Want to walk with other women? Luckily there are quite a few groups running regular walks across Melbourne and Victoria, from urban adventures to longer bush hikes.
Can't find what you're looking for? These groups all began with a woman like you!
Note about Covid-19: These groups are adapting events in line with the state and federal government advice about physical distancing. For information about current advice and restrictions in Victoria see 'Sport and Exercise' at this link. Because spots are now more limited, ensure you register to attend walking events.
Women On Walks: Twice-monthly Melbourne adventures
This fantastic, popular Facebook group is run by Annie who is based in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs. Annie usually organises two walks each month (a Sunday morning and a weekday morning), which usually cover 10-14km - often along Melbourne’s beaches, rivers or creek trails. Each walk is graded Easy, E/M, Medium, M/H, or Hard.
Currently the walks attract an average of 25 women (aged between 25 and 75) and they always involve a coffee or lunch stop. Annie, a former tennis player and coach (now retired) thoroughly researches the walks beforehand to ensure there’s adequate transport options, the routes are pleasant, spacious and have enough toilet stops. It takes a woman to think of these things! She's keen to ensure the free events are welcoming and non-judgemental.
Why did you start this? Close girlfriends and I were always meeting up at the same park for a walk and eventually I said I want to keep walking with you but I am so sick of this park! My friends said they’d be happy to explore new places if I organised everything, so … If there was another group like mine I would have joined it!
What is great about the group? We always get five or six new people each time as well as some regulars. We’re very inclusive, you can even listen to headphones rather than chat if that’s what you prefer.
Inspired? Ask Annie if you can help run a walk, or start your own group / events for women in your area.
Escaping Your Comfort Zone: Easy-paced bushwalks for women
Escaping Your Comfort Zone is a not-for-profit club that runs body-positive hikes for women (and non-binary folk) with trained, volunteer leaders. There are usually 8-10 day-trip hikes running each week. Most are 6km or less and run at an easy pace. You can find details at the Facebook Page. There are also EYCZ Facebook groups for women who live in Melbourne, Geelong and Gippsland. EYCZ also runs more challenging hikes. Women can join EYCZ for $120 per year (and do as many walks as they like) or there are monthly or a $10-per-walk options – with fees helping the group to cover insurance and other costs.
Richelle Olsen founded EYCZ in 2016 and has since won awards for her brilliant idea to attract more women to enjoy the great outdoors. The group has over 30 female volunteer walk leaders!
What is great about the club and walks? We are very open-minded and non-judgmental. Our feedback has been that many participants feel much more comfortable with other women particularly when trying something that is out of their comfort zone, such as hiking. Our motto is ‘the outdoors don’t care about your size, your speed or your fitness and neither do we!’
Ladybirds Outdoor Adventures: Impromptu walks for women 40+
The Ladybirds (from July 1 2020) is a large Facebook community of Victorian women walkers who arrange walks on the page or in location-specific Facebook sub groups (ie: Ladybirds Southern Metro region). Prior to July 2020 Ladybirds Outdoor Adventures ran very successfully as a women’s hiking club through Bushwalking Victoria, running 10+ events per week for women aged 40+ years.
However the hard-working volunteer committee and walk leaders decided to hang up the boots recently with the group’s popularity (350 members) becoming too much for many who were juggling paid work also. Founder Andrea Bayliss says many within Ladybirds’ large Facebook community are still running regular activities; the difference is that now anyone can post an event and invite others.
Andrea: I started the group because I was mainly hiking alone and having trouble finding the kind of group I wanted to join. From the start our focus was on attracting ‘the average woman’ and we got a whole range of fitness levels. The focus was always on being inclusive.
More walking groups (not women only)
Kangaroo Flat: Wednesday morning walks in City of Greater Bendigo
People living in the City of Greater Bendigo can join this regular Wednesday morning walk at Kangaroo Flat (pictured above), which began as a event partnership between the council, Healthy Heart in Victoria and Victoria Walks in 2019.
Four local volunteers continue to meet and run weekly walks at the Gurri Wanyarra Wellness Centre on Wednesday mornings 10am. It's usally a 30-minute lap around local walking trails. Volunteer leader Maxine, who works in aged care, says the walks are a great way to connect with other locals and to destress from her working week.
Photo credit: Bill Conroy
The Heart Foundation walking groups:
The Heart Foundation has a great resource for finding local walking groups. While the groups are for men and women, you may find some walking buddies in the groups you can arrange walks with, or you can start a walking group and list it. There are currently 218 walking groups listed in Victoria, including 105 groups in Greater Melbourne.