It is as important as ever to tread lightly and lessen our impact on the precious places we love.

Taking public transport is one way to minimise your carbon footprint, as is walking, and combining the two can lead to one great day out.

Make sure you use Public Transport Victoria’s Journey Planner to plan your adventure, and check for the latest national park information, including maps and accessibility, on the Parks Victoria website.

Header image credit: Parks Victoria

Close to Melbourne and short in duration – perfect for your daily nature hit!

Caption: Walking, Dandenong Ranges National Park 📷 Parks Victoria

Dandenong Ranges National Park

The Dandenong Ranges is a beautiful park right on the edge of Melbourne! Take a walk through the lovely mountain ash forests and challenge yourself to the 1000 steps Kokoda Memorial Trail – a 3km loop with almost 300m of vertical ascent. It may be busy on weekends, so you might want to plan around the crowds – mid-week or early morning are often quieter. Other walks in the area include the Belview Loop at 4.5km, or if you’re after something shorter, the Ramblers Track Loop is an easy 1.5km.

Getting there:
Hop onto the Belgrave Line Train from Flinders Street Station to Upper Ferntree Gully Station. From there, it’s just over a 1km walk to the base of the Kokoda Memorial Trail, where there are three different loop tracks to tackle. If you’re after a longer day hike, there are other tracks you can link together to make a larger loop.

Park information/maps:

French Island National Park 📷 Parks Victoria

French Island National Park

French Island is a walkers’ paradise with a variety of tracks. Cycling is also popular – you can bring your own bike on the train or hire one at the general store, 1km away from Tankerton Jetty. Home to a large population of koalas, there is also a diverse range of habitats to explore, from mangrove saltmarshes to woodlands. You can also camp on the island and stay for a longer adventure.

The Old Coast Road Track starts at Tankerton Jetty and is a flat 5km each way. The West Coast Wetlands Walking Track is also popular for birdlife and orchids. It includes the Pinnacles Lookout for spectacular views of the wetlands, bay and island.

Getting there:
Jump on the Frankston Line from Flinders Street to Frankston Station, then onto the V/Line service to Stony Point. From here, you’ll need to get on a passenger ferry to French Island’s Tankerton Jetty. Check timetables and book tickets here:

Park information/maps:


If you’re looking for something a little different for your next weekend away, or want to fully immerse yourself in a nature experience, these wonderful walks and spectacular campgrounds can be enjoyed while leaving the car at home.

Make sure to check the Parks Victoria website before you go, for up to date information on area closures and issues.

Caption: The highlight of the MacKenzie Falls Track 📷 Parks Victoria

The Grampians-Gariwerd National Park

Halls Gap at the base of the Grampians is accessible by V/Line coach and is very central to Grampians-Gariwerd, with various loop trails accessible from here. Make sure you go to the Halls Gap Visitors Centre to pick up a map of the Southern Grampians. The Pinnacle Walk is fantastic, as is the MacKenzie Falls Track. You can link the two through a variety of walking tracks.

Various campsites are close to the town, including the caravan park and bush campsites marked on the map. There is also a variety of local accommodation options well worth checking out.

Getting there:
Hop on the Ararat V/Line train to Ararat from Southern Cross Station. From here, there are two options: use the Dimboola V/Line coach from Ararat to Stawell and then the Halls Gap V/Line coach to Halls Gap Information Centre; or use the Warrnambool V/Line coach from Ararat to Halls Gap Information Centre.

Park information/maps:

Caption: Coastal walk, ocean views 📷 Parks Victoria

Great Otway National Park

The Great Otway National Park is a beautiful park to visit and is accessible by public transport. The Surf Coast Walk is a 44km walk that runs through the park from Torquay to Aireys Inlet. It can be broken up into 12 parts, so you can stop and start wherever you please. You can also do sections in day trips, as most of them start and end in towns with V/Line coach stops. Ironbark Basin to Anglesea is a popular section that runs directly through the park and is 9.7km. Currawong Falls Circuit Track is accessible from Distillery Creek Picnic Area in Aireys Inlet. It’s the perfect place to visit after rain, to see the waterfalls in all their glory. Be mindful that there are some steep sections along this 12km walk.

Getting there:
Jump on the V/Line train to Geelong/Waurn Ponds from Southern Cross Station and depart at Geelong. Then onto a V/Line coach towards Apollo Bay. There are several stops along the Great Ocean Road where you can walk to access points along the Surf Coast Walk.

Park information/maps:

Great Otway National Park

Surf Coast Walk

Caption: History along the Goldfields Track 📷 Parks Victoria

Greater Bendigo National Park/Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park/Wombat State Forest on the Goldfields Track

These parks and forests are destinations on the ‘Goldfields Track’, a 210km track from Creswick/Ballarat to Bendigo for both bushwalkers and mountain bike riders. It is relatively flat to hilly terrain. The trail is broken up into multi-day and shorter sections, in proximity to towns with public transport options at Ballarat/Creswick, Daylesford, Castlemaine and Bendigo. They are great ways to explore the forests and towns of central Victoria.

The Ballarat/Creswick to Daylesford section is a multiday walk through farmland and Wombat State Forest. The Daylesford to Castlemaine section is 61km and shows changes in habitat types and the famous Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. The Castlemaine to Bendigo section shows off Mount Alexander’s granite tors and box-ironbark forest.

Getting there:
Take the Bendigo/Epsom/Eaglehawk/Echuca V/Line train from Southern Cross Station to Castlemaine or Bendigo. There is also a coach from Woodend Station to Daylesford.
If you’re planning to start from Creswick, take a Ballarat/Wendouree line train and there are regional coach services to Creswick. The walks themselves often start/conclude at the train/bus stations.

Park information/maps:

Goldfields Track

Greater Bendigo National Park

Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park

Mount Alexander Regional Park: