Northwest of Melbourne and only forty minutes drive from the city centre are some of the best places for nature lovers to both live and play. The City of Melton sits as a hub to some of the best hiking, camping and outdoor activities that surround Victoria’s capital, and remains an affordable and growing area that is attracting families who are looking for a place to call home.
The best place for families who love the outdoors
The 2016 Census revealed that 67.4 per cent of households in Melton are family households, with the average age of a Melton resident at 39 years of age and 55.7 of the population working full-time.
With young kids in tow, these nature lovers of Melton are surrounded by easy-to-access natural environments, from small gardens and parks to large state parks that offer hiking and camping on the weekends. Melton residents also sit on the doorstep to some of the best outdoor locations within an hour’s drive from Melbourne. The suburb’s position within a short commute to Melbourne and the great outdoors to the northwest make it an ideal place to live for those who place an emphasis on the benefits of being outdoors.
Residents as well as those living nearby head to Melton Reservoir on the weekends to get a glimpse of the spillway, which was constructed in 1937 from the initial man-made reservoir, which was itself built in 1916 to store up to 21,000 megalitres of water.
During floods (like seen below) the spillway attracts those who want to experience the power of a flood from a safe distance.
Most nature lovers come for a picnic and a walk or to fish from the reservoir shoreline. This is a favourite local haunt for those who live in and around Melton, but is only the start of what is on offer for those who like to get outdoors any day of the week.
Melton Botanic Gardens
A favourite for local nature lovers is unsurprisingly the Melton Botanic Gardens. Home to its own nationally recognised collection of dryland eucalypts as well as to a vast range of plants from around the world, there are various walks across the gardens that make this an ideal place for trail runners, walkers, dog lovers and those looking to have a picnic with the kids.
North of Melton is one of Victoria’s most renowned tourist destinations and one of the best places for a quick escape from the city for those who love the outdoors.
Mount Macedon is a small town northwest of Melbourne that sits within the Macedon Regional Park. The short hike to the lookout provides visitors with incredible views while an extensive 30km circuit walk offers more adventurous nature lovers with the opportunity to really stretch their legs and explore what this area has to offer.
Macedon is also a favourite haunt for cyclists, due to its proximity to the city. There are plenty of quiet roads and tracks to explore around the area, while V-Line access makes this an ideal weekend playground.
Lerderderg State Park
Adjacent to Macedon Regional Park is the much larger Lerderderg State Park, which is where things get a little more serious.
Lerderderge State Park offers some of the best bushwalking within a short drive of Melbourne, with Melton sitting right at its doorstep.
Camping is a popular activity for visitors to Lerderderg State Park, while hikers opt to either explore the 300-metre gorge that has been carved out through sandstone and slate by the Lerderderg River or take on something a bit more challenging. There are short walks of around 3.5km right through to multiday hikes, such as that from O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies Flat in which the river itself makes up some of the trail.
A little further northwest from Lerderderg is one of the most famous cultural and environmental hubs in Victoria, Daylesford. The small town is an incredibly popular destination for nature lovers from Melbourne as well as curious international tourists, making Melton an ideal place to call home.
Surrounded by Hepburn Regional Park, there is plenty of hiking in this area for those of all fitness levels. The 16km Tipperary Walking Trail offers more of a challenge, while there are plenty of short walks around town as well as around the lake.
Wombat State Forest
Finally, those living in Melton are lucky enough to be a short drive away from Wombat State Forest, a haven for mountain bike riders.
There are over 100km of interlinking trails in the forest that suit a range of experience levels, making this an ideal escape from the city for nature lovers who are chasing a bit of an adrenaline boost as well.
Whatever your flavour, whether it be hiking, camping, mountain bike riding, cycling, boating or fishing, Melton is an increasingly popular and affordable destination for those who don’t want to sacrifice on lifestyle.