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Let your feet do the talking on these great day hikes around regional Victoria. There’s a trail to suit every rambler.
Story by Krysia Bonkowski.
The 1km wheelchair-friendly loop at Wilsons Promontory National Park
For four-legged friends
Have a grand day with your doggo on the Surf Coast. The ruggedly beautiful 44km Surf Coast Walk from Point Impossible to Fairhaven is easily tackled in 12 distinct sections, and includes many stretches of dog-friendly track. Along the way are beaches where well-behaved hounds can roam off-leash, particularly along the long sweep of Fairhaven Beach, Torquay’s Whites Beach and around Anglesea, Jan Juc and Aireys Inlet out of peak season.
Top tip: From December 1 to late February (plus Easter) certain beaches allow dogs only between 7pm and 9am. Before you hit the sands, check council regulations. To find pooch-friendly parks statewide, try Parks Victoria’s park locator map and tick the option for “I want to take the dog”.
For nature lovers
Stroll through the world’s largest river red gum forest and trace the mighty Murray River in the traditional Yorta Yorta lands of Barmah National Park, about 40km from Echuca. Bushwalking tracks such as the 4km Lakes Loop Track, starting and ending at Dharnya carpark, promise sightings of native critters such as grey kangaroos and koalas, along with more than 200 resident bird species including emus, spoonbills, sea eagles and parrots of every hue.
Top tip: Maximise your chances of seeing Victoria’s wonderful native wildlife by exploring around dawn and dusk, when many species are at their most active.
Ducks at Lake Daylesford.
Egret at Barmah National Park. Image supplied by Parks Victoria.
Top tip: If you have a budding explorer on your hands, Parks Victoria’s Junior Rangers invites kids between six and 12 on wild adventures under the guidance of park rangers. Join the mailing list to find out more.
For hardcore hikers
Take up the challenge of the 26km Two Bays Trail, one of the longest continual tracks on the Mornington Peninsula. Starting at Dromana, this well-kept route, signposted with a blue wren symbol, climbs up to stellar bay views at Arthurs Seat before descending through peaceful bushland in Mornington Peninsula National Park past Bushrangers Bay to the lighthouse crowning Cape Schanck. Take a moment at the journey’s end to fill your lungs at Cape Schanck, where the air is so clean and wholesome that the CSIRO has bottled it.
Top tip: Victoria is glorious to explore in summer, but bushfire risk is at its highest between November and April. Before embarking on a big hike over the hotter months, get up to date warnings on emergency.vic.gov.au.
Cape Schanck Lighthouse. Image supplied by Parks Victoria.
For accessible adventures
The Loo-Errn Track in the unfailingly breathtaking Wilsons Promontory was designed with accessibility in mind. The 1km wheelchair-friendly loop departs from the Tidal River carpark and forges through thriving wetlands and swamp paperbark forests. Help a good cause as you explore by downloading the ClimateWatch field guides or app, and report your sightings of special “indicator” species for the impacts of climate change, including native birds, frogs, bugs and blooming plants.