10 Best Dandenong Ranges Attractions
What is there to do in the Dandenongs?
We have a number of attractions within the Dandenongs, along with the many bush walks and the famous 1000 Steps /Kokoda Memorial walking track. There are numerous free and paid things to do and see in the Dandenongs, plenty of activities to keep visitors busy for days. All the Dandenong Ranges attractions listed below are family-friendly.
1. Puffing Billy
Our famous little steam train carries thousands of passengers from Belgrave to Emerald and beyond every day of the year.
2. William Ricketts Sanctuary
William Ricketts had a vision as well as an outstanding talent for sculpting. Set amidst the rainforest and Mountain Ash of Mt Dandenong, this is a place not to be missed.
Entry is free with plenty of parking opposite and a public bus stop at the gate.
3. Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens
Stunning spring colours as well as autumn foliage. Formerly known as the National Rhododendron Gardens, the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens provide walking tracks, a small lake, views and picnic areas. Lyrebirds will often be seen scratching around, seemingly oblivious to visitors.
Plenty of parking is available and the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens are easy to access via public transport.
4. Emerald Lake Park
Lovely walking tracks, as well as a pretty ornamental lake, makes Emerald Lake Park a popular destination. Puffing Billy Steam Train stops nearby and paddleboats can be hired. Superb autumn colours, miniature railway, a swimming pool and a cafe.
The Emerald to Gembrook walking and bike trail passes through Emerald Lake Park, a good spot to stop for a picnic with bbq facilities, shelters and picnic tables.
Set in the beautiful and historic Nobelius Heritage Park, Emerald Museum is a local history museum and archive.
The Museum tells the story of Emerald’s colourful past through displays of memorabilia, photographs and documents dating from early aboriginal occupation to the present day.
Emerald Museum houses and selectively displays approximately 2,000 photographs, 600 memorabilia, documentary records, including contemporary records and family histories relevant to the economic, social and environmental history of the Emerald district. See the Gallery for a small sample from the collection.
5. Trees Adventure – Tree surfing
Brilliant fun for all the family. The Trees Adventure Park is set in the Glen Harrow Gardens, Belgrave. To say it is a stunning setting would be a massive understatement!
6. SkyHigh, Mt Dandenong – Views & Maze
The famous views from SkyHigh Mt Dandenong would have to be one of the most visited areas of the hills. The maze and gardens, as well as the Giant’s Chair, will keep visitors entertained for hours.
Travel east out of Melbourne – high and deep into the misty blue Dandenong Ranges. Keep going, past the cafes and tourists and the Puffing Billy steam train. Beyond the towering gums and giant ferns of Sherbrooke Forest.
You’re nearly there. Somewhere unique.
Head for Monbulk, but turn left just before you get there and follow the winding road some more. You’ve arrived. You’re now in flower country, where blazing blooms of every hue confetti the rolling green fields.
8. Alfred Nicholas Gardens – Lake & Boat Shed
The autumn colours around the ornamental lake and boat shed of the Alfred Nicholas Gardens can often be seen featured in promotions of the Dandenong Ranges. Beautiful during any season, the gardens are a fabulous place to explore.
They have been included in this list of attractions as people often see the images of the lake and boat shed but do not know where they are located.
9. The children’s playground, Olinda
This newly built playground (2019) has some of the best views in the Dandenong Ranges as well as picnic areas, bbq’s and plenty of play spaces for children to be kept active for hours. The walks nearby are also some of the best in the Dandenong Ranges.
10. One Thousand Steps and Kokoda Memorial Trail
One of the most favourite Dandenong Ranges hikes is the famous 1000 Steps walking track, a memorial to the Kokoda Trail with many significant plaques to read along the way.
The 1000 Steps walk is one of the most popular attractions in the Dandenong Ranges with people of all ages and nationalities tackling the strenuous hiking trail daily.