There is something so refreshing about being out in nature and in Melbourne we are lucky enough to have such a variety of places to explore and indulge in all that it has to offer.
The You Yangs Regional Park is a popular spot in Melbourne and for good reason. It's a beautiful bushy park offering several different walks that will cater to the fitness fanatics and those who want a leisurely stroll (and we use that term lightly!).
The You Yangs are situated about 50-60 minutes from Melbourne CBD in Little River and the drive doesn't feel like long. There are a few entrances but the main one is situated on Branch Rd and will take you up through a few different car parks where you will start your journey.
We parked at Black Rock car park and started our walk thinking that we were already on a track and how relaxed it was. Little did we know that the real walk we wanted to do started about 10 minutes up (and by that stage we were already huffing and puffing!)
We reached Turntable car park, which is where Flinders Peak walk starts and is probably the most popular walk at the regional park (you may want to park here first) . The sign does set the expectation about what you are about to endure by stating it's "very steep" and "many steps". The walk is 3.2km and takes you to the highest point of the You Yangs. It contains over 450 steps (200m in elevation) but there are breaks along the way with flat surfaces every few minutes and spots where you can sit and take a break. Even so, we would recommend this walk for those who are reasonably fit as it is quite strenuous and there are plenty of other walks on offer.
If taking babies, we would definitely recommend a carrier. It is not suitable for prams and even with a carrier it can prove quite tough although the track itself is quite safe. For children old enough to walk but not old enough to stop complaining the whole way, make sure you bring water and some snacks to keep them going.
The walk up is beautiful and there are stunning views over Melbourne at every turn as well as gorgeous big boulders. You must be aware of snakes although we never saw any and if you are lucky enough you might even spot koalas in the trees. About three quarters of the way up is the first lookout and you could almost stop there as it's truly an awesome view. However, if you can manage another five minutes uphill, you will reach the highest lookout at the park that gives you amazing 360 views over Melbourne. There are also big flat boulders up here, which are popular for resting and sunbathing whilst taking in the view.
The walk up and back will take you around an hour at a steady pace but if you're running it will be much quicker. There are also other walks which offer more flat forested paths if you are looking for a more relaxed stroll. Most of them take between 1-2 hours but you can really go as far as you choose before coming back because you get to experience the beauty of nature the whole way.
Aside from gorgeous nature walks and wildlife spotting there are also plenty of picnic spots, barbecues and rest areas for some lunch. There are also great mountain biking and horse riding tracks for the adventurous and what a great spot to do it.
We can see why the You Yangs is a popular spot for punters as a great way of escaping city life and getting outdoors without being miles away. It's a great example of nature's playground with stunning views and gorgeous greenery in all directions and the best way to get some fresh air whilst getting in some exercise. Make sure you pack some lunch for after your hike as you will be feeling peckish and do not forget your water! There are public toilets at Black Rock car park, but you may want to bring some tissue paper and hand sanitiser as there was none on offer. If you do forget lunch, you can stop at some of the wonderful cafes in Lara on your way back.
We look forward to going back and trying out the other walks on offer!
What: You Yangs Regional Park
Where: Branch Rd, Little River VIC
When: Gates are open from 7am until 5pm, 7 days of the week!
Entry is free