Walk To It: The Best Urban Hikes in Melbourne

Walk your way around Melbourne and discover the many sights of the city on these five trails.

Walking is without doubt one of the best ways to see and learn about a city. Fortunately, Melbourne lends itself to such an exploration. It’s generally flat and our pathways are ideal for walking.

A number of companies offer organised walking tours around Melbourne and further afield. Numerous councils and organisations have also produced self-guided walking tours. Here are five of our favourites.

Sunset at St Kilda Pier
Sunset at St Kilda Pier (©Visit Victoria)

Foreshore Trail 

This trail celebrates the 11-kilometre foreshore of the City of Port Phillip as it traces the coastline of Hobsons Bay from Sandridge to Elwood. The trail takes in such attractions as Princess, Station and St Kilda piers, the St Kilda Breakwater, the Esplanade, Sea Baths and Luna Park.

You’ll also find plenty of places to stop for a reviving ale or bite to eat with Bay Street and Acland Street particularly popular.

Hosier Lane
The colourful street art of Hosier Lane (©Roshan Sukhla)

Melbourne Walks Arcades and Lanes

One of seven self-guided walks produced by the City of Melbourne, the ‘Arcades and Lanes Walk’ takes in Melbourne’s most popular arcades and laneways. As the informative brochure accompanying the walk explains, Melbourne’s little laneways began life as rear access to properties facing big streets. Many were later roofed as ‘arcades’ to provide refuge from the weather for crowds and to provide more space for shops.

The 2.5-kilometre walk, which starts and ends at Federation Square, includes all the city’s major arcades, explains the history of some of the most significant buildings you’ll pass and offers plenty of suggestions if you’re looking for a break from your self-discovery tour. 

Melbourne Cricket Ground
Take the Yarra River Sports Walk and learn all about the legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground (©SDP Media)

Yarra River Sports Walk

The Yarra River precinct is home to many of Melbourne’s major sporting venues. The Yarra River Sports Walks, produced by the Yarra River Business Association is a great way to see and learn more about the venues and the history of the sports they host.

The walk explains Melbourne’s rowing history and passes such attractions as the Tan Running Track, Victorian Institute of Sport, Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena, AAMI Park, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the National Sports Museum.

If you’re more interested in the arts then there’s also the ‘Arts Walk’ which takes in an array of arts and cultural institutions, including public art installations found along the Yarra River.

Take a walk around picturesque Docklands at sunset (©Emily Godfrey/Visit Victoria)

Dockside Docklands Walking Tour

As the name suggests, the Dockside Docklands Walking Tour devised by Places Victoria explores the rich and varied history of the Docklands. Covering around 4.5 kilometres, the tour encompasses 25 stops around Docklands, focusing on the precinct’s development following European settlement. It tells the stories of the wharfies and railway workers who helped turn Docklands into Victoria’s busiest port, and forever changed the landscape of this part of Melbourne.

The Melbourne Docklands Walking Tours app includes stories and anecdotes from former wharfie Jim Beggs, who spent years working in Docklands, and went on to become the last national president of the Australian Waterside Workers Federation.

Capital City Trail
Discover the Capital City Trail (©Visit Victoria)

Capital City Trail

Covering nearly 30 kilometres, the Capital City Trail is a mixed bicycle and walking track which circles the city centre taking in inner and northern suburbs. But fear not you don’t need to do it all in one day! The trail incorporates a number of other bike/walking paths including the Merri Creek Trail, Main Yarra Trail and Inner Circle Rail Trail.

Starting at Southbank, the trail follows the Yarra River through South Yarra, Hawthorn, Abbotsford and Clifton Hill. It also traverses Brunswick, Carlton, the Docklands and then back to Southbank.