Dandenong RangesMelbourne, Australia, about 35 km east of the central city. They can be seen from most parts of Melbourne, and are easily identifiable as a group of three hills with large television towers.
By trainThe Dandenongs can be reached by Belgrave line Metro trains from Melbourne in just over an hour. Outside rush hour, you may need to board a train to Lilydale and change at Ringwood. Two park information centres are near Upper Ferntree Gully station (one on the Railway Rd side, the other 10 min away at the Ferntree Gully picnic grounds), while Puffing Billy (see below) leaves from near Belgrave.
Alternatively, take the train to Croydon on the Lilydale line, and continue by Ventura bus 688 to Mt Dandenong and Olinda. The service is infrequent, but it's the only way of reaching either on Sundays.
By carAs ever in Australia, a car will come in handy for touring the area, especially on weekends. The main route through the Dandenong Ranges is via the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road. It ranges from Upper Ferntree Gully (at the junction with Burwood Highway) in the south and winds through the ranges via Ferny Creek, Sassafras, Olinda, Mount Dandenong and Kalorama before terminating at Montrose, at a junction with (the similarly named, but different) Mount Dandenong Road. The road is a pleasant drive through tall forests and should take approximately 35 minutes (depending on traffic).
- Bus 694: Belgrave-Olinda-Mt Dandenong. Mon-Sat.
- Bus 695: Belgrave-Gembrook. Daily.
- Bus 698: Upper Ferntree Gully-Olinda-Mt Dandenong. Mon-Fri peak hours only.
It is possible to travel by train to Upper Ferntree Gully or Belgrave station. From there, several walks are available throughout nearby Ferntree Gully National Park, (see below). There are a plethora of walking tracks throughout the Dandenong Ranges that can be reached by bus. Maps are located from the Information Centre at Upper Ferntree Gully.
Cycling is possible, but only for intermediate and advanced cyclists.
Running is also possible.
Puffing BillyThis historic steam train is the most popular attraction in the Dandenong Ranges. It runs on its original 24 km mountain railway track from Belgrave to Gembrook, through the beautiful lush bush of the ranges. It doesn't come cheap though: tickets are $31/48 single/return for adults, $15/24 for children.
address: Burwood Highway and Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Upper Ferntree GullyNamed in memory of the notorious Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, this is a steep 1.5-km long staircase that combines hiking through near-jungle conditions, with historical plaques documenting the battles against the Japanese and horrific conditions endured by Australian soldiers and their allies. At the top of the hill is the One Tree Hill picnic ground and a series of trails leading in all directions. Very popular on weekends!
William Ricketts SanctuaryMt Dandenong Tourist Rd. Daily 10AM-4:30PM (except Christmas Day). May be closed during fire bans. William Ricketts is a well known Australian artist, and this, his previously private retreat, is dotted with amazing sculptures blended into the natural environment. Free entry.
- Mt Dandenong Scenic Lookout on the 633m summit is accessible by road and looks out across all of Melbourne
- Flower farms
- Devonshire tea houses with friendly parrots
Mt Dandenong ArboretumUnlike many arboreta in Australia, there is a focus on Southern Hemisphere conifers here.
address: 1383 Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, Mount DandenongLuxury boutique accommodation in the Dandenong Ranges with four luxe design driven suites on 3 acres of rainforest and woodland gardens. Enjoy a cooked breakfast delivered to your door and lots of extras to make your stay a memorable one.
phone: +61 3 9761 9791address: 11 Tereddan Drive Kilsyth Sth 3137A luxury bed and breakfast cottage set in 5 acres of botanical gardens with a private lake with fountain and bridge over the lake stunningly silhouetted in lights at night, sitting at the gateway to the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley region. Featuring a comfy King Bed, oval spa, gas log fire and sunny conservatory overlooking the rose gardens. Linger in the gazebo perched by the lake and feed the ducks or wander the gardens exciting the senses with the colours and aromas. Breakfast provisions included so you can enjoy the late checkout of 12 noon with a 2pm check in. Stunningly beautiful both day and night. Short or long stays welcome. A memory to last a lifetime.
- Parks Victoria office, Lower Picnic Ground, Ferntree Gully, Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd. Has park and track maps.