The Best Outdoor Activities in and Around Melbourne

Melbourne is a perfect place to spend a day enjoying the great outdoors
Melbourne is a perfect place to spend a day enjoying the great outdoors | © Philip Game / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lou Boyd
Commissioning Editor10 July 2020

Melbourne is a city full of water sports, beautiful trails and interesting wildlife, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. So pull on your outdoor gear and check out our list of the best outdoor activities in the city.

Go fishing in Port Phillip Bay

Architectural Landmark
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Port Phillip Bay harbour in Melbourne, Australia
© Picture Partners / Alamy Stock Photo
A year-round fishing spot, Port Phillip Bay is a popular location for both local fishermen and tourists. Most people come to this spot in the hopes they’ll land a red snapper, but the waters are also full of squid, yellow-eye mullet, Australian salmon, flathead and silver trevally, among other marine life. As well as a great fishing spot, Port Phillip Bay is a perfect place to spend a day out. The horsehead-shaped bay is a perfect spot for hiking and scuba diving, as well as spotting local dolphins. Take a walk down the pier and drop in at the local Esplanade Market.

Run the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens Trail

Botanical Garden
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The Royal botanic garden, Melbourne, Australia.
© Raymond Warren / Alamy Stock Photo
If you like going for a run on your day off, the 3.8km (2.4mi) running route around the Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the most popular trails in the city. Locally known as ‘The Tan’, this trail has a mix of hills, shaded areas and long straight sprints, perfect for working out on hot summer days. If going for a run doesn’t appeal to you, it’s also open for walkers, bikes and dogs. A stroll around the Botanic Gardens will take you around three quarters of an hour. Look out for the colourful birds and interesting plant species, as well as for views across Yarra River.

Spend a day on St Kilda Beach

Natural Feature
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People visit St Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia.
© Takatoshi Kurikawa / Alamy Stock Photo
The most popular of Melbourne’s beaches, St Kilda Beach stretches 700 metres (1/2mi) between St Kilda Marina and St Kilda Harbour, with clean white sands and inviting water. Home to the city’s water sports, visitors to this spot can have a go at kitesurfing, paddle boarding and windsurfing in the ocean, skimboarding on the shoreline and even rollerblading on the foreshore. This beach is also popular for its wildlife, with local groups of little penguins often seen in the rocks at the shoreline. Spend a day on the sand, before taking a stroll down the iconic St Kilda Pier and getting a drink at one of the many bars and cafés.

Cycle the Capital City Trail

Bridge, Park, Zoo
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Cyclists Along the Banks of the Yarra in Melbourne, Australia.
© Iain Pritchard / Alamy Stock Photo
One of the best ways to explore a city in a short time frame is through a bike ride. The Capital City Trail, which is just under 30 kms (19mi) start to finish, takes you through much of Melbourne’s sights, on a gentle road for riding. Starting at Princes Bridge near Flinders Street station, you can choose to ride the trail clockwise or anticlockwise, by either heading east or west. Make sure to keep an eye out for famous landmarks such as the Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Zoo, Southbank and Melbourne Cricket Ground en route.
These recommendations were updated on July 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.