Because nothing clears your head (and exercises your body) like a good walk. Here are some of the best places to stride it out in Victoria.
The High Country
Why here: Feel the magic of the mountains in the scenic High Country. Its beauty changes with the seasons, but our favourite times for hiking are in the spring, when the area feels fresh and green, and during the magnificent autumnal displays.
Take a hike: For the best views around, the Mount Buller to Mount Sterling Trail is the one to beat. Walk through forests of Alpine ash and snow gum on your way to the summit of Mount Stirling, from where you gaze down on neighbouring peaks.
Go hardcore: Epic scenery is just part of the attraction on the 7-day Great Alpine Walk. The real thrill of this route, from Hotham to Falls Creek via the Cobungra Valley, Derrick Hut and Dibbins Hut, is knowing that you are seeing areas that are otherwise inaccessible – few people have walked this way before. Local lodges provide comfortable accommodation.
"Feel the magic of the mountains in the scenic High Country."
Why here: With its windswept coastline and its rolling farmland, Philip Island is home to a surprising range of tracks and trails.
Take a hike: There are plenty of photo opportunities on the return hike from Pyramid Rock to Berrys Beach, from black basalt columns to deserted beaches. Come between May and October and there is an additional attraction – migrating southern right whales, humpbacks and orcas passing by on their way to Queensland to calve. Keep a keen eye on the water for a tell-tale spout.
Go hardcore: At around 6km, the Cape Woollamai Walk isn’t the most challenging distance but here on the clifftops lining the island’s southern edge, conditions can get blowy. Be sure to bring layers. The walk takes you past a shearwater rookery and offers dramatic views the whole way.
Why here: These ancient sandstone ranges offer something for everyone, from waterfalls and wildlife to some of the state’s best rock-art sites.
Take a hike: There are plenty of accessible tracks around Halls Gap but one of our favourites is the Venus Baths Loop. This easy trail starts at Halls Gap and crosses Stony Creek, following the river up to the rock pools – in summer, a quick dip is a great way to refresh.
Go hardcore: It is not for the faint-hearted but the 160km, 13-day Grampians Peaks Trail is an unforgettable experience. The route starts at Mount Zero in the north, passing over the summit of Mount Difficult and through Halls Gap before finishing up at Dunkeld.
"The ancient sandstone ranges of the Grampians offer something for everyone, from waterfalls and wildlife to some of the state’s best rock-art sites."
The Great Ocean Walk
Why here: Drinking in the spectacular views along this ruggedly beautiful coastline is guaranteed to give your spirits a lift.
Take a hike: The two-hour walk from Princetown to the Twelve Apostles includes some magnificent views of the area’s most famous sight, the stone sentinels known as the Twelve Apostles. For a view you won’t forget, take the Gibson Steps down to the deserted beach – you will be glad you did.
Go hardcore: Few people have the time to commit to walking the entire 110km length of the Great Ocean Walk starting in Apollo Bay. Fortunately a number of companies offer escorted three- and four-day walks that take in the highlights, including the Australian Walking Co and Raw Travel .