Walking on a trail in Melbourne's East

7 Secret Nature Trails for Melbourne Families

Helping families get outside more AND have a great time together in our amazing parks is what we’re all about!

To give you a helping hand in these sunny months, we have unlocked a few secret locations in our Melbourne Adventure Guides.

Ready to explore seven new adventure trails? Let’s go!

Plus, see helpful tips on how to make it fun for the whole family at the end of the blog! 

Three-minute read.


In Melbourne’s North and West

Darebin Parklands, Alphington

 Darebin Parklands The Nest Sculpture

Follow the animals into the hidden valley.

In Melbourne’s North there’s a very special place… with incredible sculptures, hills to scramble, areas to picnic, and a beautiful hidden natural valley to explore.

In the valley, Darebin Creek winds through the forests, gnarly old River Red Gum trees sway gently, and the calming billabong invites you to sit, ponder and play. Follow the hidden trails, search for animals hiding in the nest boxes, cross bridges and rock hop the creek in search of beautiful scenery and secret surprises.


Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Williamstown

Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Williamstown

Who’s peeping from the shallows in this secret little cove?

When the nearby beaches are crammed with noisy beachgoers, this secret little cove is a pure delight. It’s the perfect place for families and children to splash, swim, snorkel and explore.

The water is crystal clear, shallow and very calm. The sand is wonderfully soft and there’s no rubbish or smelly seaweed here - just small rockpools and a lovely cove to cool down in.

This marine sanctuary is full of life - we even saw shore crabs crawling in the shallow waters!


Herring Island, Richmond

Herring Island Wave Sculpture Melbourne

Set sail to treasure island on Melbourne’s Yarra River!

Hiding in plain sight is a slither of green; filled with looping trails, curious sculptures, unique views and even an art gallery! It’s the ONLY island on the Yarra River and just 3kms from the city.

Pack a picnic and find your special place to take in the passing boats and unique views! Search for 9 sculptures and get ready to play pirate games.

The free punt runs on weekends and on public holidays from January to Easter Monday. The punt operates on demand and departs 11am to 5pm from Como Landing.


In Melbourne’s South And East

Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve, Elsternwick

Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve, Elsternwick

Canal cruiser to rock hopping champion.

Head out on a family bike ride and cruise along the dreamy Elwood Canal, reading local stories from years ago.

Stop and wonder at the magical murals and creative nest boxes, until you arrive at a chain of ten wonderful ponds filled with birds and SIX steppingstone crossings waiting for you!


Currawong Bush Park, Doncaster East

Canoe sculpture at Currawong Bush Park, Doncaster East

Find kangaroos and ancient stories in this wild little gem.

This rare little bushland has traces of indigenous culture and ancient trees from Wurundjeri times!

It’s a wild gem with open areas, trails to wander, roaming kangaroos and old Manna Gum trees along the creek.

Below the picnic grounds are endless bush cubbies, interactive sculptures and this very cool canoe to play in!


Fourth Hill Gold Trail, Warrandyte State Park

Fourth Hill Gold Memorial tunnel mine

What’s sparkling in these golden woods?

Get ready to explore Victoria’s FIRST ever gold discovery site.

Jump over creeks, hike up adventure trails, peer into gold diggings and gamely go deep underground into old mining tunnels (pictured).

This trail is full of old relics and intriguing histories from gold prospecting in the 1850’s and beyond.

Steadily growing over the golden traces is glowing moss, ferns and a wonderful forest.


Veg Out Community Gardens, St. Kilda

Veg Out Community Gardens St Kilda

Who’s twirling, climbing and hiding in these whimsical gardens?

Just opposite Luna Park is a vegetable and sculpture garden that’s so quirky you will be here for hours exploring every nook and cranny.

This is an open community garden full of vibrant colours, curious sculptures, fruit trees, hidden corners and play areas for kids. There’s even real chickens, birds and guinea pigs (in cages) to say hello to.

It’s free to enter and open every day from 9am to 6pm.


Explore 20 Secret Nature Trails with your Family.

Our Adventure Guides are designed for busy Melbourne families who want to get outside more.

No Planning. No Pressure. Just pure fun and adventure! Simply turn up and go!

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How to make it fun for the whole family

What to Bring

A little preparation can make the day run extra smoothly:

  • Water and plenty of snacks for the whole family.
  • Sun protection - hats, sunglasses, sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Magnifying glass, binoculars, camera - the perfect props to help keep kids exploring!
  • Gumnut Trail’s Adventure Guide

A great checklist and tips from Park’s Victoria

Turn it into an adventure!

Let’s face it, going on a ‘long hike’ or ‘bush walk’ doesn’t always get your kids jumping for joy.

However, if you turn your day into an adventure… they will be ready to go before you are!

The next part is making sure it lives up to their expectations… that’s where Gumnut Trails can help!

Try something new

Do you have a family list of fun things to do outdoors together?

Maybe it’s rock climbing, camping, rowing a boat down the Yarra, going on a treasure hunt, learning to surf, ski or sail, visiting caves, seeing glow worms…

Exploring new places and going on new adventures together, creates shared experiences you will remember for years to come.

Our Adventure Guides are all about new places and new experiences. No adventure is the same!