See more of Victoria this winter
As Parks Victoria crews work with emergency services and local communities to restore access to Victorian parks hit hard by severe storms, we ask visitors to put their safety first and stay out of closed sites.
With 16 partially closed parks across the state – including popular spots within the Dandenong Ranges, Lerderderg State Park and Macedon Regional Park – here are some tips from our rangers of other great parks to visit nearby.
Point Nepean National Park
The rugged coastal landscape of Point Nepean National Park at the tip of the Mornington Peninsula is a great place to enjoy a day out, explore the rich history of the Quarantine Station, Fort Nepean and their surroundings and take in the stunning views of Port Philip, the Bass Strait and the distant Melbourne skyline. Walk or cycle along a network of beach, coastal and inland trails or jump aboard the Point Nepean shuttle bus service to explore the highlights of this fascinating area. There’s even a chance to spot migrating Southern Right and Humpback whales on their way to calving grounds off Queensland.
Aerial view of Point Nepean National Park
Churchill National Park
Located next to the popular Lysterfield Lake, Churchill National Park offers excellent running and hiking opportunities for those with a higher fitness level. This smaller, less-populated park boasts some very steep climbs – such as Trig Point Lookout Trail – where visitors will be rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views. This site is also home to hundreds of bird species and would make a great spot for twitchers looking to pass the time.
Looking out to the horizon from the top of the Trig Point Lookout Trail
Jells Park is nestled in the Dandenong Creek Valley, Wheelers Hill, away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket, their BBQ essentials and a good group of friends (those in need of caffine can treat themselves to a warm cuppa at Madeline’s Café). This location is also a wonderful option for families looking for an all-day, outdoor adventure – one that will tire out the kids with active play. The little ones can walk, run, cycle or push their scooters along the Dandenong Creek Trail, where they will come across a variety of playscapes to entice their imaginations. Visitors who are blind or with low vision can explore the park safely and independently with the free, BlindSquare at Jells Park app, available for download on their device of choice.
Cycling through Jells Park
Arthurs Seat State Park
Less than an hour from Melbourne, the 314-metre summit of Arthurs Seat State Park rises above the Mornington Peninsula and provides an awe-inspiring experience for those who appreciate spectacular mountain views. Visitors can choose from five trails depending on their skill level, with hikes ranging from 1 to 26 kilometres. On a clear day, these walks can offer camera-worthy views that stretch as far as the Melbourne city skyline, the You Yangs and Mount Macedon. If you’re ready to soar, hop on the all-weather Arthurs Seat Eagle and take in the remarkable views of Port Phillip Bay from this state-of-the-art gondola. A great destination for people of all abilities.
Taking in the views at Arthurs Seat State Park
Mornington Peninsula National Park
A short drive further on from Arthurs Seat, Mornington Peninsula National Park embraces the wild ocean beaches between Portsea and Flinders, and the kangaroo haven of Greens Bush, the largest bush area remaining on the peninsula. For the adventurous, the two-day Coastal Walk takes you along clifftops overlooking the wild Bass Strait and Western Port Bay. The historic Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve offers all-abilities access to amazing views of Bushrangers Bay, the Lighthouse Museum and the start of the Two Bays Track across the peninsula.
Sharing at family moment at Mornington Peninsula National Park
Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park
For history-buffs seeking an escape off the beaten track, pencil in a day trip to Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, located at the heart of the central Victorian goldfields. Known as the pioneering location of quartz mining and nestled in a now regenerating box-ironbark forest, this historic site is rich in mining relics and the feeling of a once chaotic pursuit of wealth. The gold rush is etched into every aspect of the landscape, from Eureka Reef Heritage Walk – a 1.8km self-guided walk that helps you see the forest through the eyes of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, alluvial gold diggers and quartz reef miners – to the nearby Garfield Water Wheel, Monster Meeting site, Spring Gully mine site and Pennyweight Children's Cemetery.
Walking through Eureka Reef Heritage Walk at Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park
Often referred to as the heart of the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles are located 275 kilometres west of Melbourne. Normally bustling with visitors during the warmer months, visitors should take the opportunity to experience the windswept lookouts and dramatic limestone stacks during the calm of winter. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a penguin waddling into the rough beach below. We recommend you take a gentle walk down the Gibson Steps or the sandy beach of Loch Ard Gorge to get a closer view of the towering stacks, before you rug up and experience the breathtaking sunset at this world-famous destination.
Catching the sunset at the Twelve Apostles
Great Otway National Park
Stretching from Torquay, along the world-famous Great Ocean Road through popular towns of Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay and up through the Otways hinterland, the Great Otway National Park is an ideal destination for lovers of camping who want to switch off their phones and live a weekend off-grid. This location offers visitors a mix of rugged coastland, picturesque beaches and a number of cascading waterfalls spotted through lush mountains. Hikers, mountain bikers and surfers will be spoiled for choice, while families can schedule relaxed visits to the Cape Otway Lightstation, the Otway Fly and Bimbi Park.
Setting up camp at the Great Otway National Park
To stay updated on park closures and restoration developments, visit https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/get-into-nature/safety-in-nature/changed-conditions-and-closures