To give you some ideas of where to go this Queen’s Birthday long weekend, we asked the team at Melbourne Girls Outside to share their favourite hikes.
The Bluff via Refrigerator Gap – Alpine National Park
Lisa Sanderson hiking to The Bluff via Refrigerator Gap in Victoria’s Alpine National Park. (Instagram: @lisabsanderson)
Allow about 3 hours
This hike involves a steep trail that requires some hands-and-knees navigation and a real scramble to the top, but ultimately you’re rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views over Mt Buller and the surrounding peaks.
It’s tough work but the sensation at the top is unbeatable, a kind of euphoria that comes with feeling like you are literally on top of the world.
While this can be done in three hours with a day pack, the hike can easily be extended to a full day by going all the way to Bluff Hut or an overnight hike by starting lower at 8 Mile Flat.
But be warned, carrying a full pack up the near-vertical ascent is a special kind of wickedness.
Point Addis to Ironbark Basin Circuit – Great Otway National Park
A group from Melbourne Girls Outside on the Point Addis to Ironbark Basin circuit hike. (Instagram: @saraaurorae)
Allow about 3.5 hours
This gorgeous coastal walk is located just off the Great Ocean Road near Bells Beach.
You walk through sheltered forest and are rewarded with epic ocean views from the top of the cliffs.
It’s relatively easy but there are some sections that get the heart thumping.
Walking along the beach back towards the car park is truly stunning, but make sure you check the tides before leaving.
It’s a beautiful hike and a great experience.
Sealers Cove – Wilsons Promontory National Park
Eliza Sum, one of the co-founders of Melbourne Girls Outside, at Sealers Cove. (Instagram: @elizasum)
Allow about 6 hours or overnight
A relatively easy hike which offers a real variety of terrain.
You begin in a thick mountain forest, traversing a boardwalk surrounded by ferny swamp before finally arriving at picturesque Sealers Cove.
It can be done as a day walk or an overnight hike, but those planning to camp should check the tides as there is a creek crossing before the campground which can be waist-deep at high tide.
You begin the hike with stunning views of the tree-covered mountains and end it with your very own beachfront, if only for a night.
Having a longer period of time at the cove means seeing it at both high and low tides and clear skies will allow you to take in the stunning sunsets without having to worry about rushing back before dark.
There’s something special about setting up camp in a secluded spot and enjoying the peace and quiet after the day hikers leave.
Chalwell Galleries – Mt Buffalo
A challenging rock section on the Chalwell Galleries hike at Mt Buffalo. (Instagram: @nizzy79)
Allow about 2.5 hours
This short hike is perfect for beginners looking for a slight challenge.
The hike involves a short, steep climb which then drops down through a cave requiring you to squeeze yourself into the open through a narrow fissure between two huge granite boulders.
From there it’s an enjoyable walk back down to Lake Catani campground, enjoying excellent views from Mt Buffalo to Mt Bogong along the way.
It’s a short but rewarding hike and a great way to capture the last couple of hours of daylight before settling in for the night at Lake Catani.
Southern Circuit – Cathedral Range State Park
Hiking in Cathedral Range State Park is challenging but offers some magnificent views. (Instagram: 52hikes.the.road.to.patagonia)
Allow about 5-6 hours
The hike starts with some impressive rock scrambling via the Canyon track or the more difficult Wells Cave track (only attempt this one if you can handle exposure and enclosure).
It brings you out on the top of Sugarloaf Peak where you can take in some spectacular views before heading across the Razorback to the Farmyard and up to South Jawbone Peak for more stunning vistas.
The Jawbone track returns you to Cooks Mill, where you can spend the night and attempt the Northern Circuit the next day.
It’s a hike that is challenging enough to be interesting in itself but the views along the way make it extra special.
Mount Rosea Loop Walk – Grampians National Park
Melbourne Girls Outside co-founder Tamara Hutchins on the Mount Rosea Loop Walk. (Instagram: @tamhikes)
Allow 4 hours
A varied hike that allows you to wander along a sandy path, walk among trees, climb boulders and scramble over and in between rocks.
There’s a real sense of adventure as you hunt for the arrows that guide your way and there are amazing views at almost every point along the hike, including spectacular 360-degree views of the Grampians.