Adventures (and microadventures) can be urban, especially in Victoria’s trendy capital, with its parks, beaches and endless trails. Mattie’s rounded up the five best spots for adventures in Melbourne; choose your fix.
There’s something magical about packing your bags and leaving the city for an adventure fix, and with so many beautiful national parks around Melbourne, it’s not hard to get out there. But with fire season underway, and many national parks closing for safety reasons, perhaps now’s the time to look for adventure a bit closer to home. So here’s the question, can you still get your dose of adventure in Melbourne, without leaving the city?
Adventure comes in many shapes and forms, these are our top picks for easy to access adventures in the City of Melbourne.
1. Indoor Climbing
Melbourne’s certainly not short of climbing gyms. Dotted around the city, Melbournites have their pick of over ten dedicated climbing and bouldering gyms catering to your every vertical whim.
Hardrock Climbing is the most central of Melbourne’s climbing gyms, located on Franklin Street a stone’s throw from the CBD. A bit further out you can also clip in at Climbing Worx, Coburg North, or North Walls, Brunswick.
Climbers that prefer the freedom and challenge of bouldering won’t be disappointed. The latest bouldering gym to open is BlocHaus, Port Melbourne, whereas Melbourne’s first dedicated bouldering gym is The Lactic Factory, in Abbotsford.
2. Urban Running
Clocking in at a healthy 4.8km, the track around Albert Park Lake is the perfect running route in Melbourne. Long enough to get your lungs pumping, close enough to the CBD for a lunch run, and with just enough nature to feel like you’re really out there.
If you want to get a bit more coastal, the Foreshore Heritage Trail takes you from Sandridge Beach, in Port Melbourne, along the coastline to Elwood beach. At a heady 11km (if you run the full trail), you’ll pass many historical Melbourne sights, such as the Sea Baths, Luna Park and St Kilda Pier.
3. Urban Surfing
Melbourne’s surfers have some pretty great beaches on either side of the city, but the top class waves of Bells Beach are a little ways out of town. Instead of taking your board to the bay and working on that paddle strength, there are now artificial waves that break closer to the city.
URBNSURF Melbourne reckon they’ve got a surf break for every level. This wave pool, near Tullamarine Airport, certainly looks the business and has everything from barreling lefts and rights, to whitewater rollers for absolute beginners.
Whatever your preference for paddle-powered watercraft, kayak, canoe or SUP, there’s plenty of waterways to explore if you fancy getting your paddle on.
Head along the Yarra between Melbourne Park and the Botanic Gardens for some urban nature scenes, or paddle into the Docklands for a water-based Urbex adventure. If you really want to feel like you’re out of the city, take your trusty floater to the beaches of Port Phillip Bay and get salty.
Cycling in the city doesn’t get much more iconic than the Capital City Trail. The route is a 29km loop of the city that starts and finishes at Southbank – although you could start and finish anywhere along the route. Highlights include the ride along the Yarra, passing through Royal Park and the ample number of cafes and pubs throughout the city. You can also cycle the Foreshore Heritage Trail.
A short pedal from Melbourne’s CBD, you’ll find a small slice of singletrack trails nestled in Westgate Park, under the imposing form of West Gate Bridge. This truly urban sanctuary has a mix of singletrack trails and the wider, open paths of the Bay Trail that winds around both a freshwater lake and a saltwater lake.
Feature photo thanks to Jonathan Tan