You can get active in lots of ways, but walking is one of the easiest! For most people, it's a safe and free activity and it doesn't require any special skills or equipment. Plus sometimes it's essential to get out of the house, into some fresh air and a natural setting.
This list of the best short walks ie under 4km in and around Melbourne that are all achievable with kids, with a few that you can just choose to walk a section of the trail.
**Please check official channels to get up to date information as to whether sites are open at a specific time and restrictions relating to travel and social distancing.
Best walks in Melbourne with kids – North
1. Dights Falls Trail, Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield
4km, 1 hour
Start from Kanes Bridge and set out on the Dights Falls Tail, approximately 4 kilometres of relatively easy terrain. There are plenty of spots to picnic, and you can see the artificial weir which was originally constructed to feed water to the Ceres flour mill.
Best short walks in Melbourne – South
2. The Tan, South Yarra
3.8km, 1 hour
Head along The Tan around the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens – it’s one of the most popular tracks in Melbourne! The majority of the path is gravel track so you'll be able to push a pram along too. There's lots of varied scenery from fancy houses, to the Botanic Gardens and the Yarra.
You can also enter the Royal Botanic Gardens themselves to get your dose of greenery. In the warmer months cool off with water play at the Ian Potter Children's Garden!
3. Albert Park Lake, Albert Park
5km, 1.25 hours
This walking track covers 5km total, however, there is the option to choose a shorter walk.
Spanning from Brighton to Beaumaris is 17km of coastal trail. Along this coastline there are impressive beaches (including Half Moon Bay), art, history, environment and Indigenous trails.
You can download trail guides. The distance can be broken up into pieces, with Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary is towards the southern end of the trail in Beaumaris and the Brighton Bathing Boxes towards the northern end of the trail.
Melbourne's ‘other' botanic gardens are a treasure trove of interesting displays, artworks and water features.
If you get a bit tired walking around you can always catch the Gardens Explorer bus too!
6. Point Nepean Coastal Walk, Mornington Peninsula
3km one way, 1 – 2 hours
See bushland, stunning coast and remnants of maritime and war history on this walk along the tip of the peninsula. Much of the walk is on a sealed road, but there are some old fortifications that you might be able to explore.
7. Arthurs Seat State Park
Arthurs Seat is named after its resemblance to Edinburgh's Arthurs Seat and it is the highest viewpoint on the Mornington Peninsula.
You could choose to walk up the 304 metre hill from the bottom – but with kids I suggest you either drive or ride the Arthurs Seat Eagle gondola chair to the top and start your walking from there. Enjoy breathtaking views, ornamental gardens, sculptures and many short walking tracks.
The Enchanted Adventure Garden is also part of the area. Wander through its 20 themed gardens and relax with a picnic lunch among the artworks of the Sculpture Park Walk.
8. Coolart Wetlands, Somers
On a site with an old homestead is the Coolart Wetlands, allowing a walk through the wetlands where you are sure to see lots of birdlife. Take a picnic to have on the grassed areas of the Homestead.
Short Walks in Melbourne with Kids – East
9. Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne
Head to Fitzroy Gardens and admire the fairy tree, fountains, sculptures and lush and varied greenery.
A great place to take a picnic and look out for birdlife just a short walk or tram ride from the CBD.
10. Warburton Redwood Forest Walk, Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges
Take a walk through the tall, densely planted, Redwood forest and you can venture as few or many steps as you’d like.
The spot is perfect for taking some amazing photographs, setting up a picnic and enjoying the natural sounds around you.
Find Hotels and Airbnbs in Yarra Valley
11. Alfred Nicholas Gardens, Sherbrooke
The Alfred Nicholas Gardens are known for their picturesque waterfalls, water features and its iconic ornamental lake and boathouse.
It's most spectacular in spring for fresh foliage and in autumn when the leaves turn glorious gold and red hues.
12. Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (1000 Steps), Dandenong Ranges
3 kilometres, 1.5 hours
This is a more challenging walk, but very rewarding with its winding trail through the bush. There is a fair amount of steep terrain, so better for more experienced junior walkers. Peak time on the track tends to be in the mornings on Saturday and Sunday.
Plaques along the trail commemorate Australian soldiers who fought and died on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea during WWII.
13. Living Bush Nature Walk, Dandenong Ranges
2.5km, 45 minutes – 1 hour
If the 1000 steps are too challenging, from the same starting point you can take the Living Bush Nature Walk, which is easier terrain, and a slightly shorter 2.5km. It branches off before the start of the steps. Look out for kookaburras, rosellas and cockatoos!
Best family walks in Melbourne – West
14. Newport Lakes, Newport
Wander from the car park, out of the suburbs and into Newport Lakes, an old bluestone quarry and tip site. A wander around the lake takes approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour (with some uneven terrain), but it’s an excellent place to stop for a picnic on the grass or at one of several scattered picnic tables.
There is a rocky causeway through the middle of the lake, often surrounded by the resident ducks.
Newport Lakes, Lakes Drive, Newport
15. Cherry Lake, Altona
3.5km, 45 minutes – 1 hour
A turn around Cherry Lake is only 3.5 kilometre long and it's all flat!
You will find a playground, salt marsh habitats used by a range of water birds, picnic shelters and barbecues.
16. Hobsons Bay Trail, Altona, Seaholme, Williamstown
Spanning more than 10km between Altona and Williamstown, choose a section of the trail that suits you.
Depending on where you walk, you will see Hobsons Bay’s beaches, boats in Williamstown, Williamstown Botanic Gardens, Jawbone Reserve and a variety of bird life.
17. Truganina Park, Altona Meadows
What used to be a tip is now 25 hectares of parkland with wooded areas, wetlands, and barbecues and it's never crowded.
18. Organ Pipes National Park, Keilor North
Up to 1.3km, up to 1 hour
Located at the edge of a lava flow, Organ Pipes National Park is full of fascinating naturally occurring rock formations.
Once you get down the bottom of the large hill into the valley there are several shorter walks available, so you could even go on more than one trail.
While walking, look out for kangaroos, echidnas, wallabies and platypus.
I hope this post has helped or inspired you! Get my awesome weekly newsletter in your inbox every week to find out more ways for your family to have fun together!