It is as important as ever to tread lightly and lessen our impact on these 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.

While we’ve focused on day trips close to Melbourne for starters, keep an eye out here for future weekend, overnight hiking, and even snorkelling opportunities that are also accessible by public transport.

Make sure you use Public Transport Victoria’s Journey Planner to plan your adventure, and check for the latest national park information, including walk 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 about as close to mountains as Melbourne can get! Take a walk through the lovely mountain ash forests that it has to offer and challenge yourself to the 1000 steps Kokoda Memorial Trail at 3 kilometres in length. 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 4.5 kilometres, or if you’re after something shorter, the Ramblers Track Loop is an easy 1.5 kilometres.

Getting there:
Hop onto the Belgrave Line Train from Flinders Street Station to Upper Ferntree Gully Station. From there, it’s just over a 1-kilometre walk to the base of the Kokoda Memorial Trail, where there are three different loop tracks to tackle.

Park information/maps:
www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/dandenong-ranges-national-park

Note that there are several facilities (picnic grounds, toilets) in the area currently closed due to weather damage and other changed conditions, so it’s worth checking the Parks Victoria website before you go.

 

Caption: 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 on the island, and you can bring your own bike on the train or hire one at the general store, 1 kilometre away from Tankerton Jetty. Home to a large population of koalas, there is also a diverse range of environments from mangrove saltmarshes to woodlands that are worth exploring and campgrounds if you’d like to make your journey longer. The Old Coast Road Track also starts at Tankerton Jetty and is a flat 5 kilometres each way track that gives you the best of all environments. The West Coast Wetlands Walking Track is also popular for birdlife and orchids and includes the Pinnacles Lookout for spectacular views of the wetlands, bay and land across it.

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: www.westernportferries.com.au

Park information/maps:

https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/french-island-national-park