Reading Time: 6 minutes
Information provided by: Bushwalking Victoria
Victoria has a wide range of popular locations for bushwalking including the Victorian Alps, Central Highland Forests, the Grampians (Gariwerd), the Otways, Wilsons Promontory and the Croajingolong Coast.
Landscape and terrain
North West Victoria includes the dry-arid Murray-Sunset, Wyperfeld and Little Desert National Parks. The Grampians National Park contains the dramatic Grampians (Gariwerd) mountain range with large areas of bush.
South West Victoria has dramatic coastal terrain and the Otways mountain range that provide excellent bushwalking.
The Goldfields around Bendigo and Castlemaine include some drier forests and historic sites from the gold rush.
Along the Murray River, which forms most of the northern boundary of Victoria, there are many bush and forest areas including the traditional land of the Yorta Yorta Nation. National Parks in this region include the Hattah – Kulkyne, Gunbower, Barmah National Parks.
The Lerderderg State Forest and Wombat Forest closer to Melbourne are popular bushwalking locations.
Wilson Promontory National Park on the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland and has excellent coastal and mountainous scenery with a network of well-maintained walking trails.
The Victorian Alps are forested mountains that are part of the Great Dividing Range that continues north up to Queensland. The Alpine National Park extends up the NSW border and includes dramatic peaks and alpine areas that are snow covered during winter and spring.
Climate and weather
Alpine regions are often snow covered during winter and much of spring. Snowshoes or skis are the best mode of travel in these regions during this period.
Alpine regions are usually several degrees cooler than lower regions during summer.
Coastal regions have a generally milder climate and are suitable for bushwalking for all seasons, although rainfall is frequent during late autumn and winter.
Inland areas in the north and west of the state can be very hot over summer – maximum temperatures of 40C and higher are not uncommon.
Victoria is the smallest mainland state, has the highest population density and is primarily covered in farmland. Even so, there many parks and reserves and this state has some of the most diverse walking areas in Australia.
Information on notable bushwalks in Victoria are provided below.
North West. An area of semi-desert and flood plains. Wyperfeld, Little Desert and the Hattah-Kulkyne National Parks provide both one-day and overnight walks to lakes and sand ridges. Winter is the best walking season, as it is very hot and dry for much of the year.
Grampians (Gariwerd). A series of sandstone ranges rising above level plains, also known as Gariwerd. Has many constructed one-day tracks in the Wonderland, Mt Difficult and Mt Stapylton areas. The Victoria Range, Major Mitchell Plateau, Mt Difficult and Black Range provide good two-day walks. Suitable for most of the year except hot summer periods.
The Grampians Peak Trail is being developed as a multi day bushwalk.
Great South West Walk. A 15-day, 220 km circuit in the far southwest corner of the state. Features are the gorge of the Glenelg River and the varied southern coastline. Shorter circuits of two and three days based on Mt Richmond or the coastline are possible. There are also many one-day walks in the region.
Mt Cole and Langhi Ghiran State Forests. A region of granite outcrops east of Ararat. There are many walking tracks along the range and a variety of overnight trips can be planned. Good in autumn and spring. A good area for less-experienced groups as the ranges are not high in altitude.
Otway Ranges. Covered in tall forest, this range rises above the southern coastline and contains many waterfalls. There is a variety of marked tracks to many waterfalls providing good one-day walks. There are also many opportunities for off-track exploring and longer walks. The most popular regions are near the towns of Aireys Inlet and Lorne, behind the Cumberland River, near Beech Forest and around the coast at Cape Otway.
The Great Ocean Walk traverses the Otway coast.
Lake Mountain. In winter, this is a popular but small ski touring plateau. In summer, there are many walking opportunities that link to nearby ranges such as Cathedral Range, Mt Bullfight and Mt Torbreck.
Kinglake, Mt Disappointment and Strathbogie Ranges. A series of granite ranges north of Melbourne. There are many good one-day walks and some excellent weekend walks for those willing to explore. Suitable most of the year.
Baw Baw Plateau. An elevated plateau with timbered ridges and open valleys. An excellent overnight ski touring area when under snow. Also a good summer walking area for one-day and overnight trips.
Wilsons Promontory. The southern end is the most popular destination for beginners. While very scenic, it can be overcrowded and a strict permit system applies. The northern end is less visited and best seen on a three-day walk. Suitable for year-round walking.
Licola Region. A small town which is on the access road into the southern section of the Alpine National Park. There are many good one-day walks and an infinite variety of overnight trips. Base-camp style trips are popular. Lake Tarli Karng, The Crinoline, Caledonia River, Snowy Bluff, Mt Darling, Bryces Gorge, Moroka River, Wonnangatta Valley and Mt Howitt are all popular destinations each with several approaches. Suitable for the warmer months from spring to late autumn. In winter the higher peaks are usually snow covered and offer interesting skitouring.
Howqua Region. Mansfield is the closest town for the western access into the Alpine National Park. A wide range of short and long trips of all standards is possible. Eagles Peaks, The Bluff, Mt Magdala, Mt Howitt, Cross Cut Saw, Speculation, Razor, Viking and Mt Stirling are just some of the favoured places here. Suitable for the warmer months. In winter, Mt Stirling provides the easiest access to many cross-country ski trails; other higher peaks are under snow and suitable for experienced ski tourers and offer extended trips.
Bogong High Plains. Part of the Alpine National Park, this is the highest region of Victoria. In winter, it is normally covered by snow providing excellent ski touring. In summer, the open alpine meadows invite walking in most directions. The highest peaks Mt Feathertop, Mt Loch, Mt Cope, Mt Nelse, Spion Kopje and Mt Bogong are all worth climbing. Mt Hotham is the base for a good range of marked ski-touring trails and some off-trail touring.
East Gippsland. A series of remote ranges and parks provide some interesting walks. The Cobberas, the Snowy River and side gorges, Coopracambra and Tingaringy National Parks and Errinundra Plateau are all worth exploring. Some one-day walks are possible, but the area is best suited to multi-day trips.
Croajingolong. A large coastal national park in far east Gippsland. The classic walk is a one to three-week coastal traverse. Shorter walks of weekend circuits and one-day walks are also good.
Australian Alps Walking Track. Running from Walhalla near the Baw Baw Plateau all the way to Canberra, this 765 km track follows the Great Divide and can be walked in seven weeks. A popular variation is to walk one- or two-week sections each year.
The Goldfields Track is a point-to-point 210km Track that takes bushwalkers through some of central Victoria’s most historic towns and beautiful forests.
Cathedral Range State Park has a spectacular seven kilometre ridge of sharply upturned sedimentary rock. A variety of walking tracks ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging offer the opportunity to explore the park’s main features and climb the peaks to enjoy views of the forests and farmland in the valley below.
Snakes are common in Victoria and most of them are poisonous although snakebites are rare. Take care to avoid stepping on them when they are warming up in the morning sun. Carry a pressure bandage. See Management of snake bite for more information.
Water may not be available in the hotter regions of the state and some alpine areas during summer, check the status of water sources before you go.
Ticks are present in coastal scrub and bush in the east of the state. See Tick bite prevention (Federal Department of Health) for more information .
Statewide emergency services information
Dial 000 and ask for Police to report a bushwalking emergency.
Victoria Police are the agency responsible for land search and rescue in Victoria, assisted by organisations including:
Ambulance Victoria can provide medical evacuations by land or air. Ensure you have appropriate ambulance insurance .
Interstate visitors should check reciprocal arrangements with their state or territory ambulance organisation.
International visitors should confirm they have travel insurance that covers rescue operations.
Personal Location Beacons (PLBs) for remote area trips can be hired from Bogong Equipment in Melbourne.
Current emergency information
- Incidents and Warnings (map – VicEmergency
- Victoria Emergency Services – Emergency Management Victoria
- VicEmergency information hotline – Country Fire Authority 1800 226 226
- Road closure and traffic information – VicRoads
- Fire affected parks – Parks Victoria
- Current air quality – Environment Protection Authority Victoria
- Bushwalking Victoria
- Parks Victoria
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
- Vicmap topographic maps