From the Mountains to the Sea- Great Hikes in Victoria
Victorians love their weekends. They love their public holidays, and they tolerate their ridiculous Summers. I had parents who dragged me all over the state to go camping as a youth (and as a teenager I never enjoyed it.) Nowadays, I have a deep appreciation for getting out of the city when I can with my dog and going somewhere nice for a hike and a picnic. I’m all about that picnic. Everyone here at Fetch Collective actually, enjoys getting out into nature with our dogs. So, with another public holiday upon us, we wanted to give you a round up of walks, hikes, dog friendly places you can go to spend some quality time with your furry friends.
All About the View
We know this is a bit of a drive, but we promise the views are worth it. You Yangs Regional Park sits just north of Geelong, about an hour from Melbourne. There’s a variety of walks you can do in this park with your pups, but I highly recommend trying the Flinder’s Peak summit, and the East-West walk. Near the top of the Flinders Peak walk, there’s a look out that on a beautiful clear day, you can spot Bunjil, the creator spirit of the Wathaurong people, in the shape of a Wedge-tailed Eagle. It’s a bit of a hike to the top, but the view atop the boulders is stunning, and the wind will chill you right off.
The East-West walk take you around Flinders Peak and takes about two hours to complete, but it will reward you with stunning panoramic views in every direction. A little easier than the Flinder’s Peak walk in elevation, but you enjoy a longer walk, and you can still spot Bunjil if you’re searching. The You Yangs hosts toilets, BBQ areas, but no rubbish bins, so take it with you!
- Stunning views.
- Decent hike, will get your blood pumping.
- Toilets and BBQ facilities.
- Spot Bunjil.
Best of Both Worlds
Down the Peninsula, past Mornington you’ll find the Red Hill Rail Trail. The beginning can be a little hard to find but once you’ve parked at the small playground, signage is pretty good. The trail runs from Red Hill to Merrick but it’s up to you how much you walk. You’ll get rural and sea views on this trail, and if you’re lucky you can spot farm animals in the pastures on either side. This trail is popular with horse riders, so dogs are kept on leash, but usually the riders are lovely, just make sure to give them space. With great cafes on either end of the trail, and Arthur’s Seat on the Red Hill end, a great way to do the whole trail is by biking it if your pup has the legs for it. Nearby in Arthur’s Seat is a dog friendly beach called Tassels’s Cove, which is an off-leash beach. Doesn’t get much better than this.
- Historic rail trail, can be biked or walked.
- Dog friendly beach nearby.
- Check out Red Hill BBQ for that old fashioned American low and slow BBQ.
- Bathrooms at the start of the trail.
Sand, Sun, See
Another must-do walk is Millionaires walk. If you’re down Sorrento way this public holiday, or during your free weekend, this clifftop walk is a must. On a clear day there are views from the Bellarine peninsula to the Dandenong Ranges. It’s a relatively short walk but with an art trail and two dog beaches in the area, you can spend a full day enjoying the sea air with your pooch. The walk starts in Sorrento Park, a stunning park, which has BBQ facilities (an absolute must,) seating areas, bathrooms, and for families with children, a pretty cool playground.
- Million dollar views. Literally (It’s called Millionaires walk because the houses that live on the ridge are millions of dollars.)
- Two dog friendly Beaches nearby to choose from.
- Art trail and beautiful park to start your walk or have lunch in.
- Mubble- Ice-cream shop in Sorrento…Need I say more? Yes, yes I do- They have a huge range of gluten and dairy free options.
Close to Home
This is one of my favourites, and one I hold close to my chest. I’ll share it with you, but you must promise to love it as much as I do. We all know about the Main Yarra Trail, right? Wide paths, and follows along the Yarra River? Well, there’s a section along it that I love to walk, and my family loves it too, so that whilst we all live in different parts of the city, we’ll meet up once a month and walk here. In Templestowe, east of the city, is a little antique apple orchard. They call them antique, because the apples that grow there aren’t commercially produced anymore, which is incredible. The place is called Petty’s Orchard, and there’s a path down to the Yarra trail from their parking lot. The walk is stunning, with views of the river all along obviously. There are boardwalk sections, but mainly gravel. You’ll see bicyclists come by, maybe a horse or two, and quite a bit of shade so it doesn’t get too hot. Here’s the thing though, you’re not just going for the walk. You’re going for Petty’s.
I cannot stress enough how much I love Petty’s Orchard. If I could do over my wedding, I would have had it at Petty’s. They have a wonderful little café that sells a range of sweet and savoury pastries as well as coffees, juices, smoothies, it’s all good. There’s a tiny playground, and the outdoor areas of the café are all dog friendly. If you want to do it right though here’s what you do. Get up in the morning, pack up the dog and the kids (if you have them, or don’t,) and go straight to Petty’s. Get your coffee to go from Petty’s and take your group down to the walk. Go for as long as your little stomachs can handle and walk back. Now go in and order the flourless chocolate cake, warmed, with cream (if you can handle cream), and your drink of choice. Sit down outside and enjoy the sunlight, eat your cake when it arrives and feel the bliss of morning exercise followed by the most decadent chocolate cake you’ve ever had in your life.
- You can choose how long you walk for going either way.
- Wide paths make it easier to pass slower walkers, and great for cycling with the family.
- The MOST amazing flourless chocolate cake and outdoor seating area at Petty’s Orchard.
- A lovely walk on the weekends with stunning views of the river.
We hope this has given you an idea of places to go. There are so many beautiful walks and hikes you can do with your dog, and whilst this covers four, the list can be exhaustive. If you’d like to see more walks closer to your area, Parks Victoria has a great comprehensive list which you can find here.