Home to the granite You Yangs ridges that rise to the west of Melbourne, Victoria’s You Yangs Regional Park offers travelers a way to escape to “the Bush” and be back in Melbourne by dinner. Best known for its 30 miles of accessible mountain bike trails, the hiking, rock climbing and horseback riding are also some of the best you’ll find within an hour of Melbourne.
On a climb to the top of Flinders Peak—which tops out near 1,200 feet—hikers are met with panoramic views from Melbourne south toward Geelong. Keep an eye out for bouncing kangaroos or koalas up in the trees, and there’s even the chance of seeing a wallaby scurrying along the trail. There are multiple picnic sites inside of the park should you want to pack your own meal, or the small town of Lara has restaurants approximately four miles away. Even if you don’t feel you’re up for a hike, but still want to get back to nature, the park has an eight-mile, gravel road loop where it’s possible to enjoy the mountain scenery without even leaving the car.
You Yangs Regional Park is open during daylight hours. The park is one hour west of Melbourne and 30 minutes north of Geelong, There is no admission fee to visit the park, and a visitor center just inside the entrance has toilets and basic facilities.