Flying under the radar when it comes to great Melbourne walking spots is Lerderderg National Park. Located less than an hour’s drive from the CBD, its crowning feature is a 300-metre deep gorge cut through sandstone and slate.
There are opportunities to camp, picnic, lookouts, walking trails and some interesting relics of the early gold mining. However, the easiest way to spend a day in the ‘Derg’ is to get yourself to the main car park and follow the path along the river.
No maps are required as you simply follow the river up, find a nice area to stop for those sandwiches you prepared earlier and when you have had enough, follow the river back to your car.
The early part of your journey takes you along a paved track. Turn back here and you will have completed a lovely relaxed walk. If you are after little more adventure and have the right footware you are welcome to continue by scampering along the rocks and gravel pathways.
The best time to go is after a small amount of rain when you get a delightful mist coming off the river or on a nice summers day where pockets of fresh water double up as swimming pools.
Add a coffee stop
If you feel like starting the day with a brunch or coffee stop, Baby Black Expresso Bar in Bacchus Marsh is your best bet. With PBS playing on the radio, band posters lining the wall, an outdoor courtyard and top quality coffee, there’s a bit of Fitzroy about the place, except with the homely atmosphere of a country diner. Talk about the best of both worlds!
Address: Lerderderg Gorge Road, Darley