrounded by nature or a hardcore hike with breathtaking views (literally) – we’ve got a trail for you.
 
Walhalla - Australian Alps Walking Track
 
You have to get up early for this one, but it’s worth it. Walhalla is a quaint gold mining town that has hardly changed since the 1900s. It also happens to be the beginning of the Australian Alps Walking Trail. Amble along the treetops overlooking this charming town before descending into lush fern gullies. The great thing about this walk is that it goes all the way to Canberra, so you can walk it for one hour or one week. If you don’t fancy yourself as too much of a fitness fanatic, you can always walk to Thomson station and catch the old steam train back to Walhalla. It gives Puffing Billy a run for its money.
 
Dandenong Ranges - Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Circuit
 
Ditch the horde of Melbournians in their activewear preparing for the 1000 Steps trail and keep driving.  Make your way up the winding mountain towards the picturesque Grant’s Picnic Ground. Here you can stop to feed the cockatoos (or just admire them from afar) before beginning a beautiful circuit trail through Sherbrooke Forest. The walk can take anywhere between one and a half to three hours, depending on your fitness level.  Lose yourself below the gigantic trees and take in that fresh mountain air. It’s something straight out of Jurassic Park.
 
The You Yangs - East-West Walk
 
Just over an hour out of Melbourne lays this lone mountain range. Driving along the M1 you’ll see flat fields and farms and then boom – the You Yangs. You can’t miss it. It’s a relatively easy walk beside from a steep incline towards the top as you approach the peak. You’ll be breathless, but it’s worth it for the panoramic view of the sweeping surrounds.
 
Werribee Gorge State Park - Circuit Walk
 
Not actually in Werribee, this gorgeous walk can take anywhere from three to five hours – so make sure to take plenty of water. The Gorge was formed by an extinct volcano, which makes for some amazing scenery throughout. There’s even a section which requires rock scrambling over a river, which makes you feel 80 percent more like Indiana Jones.
 
The Grampians - Pinnacle Walk
 
Not for the faint-hearted, this five to six hour hike includes traversing over flat rocks and trekking up steep slopes. Once you make your way through bush, past waterfalls and a canyon, you’ll find yourself staring at one of the most beautiful views in Victoria. To avoid the crowds don’t stay on the actual pinnacle for too long, but instead, head left and explore around the cliff edges. 
 
Lysterfield Lake
 
A pleasant location with a simple circuit walk, Lysterfield Lake is a perfect place for a packed picnic and some kangaroo spotting. The track goes around the lake and has a wide gravelled path the whole way around. The levelled path attracts cyclists and families with prams, so keep alert for kids ringing bike bells.
 
Cathedral Ranges
 
For one of the most beautiful and challenging day hikes, look no further than the Cathedral ranges. March through rugged bush and clamber over boulders for a view that will leave you in awe. The walk is great for those that like a bit of natural rock climbing, so if that’s your thing bring your equipment and enjoy the climb.
 
Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve
 
With a wide variety of Australian animals and plants, Langwarrin Flora & Fauna reserve is a truly beautiful place for a hike. The terrain on this track changes from thriving ferns to bare fields and is an interesting mix of bush and sand dunes. Only an hour and a half out of Melbourne, the walk is easily accessible and appropriate for all fitness levels. Get your binoculars ready. 
 
By Melissa Sugarman