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Mindfulness walks in nature

The health benefits of spending time in nature are now widely accepted, from helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression to promoting creativity and recovering from mental fatigue.

Even doing low to moderate exercise in nature on a regular basis can help to lower blood pressure, improve sleep and increase energy levels. Mindfulness walks take this idea further and help you slow down and focus on the present moment - each step, each breath – feeling calm and relaxed.

Top tips for mindfulness walks in nature:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
  • Start by standing still and becoming aware of your body and how it feels. Take 2-3 deep breaths and focus your thoughts on the present moment.
  • Begin to walk slightly slower than normal pace. With each step, be aware in the moment of how your foot connects with the ground – heal-to-toe. 
  • Breathe naturally and fully, deeply filling your lungs each time you inhale – pause – and exhale. 
  • When your attention drifts away take notice without judgment and gently guide your awareness back to the present moment. This is completely normal and gets easier with practice.
  • When you finish your walk, take a few deep breaths, pause and reflect on the calm sense of being in nature. Slowly return to your regular activity.
  • Start by doing this mindful walking between 5 to 20 minutes. You can increase it over time.

Find out more about walks near you

There’s a walking trail that’s perfect for everyone. Parks Victoria offers a range of free guided park walks from easy to intermediate, kids walks, café walks and discovery walks that provide information on natural, cultural and heritage features.

Other parks to enjoy mindfulness walks

 
Ferns in the Yarra Ranges National Park.

Badger Weir

Badger Weir Picnic Area is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or barbecue. Visitors can enjoy fresh mountain air and forest walks passing through ancient fern gullies, across clear mountain streams and meandering among mighty Mountain Ash.
Maroondah Reservoir Park in the Yarra Ranges National Park.

Maroondah Reservoir Park

Maroondah features gardens with stands of native and exotic trees, native animals and birds and walking tracks. Its playground, lawns and cool summer shade make it a popular picnic destination in warmer months.
A family walk along the Rainforest Gallery near Mt Donna Buang.

Rainforest Gallery

This beautiful site features a 40 metre long observation platform (one of only three of its type in Australia) which takes you into the rainforest canopy 15 metres above the ground.
A couple in their sixties walk their two flat coated retriever dogs through the Alfred Nicholas Gardens among the changing autumn colours .

Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden

The gardens will delight all year round. In Spring, it is blooming with rhododendrons, azaleas, camelias, kalmias and flowering cherries on the lake. Summer is the time to see hydrangeas, fuchsias, native ferns, rhododendrons and native terrestrial orchids. In Autumn the foliage of maples, beech and the famous golden ginkgos on the lake is stunning. In Winter you will see camelias and the early rhododendrons.
A path in Pirianda Garden in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

Pirianda Garden

Designed to take advantage of the steep slopes, the terraced garden of Pirianda is distinctive for its combination of botanically important trees, shrubs and perennials with an over storey of large blackwoods and mountain ash towering over the natural fern gullies.
Sherbrooke Falls in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

Sherbrooke Falls

Tracks leading from Sherbrooke and O’Donohue Picnic Ground provide the easiest walk to the falls through the attractive landscape of tall Mountain Ash and tree ferns. The falls are most inspiring after rain when the swollen Sherbrooke Creek rushes over the rocks.
A man with an afro wearing a leather jacket and woman wearing a cream knitted jumper turn and walk away from a lake in the Dandenong Ranges Botanical Gardens.

Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden

The Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden (formerly the National Rhododendron Garden) is host to brilliantly coloured blooms of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, cherries and daffodils. Seasonal changes ensure the gardens are a delight all year around.
Water cascades over Olinda Falls

Olinda-Falls

Starting at the Olinda Falls Picnic Ground, follow the Falls Track. After 300m, you will come to the top viewing platform across Olinda Creek as the steady flow of water cascades over the rocks. A further 140m leads to the lower viewing platform and a small bridge over the creek.
A woman walks along the boardwalk at Maits Rest in the Great Otway National Park.

Maits Rest

There is an easy self-guided circuit walk through ancient, cool temperate rainforest at Maits Rest. Maits Rest is renowned for its natural beauty and a must see destination.A wooden boardwalk has been built over the tree-fern gullies and moss covered roots, providing a unique view of the forest.
A couple follow a walking path through luscious rain-forest ferns.

Melba Gully

Melba Gully has prolific plant growth and is a dense rainforest of Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Tree-ferns, with an understorey of low ferns and mosses. Perhaps the most unusual inhabitants of the area are the glow worms, which can be seen at night along the walking tracks.
Three friends canoe through Lake Elizabeth infront of a back drop of ferns and old growth forest.

Lake Elizabeth Campground

Lake Elizabeth Campground is a dogs-on-lead camping area sheltered by tall eucalypt trees and nestled beside the Barwon River.
Beauchamp Falls, Great Otway National Park.

Otway Forest

The Forrest section of Great Otway National Park, along with Otway Forest Park, encompasses a stunning landscape including undulating plains and plateaus of the hinterlands and magnificent Mountain Ash forests.
Three friends follow the track alongside the Cumberland River near Lorne in the Great Otway National Park.

Cumberland Falls Walk

Explore the feeling of remoteness in one of the more beautiful river valleys in the Otway Ranges. Memories of dramatic cliffs, gentle streams and peaceful pools in which to cool off on a hot summer day will stay with you long after your visit.
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