3 weeks until our 5km bubble pops and we can explore once more, but where to?
I’ve been daydreaming, quite literally D A I L Y of where I will explore! I’m quite fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful coastlines of Australia, well, in my opinion, anyway so I needn’t travel too far to rediscover the coastal trails of Cape Schanck and the wild ocean beaches that stretch for kilometres without a soul in sight or the perspective shift from climbing the trails of Arthurs Seat.
So with the end of this 'step' of the lockdown near, here are the top hikes I’ll be exploring in the coming weeks.
Ditch the crowded beaches of Port Phillip Bay and come to the wild side!
For those lucky enough to call this part of the world home, what an amazing Iso exploring the trails that run along the ‘wild coast’. Any of the 60km section that runs from Cape Schanck to Portsea is amazing to hike.
The beach walks between Fingal and Gunnamatta can only be accessed by foot, so many times we’ve had the beach to ourselves. The wild roar and pull of the ocean provide a powerful anchor into a mindfulness practice. The Tea Tree-lined trails cover the undulating hills and the local echidnas are often spotted along the section that runs behind the RACV gold course in Cape Schanck.
The trails are narrow so be mindful that snake season has officially started. A pair of snake gaiters should calm the nerves here.
An iconic stretch of coastal trails; weaving through windswept tea trees, along cliff tops and undulating hills. Neighbouring cattle in paddocks and rolling hills hug the coastline. Many native animals call this coastal vista home; Kangaroo’s, echidnas, blue tongue lizards, and a plethora of birdlife, including the trail's own blue wren, featured on the Two Bay Trails signs.
The trail can be done in either direction but I love to explore deeper into the Main ridge bushland accessed by crossing over Boneo Road and into the forest trails of Long Point. Looping through the grass tree forest creates a more challenging day hike. Explore elephant rock and dip your toes in the cool stream of Main creek that runs into the ocean.
Two Bays Trail & Arthurs Seat Summit
The Two Bays trail is 26km one way and can be completed in either direction or even in sections. I like to start at McCrae. Following a steep incline up the staircase and onto Latrobe Parade before joining the Bunurong track at the edge of Arthur's Seat State Park, the winding track traverses the side of Arthur's Seat providing a challenging yet rewarding climb with scenic views across Port Philip Bay. Early morning sees local wallabies grazing to the side of the path and birdlife come alive- my favourite time to get out there and even beat the heat in summer.
The full hike is a day’s commitment and traverses so many different landscapes to the endpoint at Cape Schanck. I love to pack a picnic and stop along the trail in the grass tree forest, away from the busy world.
If you're not keen to tackle the giant, the walk to the summit of Arthurs Seat is a great workout. Stop at the chair lift café and grab a drink before descending along the same path. On a warm day, as you reach your return point strip off into your bathers and enjoy a cool dip in the bay.
Merricks Red Hill Rail Trail
I love the picturesque walk between Merrick’s and Red Hill along the old railway line; once used for carting apples from the Peninsula to the markets of Melbourne. The trail runs between an open vista of farmland and rolling hills private acreage, wineries and offers views across to the Nobbies of Phillip Island. The trail can be taken in either direction, however, I live closer to Merricks so start at the Merricks General Store for a pre-workout caffeine boost and follow the steady climb of the trail to rear of the Epicurean at Red Hill, where I treat myself to a Johnny Ripe pie. If you start from Red Hill end, there is limited parking and generally along the side of the road towards Arthurs Seat.
You will often share the trail with horses, dogs, and even the occasional mountain biker. The wide path allows for the safe recreation of all. A great one for the kids too either on foot or bikes with a bike track at the Red Hill end.
The next 3 weeks I will have to dream from my 5km bubble, after that its game on and no one will stop me hiking!
So join me in planning our great escape, because let’s face it, Melbournians deserve one!
** Dates released this week for upcoming hikes- including all the above ***