The Yarra Valley is home to some of Australia’s most renowned wineries, distilleries, cellar doors, cafes and boutique shops. But this beautiful region also offers plenty of adventure and natural beauty to explore.
Whether you’re looking for a full-day hike or a quick stroll, there are plenty of walks to choose from in the Yarra Valley and Yarra Ranges National Park. So if you’re planning to visit Victoria for a weekend away, why not check out one of these trails?
Mount Riddell Track
The Mount Riddell Track is a 12 km out and back trail which boasts some of the best views in the Yarra Valley. This hike is a great way to explore the region and test your stamina. The best part is that it’s free! The trails are well maintained and provide excellent exercise without having to venture into the city. The best time to hike this track is early in the morning, before the heat sets in. It’s also a great way to see the area’s most spectacular sunsets and sunrises! It’s also a good idea to wear proper hiking attire to avoid unnecessary injuries. Alternatively, you can hire a professional guide to take the weight off your back. This is a great way to experience the best of Australia’s premier wine region without breaking the bank! The Yarra Valley is a magnificent place to call home. The area is a treasure trove of beautiful landscapes, award winning wineries, delicious cuisine and a thriving community. It’s a truly unique and memorable experience, a must for every visitor to the area.
O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail
The O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail is an amazing walking and cycling experience that will transport you to a Yarra Valley where towering trees, fern gullies, babbling water courses and stunning views await. The trail stretches for over 30 km between fern gullies and creeks, providing walkers with the opportunity to explore dense forest areas with some of the most amazing views.
The trails were originally built in 1914 to deliver water from the O’Shannassy River to the Melbourne area, however this service road has now been turned into a popular walking and cycling track. The trails provide a fantastic way to explore the natural state of the forests that surround the aqueduct, giving walkers a chance to see some of the local wildlife such as kookaburras, eastern rosellas and lyrebirds.
There are several access points to the O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail, with many car parks available along the trail. The best developed section is from the northern end of Yuonga Road to the Dee Rd carpark adjacent to Millgrove, which is a 7km loop that makes a great family outing.
You will be able to see the aqueduct throughout your journey, which is quite impressive when you consider it was once a major water supply to the Victorian capital. The trail is also a great opportunity to experience the mountain ash and tree-fern forests, as well as a number of old penstocks that were used for water transportation.
When walking or riding the O’Shannassy Aqueduct the best thing to do is to plan your route ahead of time. This will allow you to ensure you have the right gear and are ready for your adventure.
Depending on your level of fitness you can choose to ride the O’Shannassy Aqueduct as a loop or do it as an out-and-back. The latter is the most enjoyable and will take you through a variety of different terrains as you navigate the path through the forests.
The O’Shannassy Aqueduct is a great walk for the whole family and will give you a real taste of the Yarra Valley. The trail enables you to explore the mountain ash and tree-fern forests, which are a haven for a range of native animals, as well as providing beautiful views of the Yarra Valley below.
Keppel Falls is a beautiful, tiered waterfall which rushes and tumbles down huge boulders and slabs of mossy logs. It’s a great day out for all ages, with plenty of walking trails and viewing platforms to explore.
The best way to see this beautiful waterfall is to head to Marysville, which is a short drive from Melbourne. From there you can take the scenic Lady Talbot Drive through Marysville to a number of forest walks, lookouts and picnic spots.
If you’re up for a challenge, try the Keppel Lookout Trail (11 km return loop – 3-4 hours). This trail starts at Falls Road and Yellow Dog Road then crosses Robertson Gully and passes through stringybark and Mountain Ash forest into the hills above town to Keppel Lookout which offers excellent panoramic views north down the Steavenson River.
Alternatively, for an easy stroll through rainforest, follow the Steavenson Falls Track (2.4km return loop – 30 minutes to 1.5 hours). This walk takes you along a gentle undulating shared trail through stands of tall Manna Gum, Mountain Ash and shady tree fern groves that surround the rushing Steavenson River.
From here you can then enjoy the Yarra Valley’s most iconic waterfalls at Steavenson Falls Scenic Reserve. The view of the falls is incredible and there are a couple of other lookouts to explore on this trail.
Another popular walk in the area is Badger Weir, which has old-style shingle roof rotundas, landscaped grounds and barbecues, all bounded by spectacular forest. This is a great place to spend a day enjoying a picnic with family or friends, though the many steps on the fern gully boardwalk are not suitable for prams and strollers.
The Beeches Rainforest Walk is a circuit walk through a temperate rainforest that’s dominated by Myrtle Beech, Southern Sassafras, Blackwood, and tall tree ferns and thick green mosses. You’ll also pass Taggerty Cascades, timber bridges and floating boardwalks along the way.
A walk through Lake Mountain’s summit area is a unique experience and a must do for any visitors to the Yarra Valley. This walk features a range of stunning lookouts with views across the entire Yarra Valley including the Cathedral Ranges and Mt Donna Buang.
If you’re looking for a nice walking trail that is dog friendly, Mathias Track is the perfect choice. This is a popular walk that runs below the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, part of the old Olinda Golf Course and through the beautiful Hamer Arboretum.
The whole walk is just under 4 km each way and there are plenty of other tracks that lead off along the way to extend your adventure. Moreover, the area is very scenic with many towering trees and stunning ferns.
This track is also extremely popular with bush walkers, mountain bike riders and horse riders. It’s easy to see why, as the forest on either side of the track is dense, offering fantastic views across the Yarra Valley and beyond.
However, be warned that the track can get quite muddy in some areas. Consequently, it’s best to avoid muddy weather when planning your trip.
A good time to visit Mathias Track is in spring and autumn when the tree leaves start changing colour. This is especially true at the Silvan Road end, which is often really pretty during this time.
It’s also a great place to spot some beautiful birds as well! It’s an amazing hiking destination and one that you will not want to miss out on.
As with most walks in the Yarra Valley, the track is popular with locals and tourists alike. It can get very busy during weekends and public holidays so be prepared to arrive early to secure a parking space.
You can park in a gravel car park near the Falls Road end of the track or in the small carpark at the Silvan Road end. The latter may only fit a few cars, so be sure to book your space in advance if you’re planning on visiting on a weekend or public holiday.
If you’re a dog lover, it’s also worth visiting this track during spring or autumn as the trees will be bursting with stunning gold and orange leaves. The whole area is a wonderful place to take your dog for a stroll and enjoy some stunning nature.