These Boots Were Made for Walking – The 5 Best Walks in Melbourne
I don’t know about you, but I struggled to suppress offended pangs of righteous indignation when it was recently announced that Melbourne had lost its coveted title of The World’s Most Livable City to Vienna. Oh, the shame! Oh, the ignominy of having to struggle through life in what has now been narrowly declared the second most livable place on the planet!
We’ve grown so smug in what seemed like our utterly untouchable liveableness, you could almost hear the latte cups, ramen bowls and sushi rolls being dropped in disgust and disbelief all over town. It was as if someone had informed Melbourne that the earth had detached itself from its orbit and was now hurtling out of control through the Milky Way. Even our Lord Mayor was reduced to squirming and cowering in fear the next morning as an apoplectic talk show host aggressively demanded to know what Her Right Honourableness was going to do to right this cosmic travesty. We’re Melbourne, by jingo, and thou shalt not be more livable than us!
Wherever we sit on the livability pecking order, there can be no doubting that our patch is a truly spectacular place to live. While lacking some of the star quality of our neighbour to the North, Melbourne weaves a rich tapestry of beauty, culture and history that makes it truly one of the greatest places to live or visit.
Of course, there is no better way to see the intriguing sights of Melbourne than on foot. And, what better time to brush the dust off your walking shoes and explore the highways and byways of our fair city than Spring! Especially with the warmer weather upon us, walking is a wonderful way to maintain healthy feet.
So, in honour of this auspicious time, we thought we’d look at some of our favourite Melbourne walks. Some are well known, some may surprise you. However, all of them offer a tantalising glimpse into what makes this town unique and fascinating:
- The Artists’ Trail
Nestled in the picturesque leafy-green surrounds of Bulleen is the scenery that inspired the legendary “Heidelberg School” of artists. Many of the backdrops to some of Australia’s most famous paintings are still recognisable as you follow the meandering Yarra though verdant parklands, majestic gums and rolling hills peppered with sculptures and artworks, culminating in the stunning Heide Museum of Modern Art. Heide features a delightful mix of indoor and outdoor exhibitions including some of Australia’s best-known artists.
- Up My Alley
While many native Melbournians might pass them by without a second glance, a stroll along the CBD’s multitude of alleys and laneways provides illuminating insights into our culture and history. Hidden away between soaring skyscrapers and office buildings, iconic names such as Hosier Lane, Duckboard Place and Strachan Lane serve as the urban grunge canvas for some of the world’s most breathtaking street art. Artists are continually adding new work and painting over old images so that no two strolls through this incredible experience will ever be the same. Other lanes are dotted with eclectic cafes and boutiques that offer unique sights and aromas. Follow the trail at your own pace and stop for a coffee or to pick up a bargain to get the most out of this quintessentially Melbourne experience.
- Enchanted Forests
If it’s lush, temperate rainforest environment that gets your toes itching, then a short drive to the Dandenong Ranges will give you access to the famous 1000-Steps, and William Ricketts Sanctuary walks. The former is, in fact, a stirring memorial to the Kokoda Trail, while the latter is dotted with eerily evocative sculptures of indigenous Australians carved into to rocks and trees. Both trails are easy to walk and offer outstanding picnic opportunities under the green forest canopy.
- Capital, Old Chap!
For the definitive experience of Melbourne’s sights and sounds, the Capital City Trail cannot be matched. Whether you’re visiting or have lived here your whole life, this remarkable trail delivers a fascinating glimpse into everything that makes our city special. You’ll pass through the urban icons of Southbank, MCG and Docklands, as well as idyllic parklands in which the cityscape peacefully melts away for a delightful hint of serenity. The Capital City Trail takes in portions of other delightful walks such as the Merri Creek, Yarra River, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong River and other trails over its 29km. Whether you start early to take in the full experience in one day or break it up over several jaunts, you’ll finish up looking at our town with new eyes by the time you’re done.
- Surf’s Up!
Ok, so perhaps the surfing is not quite world class on Port Phillip Bay…Nevertheless, there’s plenty to love about the sun-drenched stretch of coastline from Elwood to Sandringham. This trail is a relatively robust 16km return distance, so you’re best off attempting it on a slightly cooler day. Otherwise, bring plenty of liquid with you. Along the way, you’ll pass by Brighton’s instantly recognisable beach boxes and opulent mansions, as well as an assortment of outdoor art and a scale model of the Solar System, among other features. To make a day out of it, there is no shortage of opportunities to stop for coffee, lunch or a cooling ice cream as you soak in the seemingly endless blue expanse.
With the sun emerging from its sheath and a number of public holidays on the horizon, the time is right to set out and explore our magnificent hometown. Being a podiatrist, it would be remiss of me not to close this out with a friendly reminder to make sure you’re wearing sturdy footwear with plenty of support for your arches as they get their workout. It goes without saying that if you run into any foot pain, don’t ignore the early warning signs! Come in and see us to make sure you can keep those extremities fit and healthy!