Get active with the best running and walking trails across Melbourne.
From skyline views to serene and secluded bush walks, we’ve outlined the top four walking and running routes located in and around Melbourne’s city centre.
1. Royal Botanic Gardens Trail
Boasting 51,000 plants, the 3km trail around the Royal Botanic Gardens is an ideal location to soak up a sunny day. Spend a few hours walking the gardens taking in the sights and sounds of the local flora and fauna. Just outside the park, you’ll want to capture some photos of the Shrine of Remembrance, commemorating all Australians who have served in the war.
Looking to run Melbourne instead? At 3.84km’s around the King’s Domain, the neutral coloured gravel track affectionately known as “The Tan” is the place to be. Both locals and visitors will love working up a sweat around this popular track.
Start and Finish: Gate D Birdwood Avenue
Pit Stop: Located just steps from the gardens and run by famous Australian chef Shannon Bennett, the Jardin Tan focuses on sustainability with a French and Vietnamese flair. Sip a latte from the front-of-house kiosk, drink ale in the beer garden or dine on dynamic flavours inside the restaurant.
2. Capital City Trail
Adventurers and trekkers will find haven in this lengthy trail that wraps around the city. Conquering the entire 30km is a massive undertaking, but it’s entirely worthwhile. Follow the trail past Melbourne’s best entertainment hubs including the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Victorian Arts Centre and elegant Como House. However, if tranquil bushlands make you jump for joy, the nature of Dights Falls, Yarra Bend Park and Moonee Ponds Creek should do the trick. When it comes to running tracks Melbourne can boast about, this is one of them.
Don’t forget to whip out the smart phone on the Princes Bridge to capture the picturesque skyline. With too many attractions and landmarks to name, the Capital City Trail is a great option for those in search of an all-encompassing self-guided tour of vibrant Melbourne.
Start and Finish: Southbank
Pit Stop: With friendly staff, huge portions using local produce and cute dogs in abundance, The Farm Café in Abbotsford will provide a much needed sanctuary after hours of walking.
3. Bay Trail
Begin one of the best walks in Melbourne at the iconic landmark of the St Kilda pier. The historic moon face of Luna Park will welcome you with a toothy grin. With an easy and completely flat terrain, this track is great for families with young kids as well as those looking for a leisurely outing.
Wrapping 6kms around Port Phillip Bay, joggers, walkers and cyclists alike will love gawking at the yachts and sailboats drifting out of the harbour. A trip around the bay isn’t complete without admiring the 82 unique Brighton Bathing Boxes along the foreshore. Grab your selfie stick and smile in front of your favourite technicoloured wooden house. Melbourne is known for having four seasons in a day, so it’s safe to say packing swimwear, sunscreen and a jumper is a smart choice.
Start: St Kilda Pier
Finish: Bay Street, Brighton
Pit Stop: With bay view dining, North Point Cafe in Brighton makes for a one-of-kind break. Whether you’ve worked up an appetite or are craving a cold beverage, you won’t want to pass up this menu consisting of all-day breakfast with a contemporary twist.
4. The Melbourne Heritage Walk
Only have an hour to spare? At a short 2km, the Melbourne Heritage Walk is the quintessential option for those in a time bind. Start by heading north of Flinders Street ensuring you check out the original flourmill at 277 Flinders Lane. The Block Arcade comes next with its mosaic tiles, glass dome roof and specialty shops. Connect with the city’s historic side by ducking into the Royal Arcade, first opened in 1870. Finish up by crossing Elizabeth Street and strolling past the picture perfect brick buildings on McKillop Street.
Don't forget to get a happy snap in front of Flinders Street Railway Station. For travellers wanting to soak up the historic city vibes in a jiff, this is one of the best Melbourne walking tracks.
Start: Flinders Street
Finish: Little Lonsdale Street
Pit Stop: Make a difference by sipping and snacking at Streat, a nonprofit café whose proceeds go to disadvantaged youth.