Various locations in Melbourne and around Victoria, 1 April-8 May
This month, we’re celebrating the inaugural Victorian Walking Festival. This fantastic festival was devised by Stephen Ingrouille to encourage Victorians to get on their feet and out in the fresh air.
Given the wealth of walking opportunities in our country, it’s hard to believe the Victorian Walking Festival is the first of its kind in Australia.
Yet it is. The chilly weather is gradually crawling across the country. But this is prime walking weather! The Victorian Walking Festival acknowledges this by pulling together a HUGE program of guided and group walks for all ages and abilities.
This program has just about everything you could imagine, from urban walks to bush whacking, historical tours to foodie ventures. Organisations from Federation Square to the Melbourne Women’s Walking Club are getting involved. Seriously, there are more than 70 different guided walks covering every day of this active festival.
So if you’ve ever been keen on getting into hiking, but you didn’t know how to crack into the scene, this is your chance!
If you take a peek at the program, you’ll probably be overwhelmed with the number of walks on offer. It’s OK. That’s what we’re here for. Here are some of the participating walks that we highly recommend:
Aboriginal Heritage Walk
Pay your respects to the original inhabitants of this land by going on an Aboriginal Heritage Walk. It’s one of the most popular tours in the Royal Botanical Gardens. And for good reason. Indigenous guides will take you around the gardens and tell you a bit about the land, the plants and Melbourne’s traditional owners. The tour includes a traditional smoking ceremony and finishes up with a tasty cup of lemon myrtle tea.
The Golden Mile (East AND West!)
The Golden Mile tour is split into East and West to give each part of the city its due attention. The Eastern half covers the Exhibition Building, Chinatown, Spring Street and Collins St. The Golden Mile West walk takes you through the austere, bluestone buildings in the CBD’s west.
Bayside Coastal Art Trail
You don’t need a guide for this one! The Bayside Coastal Art Trail is a gorgeous walk along the coastline, beside red cliffs and rocky coves. It’s a 17km walk, though you can easily break it up into shorter ambles. This has always been a popular destination for painters, so along the walk you’ll 50 artworks dedicated to them.
Grampians Pinnacle Loop
The Grampians hold plenty of Victorian walkers captive, thanks to their beautiful scenery and challenging hikes. A group Pinnacle Loop hike takes place on 30 April. It demands a certain level of fitness, but you want regret the aching calves when you can enjoy the marvellous views!
Victorian Walking Festival 2016
When: 1 April to 8 May.
Where: There are various hikes across the state, from the CBD to the Grampians. Find out more on the official website.
Cost: Some walks are free. This includes the Autumn Discovery Tour and the “Really get to know Federation Square” tour.
Walks with hiking groups tend to have a contribution fee of typically no more than $10.
Walking tours are usually the most costly – anywhere from $31 for the Aboriginal Heritage Walk to $95 for the Lanes and Arcades Tour.