Having run a Pilates and Wellness studio for over 10 years, I’m well versed in knowing that our health and happiness are not purely based on just what we eat and how we move but also via connection, community, purpose and our environment.

The impacts of the long lockdowns of COVID not only effected our travel plans but also our ability to interact with others and to some extent our environments.

It saw 53% of Victorians having low-medium life expectations after covid and we saw a steep rise in anxiety, depression and mental health illnesses being reported.

This, in part is why in-person activities and events are so vital and what seemed to be a simple hike amongst friends was really so much more.

If you haven’t visited Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, then definitely put it on your ‘must visit’ list.

Red Hill
Merrick's General Wine Store

Besides having gorgeous walks, there’s wineries, strawberry-picking, horse-riding, beaches and epicurean adventures to be had.

We had the help of the wonderful Amanda Connell from Holistic Hikes to guide us along the trail and share some of the amazing history of the area and insider information of the local plant and wildlife.

We began our hike at Merricks General Wine Store, a beautiful café and food store offering local wine tastings, amazing meals and beautiful take-home food and keepsakes.

Pretty as a picture with vines crowning the outside, it featured as a picturesque start to our walk.

The Red-Hill Trail is approx. 13km round trip.

Beginning at Merricks General Wine Store with a half-way point of the Red Hill Epicurean it is an easy and rolling walk that will surprise and delight you.

Classified as an easy grade trail with wide paths, the Red Hill trail is a shared path with hikers, mountain-bikers, horse riders and day trippers saying hello and giving way as polite trail blazers do.

If you resisted temptation at Merrick’s General Wine Store, be ready to have your will tested at the Red Hill Epicurean. Delicious, sweet treats, salads and coffee await and after such a walk the only question is, why not?

Along the trail we embraced the changing landscapes of vineyards, pine trees, ferns and open farmland. Surrounded by the calls of birds and small wildlife alike, you may even be lucky to see the resident echidna or a local fox.

Red Hill Trail

We also saw many people walk part of the trail, choosing a pace and distance that suited their fitness and walking party.

From friends to families, many people enjoy the trail at their own pace.

Post-covid, there has been a real presence of anxiety around booking activities, getting out and about and interacting with people but I really want to share that although we all loved our walk and the benefits of the exercise we got.

What we loved even more was the time spent conversing and connecting with others. Spending time out in nature surrounded by the sounds of the wind and wildlife and the changing colours of the forest.

The power of human connection and time spent in nature is real with only 15 minutes of time spent in nature having been shown to improve mood, concentration and stress levels.

Everyone within our group, benefitted physically, emotionally and mentally and all by doing a simple walk, outside with friends.

Interested in further improving your mental health?

Try listening to these podcast episodes:

Episode 25 – How to Manage Stress and Anxiety with Alice Law

Episode 6 – The POWER of positivity and how it can help your health