If you haven't explored Melbourne's inner east on foot, do it! This is a great one for a lazy spring weekend with a few friends.
The hike starts at the top end of town, near the old Treasury Building. Begin by walking through Fitzroy Gardens - make sure you stop to check out Cooks Cottage. There, now you're done your sightseeing for the day!
Walk along Wellington Parade and cross Hoddle Street onto Bridge Road. The hike takes you all the way down Bridge Road to the Yarra River, so if you're feeling like a pick-me-up, there are many great coffee options along this street. Mayday does a pretty decent brew.
Once you hit the river, turn left and follow the path (it's part of the Main Yarra Trail) northwards. You'll have to share it with dozens of other walkers and cyclists, but it's a really pretty section so it's worth it.
When you reach the Burnley Street bridge, you've got a decision to make. Depending on the time and your thirst, you could opt to duck into Moon Dog Brewing for a cheeky brew (they also serve free popcorn and there's a pizza van on site that does pretty great pizzas - the mushroom is my favourite).
If its a wee bit early for a pint, cross the river and take the lower path for a proper bushwalking vibe, or the higher footpath for views over the city and Carton Brewery.
After about 10 minutes you'll come to the Gipps Street bridge. Cross over and turn right up Nicholson Street until you reach the newly refurbished Park Hotel Abbotsford. It's open from 12pm weekends and offers a fantastically tasty sharing menu. A great stop for lunch or a well-eared snack, the Park has some open fires for the cooler months and a beer garden for sunnier times. If nothing else, try the charred green beans. They are life-changing good.
After lunch/snack make your way back to Gipps Street, cross Hoddle and if you're up for a drinkie then try Stomping Ground. A huge warehouse style brewery and eatery, it offers some really decent brews and has plenty of space - which is usually completely full on weekends.
Further up the road is Le Bon Ton. This could be a good alternative lunch stop if you're up for a more meatier meal.
The hike takes you up Peel Street where you'll need to turn left onto Smith for a final stop-off at Mr Scruffs, a pretty hip place to been seen in Collingwood. If you've skipped lunch, Saturdays they do a very reasonable $12 burger and beer special.
You can choose to end your hike in Collingwood and just chill out in one of the awesome bars or cafes or continue back into town via Fitzroy Gardens.
All up this hike is approximately 10 kms and will take around 3-4 hours, depending of course on the number of stops you make.
See you on the urban trail!