Adventures (and microadventures) can be still be found in urban places, especially in Victoria’s trendy capital, with its parks, beaches and endless trails. Mattie’s rounded up 11 adventures in Melbourne that’ll give you your nature fix in the big city.
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 what if you want to find adventure a little closer to home? Can you still get your dose of adventure in Melbourne, without leaving the city?
Adventure comes in many shapes, forms, and places! And Melbourne is certainly one of them. These are our top picks for easy to access adventures in Melbourne.
Indoor Climbing Adventures in Melbourne
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.
1. Top Rope Climbing
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.
Running Adventures in Melbourne
3. Albert Park Lake
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.
4. Foreshore Heritage Trail
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.
5. Dandenong 1000 Steps (Kokoda Track Memorial Track)
For those living further out of the city to the east, the Dandenong Ranges should be a familiar place. The infamous 1000 Steps Walk is an ideal one to tackle at the end of the day, when the summer air starts to cool. Located in the southern point of the national park, it’s accessible, with a large car park and a café at the bottom.
If you’ve got a whole day to spend, you could go deeper into the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
Surfing Adventures in Melbourne
6. URBNSURF Melbourne
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.
Paddling Adventures in Melbourne
7. Explore Melbourne’s Waterways
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 River 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 Adventures in Melbourne
8. Capital City Trail
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.
9. Bayside Cycling Trail
Commencing at the Westgate Bridge in Williamstown, the Bayside Cycling Trail is a well-paved cycling route that follows along the coastline of Port Phillip Bay, through St Kilda to Brighton.
Although still close to civilisation, this cruisy 18km ride offers lovely water views and a great sense of satisfaction when watching the sunset over the city (with a few swimming spots along the way). For those with ample time, you can continue a further 27km along the coast to Carrum. You beauty!
10. Main Yarra Trail
Another great Melbourne biking trail is the Main Yarra Trail. This 33km trail starts in Melbourne’s north in Templestowe and winds along the Yarra River, all the way to Southbank.
It’s an abundantly green, leafy trail suitable for cyclists and pedestrians and is reasonably flat – perfect for a leisurely evening ride! Highlights include the section between Yarra Bend Park and Collingwood Children’s Farm through Abbotsford, as well as the long stretch between Burnley and the city, descending into Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
Read more: Guide to Melbourne’s Bike Paths
Picnic Adventures in Melbourne
11. Explore Melbourne’s Gardens
One of Melbourne’s finest qualities is its many green spaces and parks. The greatest end to a summer’s day is spent lying beneath the trees enjoying a picnic.
Edinburgh Gardens is an obvious favourite in the inner north, and other standouts include Yarra Bend Park at Fairfield, Royal Park in Parkville, Fitzroy Gardens and of course, the stunning Royal Botanic Gardens, where I’d happily wile away any Sunday. Even my local Allard Park in Brunswick has space for all the activities.
This article was written in collaboration with Emily Barlow
Feature photo thanks to Visit Vic