When it all gets a bit much, head outside for a walk.
While Melbourne is strapped in for another lockdown, after the trials and tribulations of last year, at least we somewhat know what to expect. Although we may be confined to our homes for the next seven days, recreational exercise is one of the few reasons we can get out and about. Parks will remain open, as will public playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment and outdoor skateparks. More on that here.
Thankfully, Melbourne isn’t only delightfully green, it’s huge, with hundreds of green spaces, perfect for some recreational escapism. Come with us as we offer a few recommendations for some serene destinations to keep on hand, just in case the walls start closing in.
Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.
Yarra Boulevard and Yarra Trail
While the Collingwood Children’s Farm and Abbotsford Convent are currently closed, you’ll still able to be able to voyage past these tranquil spaces via the Yarra Boulevard and Yarra Trail.
This refreshing route begins with a walk across the Gipps Street Bridge. Follow the path and turn left onto the scenic Yarra Boulevard. A relaxing walk up the crest of the hill will eventually lead to a turn off onto Johnston Street, where you can take the turn and find a scenic lookout over the entire city, with the Yarra River glistening, animals grazing at the Children’s Farm, and the poignant turrets of the Convent in the foreground.
After some meditative chill, you can follow the path down to Johnston Street, loop past the Convent to stroll back along the bike path to Gipps Street. This route takes you through the Collingwood Children’s Farm paddocks – you might be lucky enough to pat a friendly cow or sheep at the fenceline, or otherwise just look on at the peaceful landscape with your new-found zen.
Alternatively, if your thirst for calming vistas hasn’t yet been satisfied, you can take the bike path where it picks up in the Children’s Farm parking lot, which will eventually lead you to everyone’s favourite inner-city, man-made waterfall – Dights Falls.
Darebin is a distinctly green municipality, with plenty of parks – large and small – to visit. It is also home to the Darebin Parklands, one of the best inner-city bushlands in Victoria. In the sprawling parklands you can look out for the hundreds of native flora and fauna that inhabit it. The area offers a journeying escape from the humdrum monotony of lockdown, with various trails and beautiful greenery to get lost amongst.
Throughout the reserve are various lookout points, including one which gazes over the lake, a prime spot for casual bird-watching. Within the park are various artworks and articles of interest, like the stepping stones across the creek, laid in the 1980s, and a spiritual healing trail, as well as a historic wagon track.
Merri Creek Trail
Along the Merri Creek Trail you can find many hidden gems, including the Peppertree Nursery, CERES and the Merri Creek Market Garden. These might not be open at this time but a wander past takes you along one of the most tranquil streams in Melbourne. A walk through the residential streets of Coburg will take you to Pentridge Prison, where you can contemplate the strange paradox of a new apartment estate built on top of one of Australia’s most notorious prisons. It’s truly a sight to marvel at.
Coburg Lake Reserve
Kensington Historical Industries Walk/Women’s Peace Garden
Starting from the Kensington Community High School, you can follow the Kensington Historical Industries Walk down through the old stockyards. This route winds though various parks and greenery, including the Women’s Peace Garden, a gorgeous spot for some solitude. The small, manicured green space features gorgeous trees and plenty of comfortable seating, providing ample space for momentous reflection. Continuing on the path, you will finally end up at the Maribyrnong River. Here, you can sit and take it all in, turn back, or continue on to Footscray.
A walk, cycle or run through Royal Park on the Capital City Trail will take you across the sprawling suburbs of North Melbourne and Parkville to end up near the Melbourne Zoo. Although the Zoo is closed, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the delightful walk over varying terrains which gets you there. A fun bonus, the various trails on offer through Royal Park can offer you a new adventure on every trip.
Only 16kms from the CBD, a scenic drive past the Heide Museum of Modern Art will take you up into the lush green heights of Nillumbik Shire. Eltham offers a cornucopia of routes, trails and picnic spots around the winding Yarra River. While it may be too cold for a swim, there is no greater delight than to sit alongside the water for a picnic, with the sweet sound of the river bubbling in the background. Griffith Park offers an overgrown, natural landscape to explore, and plenty of spots in which to sit back, close your eyes, and let the sounds of nature take you far, far away.
The City of Melbourne council area is deceptively huge, meaning your options for relaxing strolls are vast and will depend on the scenery you’re after. During lockdown, the city is pretty much empty which means you could have any of Flagstaff Gardens, Carlton Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens or Alexandra Gardens all to yourself. Further along Swanston Street you’ll find the War Memorial and the Botanical Gardens, with plenty of leafy green areas in which to gaze at dappled sunlight as it filters through the canopy.
Image taken by Diliff and straightened by Ian Fieggen
St Kilda Botanical Gardens
Hidden amidst the beautiful cross-section of St Kilda and Elwood sits the St Kilda Botanical Gardens, a dreamy spot to perch up and take in the fresh air. There’s a greenhouse which always attract a curious eye and wandering trails that will take you to places you might not expect. While the gardens are square in nature, it’s easy to get lost in its landscape with sky-high trees and fertile shrubs. I think we’d all like to get a bit lost in nature right now.
A popular spot for extended Sunday sessions, Edinburgh Gardens has it all – skate parks, basketball courts, gazebos, ovals, playgrounds and heaps of open grassland. While many of the aforementioned attractions may be closed, the open plains are certainly not, so bring a rug, take a seat and open up that novel you’ve been keen to finish.
A renowned Melbourne dog park, Elsternwick Park will be perfect for when you want to take your furry pal out for a little adventure. There’s a lake and plentiful open grassland for all the relaxation you could desire. There’s also a walking trail that circumnavigates the park, so give that a crack if you’re chasing that 10,000 daily step marker.
Read up about the latest rules around sport and recreation here. We are not condoning you to go out and explore – these suggestions are made with the restrictions in mind. Please stay at home and be smart when you look to voyage outside.