Bushrangers Bay, Victoria.

Summer hikes around Melbourne are beautiful. Think of the ferny, cool glades of Mt Dandenong, the well-watered forest of the Otways and the ever-popular Wilsons Promontory.

I love summer – the sun is out, the sky is blue and the days are long. Of course, summer hiking can create rather undesirable experiences – for instance, walking shadeless plains in 40-degree heat, or stopping for lunch at a fly-ridden picnic area. The key to a good time is choosing a fair-weather day (no scorchers, no summer thunderstorms forecast); wearing appropriate light, breathable outdoor clothing; and choosing an appropriate destination – that is, one with some shade, and either the altitude or position (e.g. along the coast) to produce a climate that's generally a few degrees cooler than other places.

With all this in mind, I thought I'd look at some summer walks – some that I've done and some that I haven't – but, each of them on my to-do list.


Cape Liptrap Day Hike

Cape Liptrap Coastal Park

This Cape Liptrap hike is hardly a daytrip – in that it's quite a long drive from Melbourne (unless you live in Pakenham, in which case it's only a one-hour and 45-minute drive – as opposed to three hours from Melbourne CBD). Cape Liptrap is also a stone's throw from the summer-favourite Wilsons Promontory National Park, which could explain why you don't often hear of people hiking at Cape Liptrap.

That said, guidebook author Glenn Tempest rates it as "one of the most rewarding coastal walks in Victoria." From the beginning of the walk – as described in his book, Daywalks Around Victoria – to the end, there aren't any open public access points, which adds to its sense of isolation. This is a wild, rugged hike across wave-cut platforms, black cliffs, shingle beaches, silent woodland and a weird landscape of rock that, over time, has been twisted into strange shapes.

Starting at Cape Liptrap Carpark, the walk follows the coast along Morgan Beach, past some unusual limestone cliffs, through coastal heath and small dunes and, finally, across golden sand.



Central Buffalo Plateau Day Hike

Mt Buffalo National Park

When summer's here, the alternative to high-tailing it to the beach is heading for the hills. Mt Buffalo's Central Plateau is a little exposed for an ultra-hot, 40-degree day – but, on a cooler day (and, it tends to be cooler up there than elsewhere around sea level) it's a non-coastal, remote-feeling landscape. The sub-alpine mountain plateau rises to 1729 metres and is haunted by looming granite tors that are evocatively named: such as, the Monolith, the Leviathan, Devils Couch and the Cathedral.

The walk that author Glenn van der Knijff describes in his guidebook – Victoria's Bogong High Plains – encompasses four peaks that will give you panoramic views of the surrounding plateau and distant ranges of the Australian Alps. Starting and finishing at Reservoir Picnic Area, the circuit climbs a peak called 'Og, Gog & Magog', Eagle Point, Macs Point and Mt Dunn while travelling through Five Acre, Saltlick and Wild Dog plains.



Greens Bush to Cape Schanck Day Hike

Mornington Peninsula

Located in the heart of Mornington Peninsula, Greens Bush is one of very few areas of remnant bushland on the Peninsula. It's surprisingly pretty, with a mixture of shady, ferny creeks, scrubby woodland and sandy paths winding through grass trees.

Starting at Baldrys Crossing, you can walk through Greens Bush until it bisects Boneo Rd. From there, an easy, undulating track tumbles toward the wild, broad and sandy Bushrangers Bay. This rugged ocean beach has rocky structures on its eastern end that at low tide reveal clear blue rockpools. From Bushrangers Bay, the coastal track travels through dense thickets of banksias and coastal tea-trees before emerging at Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve Carpark.

There's a variation of this walk in John Chapman, Monica Chapman and John Siseman's guidebook Day Walks Victoria. The walk they describe is a bit longer: Completing a near-circuit of Greens Bush, they recommend continuing to Bushrangers Bay, passing Cape Schanck Lighthouse and finishing in Fingal Picnic area. This would make it a more solid day hike if you're more interested in walking through the landscape than doddling through grass trees and frolicking on the beach.



Recommended Summer Gear

Ventilated day pack:
Deuter Airlite 20SL

A light, structured pack with a super-ventilated back system. The bulk of the bag is held away from your back, with only mesh and mesh padding touching you. Comes in other sizes, and in men's and women's versions.

Lightweight men's shirt:
Outdoor Research Astroman Shirt Short Sleeve

You have to touch this to feel how light and silky it is. Super lightweight, with wicking properties and UPF50+ sun protection. My partner has two of these, and they're his go-to summer shirts.

Summer shorts/pants for women:
prAna Sage Convertible Pant

Lightweight zip-off pants for travelling or hiking. They're very stretchy and also quick-drying. The fabric is thin and breathable, yet it's tough. The fit nice and non-daggy and is also popular with a lot of our customers and staff.

Men's shorts for summer:
Rab Longitude Shorts

One for the guys. Very lightweight, very quick to dry. Yet, it's also tough. Comes with a YKK zip pocket if you like to have things handy on your person. UPF30+, regular fit.

Lightweight rainjacket:
Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

This very popular lightweight rainjacket is popular for a reason. You can roll it up really small so it takes up very little space in your pack. But, unlike a lot of super-light jackets, it's very waterproof. It's made of a breathable and waterproof 2.5-layer 3D Pertex Shield+ DS Ripstop fabric (yep, a mouthful!), is fully seam-taped and has water-resistant zips. Comes in a lot of colours, and also in a women's version.

Sun hat:
Mont Sun Hat

We stock a big range of sun hats. Which one you choose involves a bit of personal preference. My favourite is the Mont Sun Hat. It's lightweight, made of quick-dry fabric, the brim isn't to wide or too narrow, and there's also an inner peak that keeps the brim from flopping down in front of your eyes.
The Outdoor Research Helios Hat is a similar style that's also popular. Outdoor Research makes a good range of hats, with plenty of wide-brim, bucket and cap options. See them all here.

Summer hiking shoes:
La Sportiva Primer Low GTX

This is the ultimate summer hiking shoe. The ventilation is almost unrivalled, with technology that allows the boot to even breathe through the sole. The upper is highly breathable and lined with fully waterproof Gore-Tex Surround. At 780g per pair, it's a pretty light shoe. Oh, and the sole is made of Vibram® rubber – famed for its stickiness. That gives you good traction on any wet, slippery terrain (e.g. beach rocks). Also comes in a women's version.

Hydration bladder:
Source Widepac 1.5L Bladder

Walking with a bladder in your daypack makes it easier to stay hydrated and take sips as you go. Plus, you won't have to dig stop and dig around in your pack for a bottle every time you want a drink. The Source Widepac 1.5L bladder is a good size for short hikes.


Questions? Visit us, email us or call us (03 9600 0599).


More Articles