No matter how far or for how long we travel, our wellness plays an imperative role while on the road. When we travel, we can put our bodies through unfamiliar situations like an epic mountain climb or experiencing new foods. Even the act of travelling in between time zones or contrasting seasons can test our bodies’ strengths.
Being an Australian traveller who travels across hemispheres, my body is all too familiar with seasonal changes. Not long ago, I travelled during Melbourne’s winter to the equatorial heat of Sumatra. After such a rapid change in climate, I came down with a head cold and I was able to battle it out by the time I returned home. Though, I returned to exceptionally cold Melbourne weather and my cold found a way to return. As I recovered, I gradually re-introduced my regular walking rituals so I could re-strengthen my body and immune system.
Walking is one of those basic – and accessible – ways to regularly exercise so we can increase our immune system’s resistance. I was inspired by this month's Vegan Life Magazine to compile a few walks in and around Melbourne that help me keep my body exercised and in optimal health.
Walking the Geelong Bollards Trail
Geelong is only an hour’s drive south-west from Melbourne and its waterfront plays host to the city’s Bollards Trail walk. Along the foreshore, you’ll find recycled bollards painted to portray local characters throughout Geelong’s history. There are over 100 painted bollards along the shore, across 48 sites between Limeburner’s Point and Rippleside Park. What I enjoy about this walk is that it’s self-paced and takes you along Geelong’s pretty foreshore. You can decide to take a short walk through Rippleside Park, the recommended starting point, and absorb the seaside outlook. Or, complete the full two-hour, one-way walk to see all the sites. I suggest choosing a sunny and mild day, packing a day-pack full of treats, water and a light lunch then making a day of it. Just don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.
Walking the 1000 Steps in Upper Ferntree Gully
The Kokoda Memorial Walk in Upper Ferntree Gully, locally known as the 1000 Steps, is a popular walk for many Melburnians. This is another walk that can be navigated at your own pace, though you do need to have a relatively good level of fitness. This walk has also proven to be invaluable whenever I’ve prepared for a lengthy hike, such as Mount Sinai in Egypt or Mount Ijen in Java. The 1000 Steps also gives your body a boost by getting you back to nature. The native ferns, towering Eucalypts and sounds of lyrebirds in the distance make for a relaxing nature experience. You can choose to take the steps on the ascent to the right of the carpark and returning via the fire track. I prefer getting the hard work out of the way first by taking the fire track. Then I reward my achievement with the forested return walk via the official 1000 steps. It’s fun to be surrounded by forest this way and the light trickling of water after any rain the night before adds to the tranquillity. Just be on the lookout for joggers who run upwards along the way. A round trip can take about an hour.
Walking through Grant’s Picnic Ground in Kallista
This is another walking area in Melbourne’s outer east that’s perfect for a walk in nature or an alternative stamina-building bushwalk. Grant’s Picnic Ground can be found in leafy Kallista, heading into the heart of Sherbrook Forest in The Dandenong Ranges. There are many walking tracks to choose from, with varying lengths and suited to many ability levels. There are gravel paths to meander, towering ferns to admire, gullies to navigate and stunning mountain ash trees to gaze over; another lush destination for getting back to natural wonder. The fresh air, like 1000 Steps, is plentiful and you can lengthen your journey here by packing a picnic to eat at any one of the picnic tables.
Walking through Melbourne’s street art laneways
I decided to add this walk to my list as my creative side loves admiring the artistic inspiration from talented street artists. Artists from around the world feature their murals and “pastie” works in many of Melbourne’s iconic laneways. My local tip is to start an official walk at Hosier Lane, a brief stroll from Flinders Street Station. Then, it’s a matter of wandering the bluestone-cobbled lane to soak in the colourful art. You can pick up a city map from the Information Centre, located at Federation Square, as you make your way from the station. You can take your time by following it through Melbourne’s grid to other inspiring laneways including AC/DC Lane, Union Lane and Duckboard Place. The route you choose is only limited by the time you have, and there are plenty of cafés along the journey should you need to stop. It’s one of my favourite walks where I can truly lose myself in the art; exercising both my body and mind.
Can you recommend a fun, wellness-boosting walk in your city? I’d love to hear about how you like to keep walking. Feel free to share your tips in the comments below!
This blog post was inspired by the article ‘Winter Wellness’ that can be found in the November issue of Vegan Life Magazine.Check out their website for digital or print subscription details too.
Disclaimer: I was supplied with a free digital copy of Vegan Life Magazine Issue 10. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.