The diverse landscapes of Victoria’s national and state parks offer many opportunities for exploration and adventure on horseback. Explore the mountains and valleys of the Alps, ride through the Bogong High Plains in summer, enjoy the heathlands and tall forests of the Great Otway National Park, the beaches of the Mornington Peninsula or the woodlands of Macedon Regional Park.
Encounter nature in a unique and special way as you amble along the trails with only the sounds of hoofbeats and wildlife. From your high vantage point, you’ll be better placed to catch a glimpse of native fauna and listen closely for birds.
Don’t have a horse, but still want to explore our beautiful parks on horseback? Get in touch with one of our Licensed Tour Operators to book a trail riding experience.
Enjoy horse riding in Melbourne
The Bunyip Heritage Horse Trail is a great ride for beginners in the Melbourne area. Explore the distinctive bush atmosphere of Bunyip State Park and nearby Kurth Kiln Regional Park with this 41km full-day ride. The Heritage Horse Trail follows some of the course from the 2009 Tom Quilty Gold Cup ride – Australia’s national horse riding endurance event. The trail has wonderful scenery and excellent footing, with drinking water available along the way.
Ride the mixed-use Woodlands Hill Walk (1.5km) at Woodlands Historic Park, 22km north of Melbourne CBD, and see some real Living Legends. The trail begins at the Somerton Road Picnic Area and leads to the Homestead, where champion racehorses enjoy their retirement in the paddocks.
Dandenong Ranges National Park provides around 22km of horse riding trails, through the Doongalla area and Silvan Road near Silvan Reservoir.
Explore the diversity of Great Otway National Park
See this area of the Great Ocean Road on horseback through coastal and bushland terrain of the Great Otway National Park and Otway Forest Park. Popular tracks run through the Bambra, Deans Marsh, Barwon Downs, Barongarook and Forrest areas. The Wonga and Barongarook areas have wide, slashed roadsides ideal for horse-riding.
Enjoy a ride along the shore at Johanna Beach and Princetown Beach during the April 1 to August 30 season. If you want to stay a little longer, Dandos, Goat Track, Stevensons Falls and Tanner Road camping areas in the Otway Forest Park are all suitable for camping with your horse.
Spot wildlife in You Yangs Regional Park
The You Yangs Regional Park is just an hour’s drive from Melbourne city, making it a perfect day trip getaway. Follow the looped horse riding trails through the Western Plantation.
Ride through the Sugar Gums of the plantation and cross Hovells Creek along the western boundary. Keep an eye out for native wildlife, including koalas in the canopy and kangaroos and wallabies bounding through the scrub.
Ride through history in Alpine National Park
Explore the incredible landscapes of Alpine National Park on multi-day rides through mountain peaks, towering forests and grassy plains. Follow the pathways used by the first peoples and later cattlemen as they made their way to summer pastures along these tracks which still provide access to travellers today across the Bogong High Plains.
In the summer period, stay in the popular horse camps of Pretty Valley, Langfords West and Diamantina Yards. These campsites have fire places and basic amenities, and are a great base for exploring the High Plains. Please note horse yards require prior booking to avoid disappointment. You can book on the Parks Victoria website Bogong High Plains Horse Camping page.
Follow the river through Howqua Hills Historic Area
Once a hub of gold mining activity, Howqua Hills Historic Area is now a peaceful hideaway perfect for gentle rides along the eucalypt woodland slopes and Howqua River.
Stay in the designated horse camping sites of Frys Flat and Tunnel Bend in horse riding season and explore the beautiful, secluded river valley and historic areas on horseback. Book your stay on the Howqua Hills Horse Camping page.
Take a forest day trip to Macedon Regional Park
A little over one hour’s drive from Melbourne, Macedon Regional Park is situated at the southern end of the Great Dividing Range and is a convenient day trip for horse riders. Follow the horse tracks from the Old Scout Camping Area to explore shady eucalypt woods, native bushland and Spring wildflowers.
Experience tranquil Belfast Coastal Reserve beaches
Amble along this windswept coastline on horseback and take in the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean at Belfast Coastal Reserve. This beautiful beach stretches from Port Fairy to Warrnambool, and is popular with tourists and locals, as well as coastal and wetland wildlife, including the Hooded Plover.
Hooded Plovers are a threatened beach-nesting bird. The nest sites are protected by signage and exclusion fencing. Horse-riding can damage the nests and eggs, scare away parent birds and lead to chicks being trampled. Please keep a respectful distance.
Popular parks for horse riding
Great Otway National Park
Mornington Peninsula National Park
You Yangs Regional Park
Alpine National Park
Keeping our parks and visitors safe during your ride
- Be sure to bag all manure, hay and other debris from parking areas to take home
- Remove rubbish and tie-up twine and take it away with you for disposal
- Only ride on the marked tracks and trails to avoid damaging fragile ecosystems
- Please note that horse riding is not permitted in picnic areas or ‘walkers only’ tracks
- Keep an eye out for specific warnings relating to horse riding, as well as any seasonal changes to access
- If you see any damage or illegal behaviour, please report it to Parks Victoria on 13 1963