The Dandenongs, Victoria
The Dandenong Ranges, a welcome escape from Melbourne city life for many and a major tourist destination for local and international visitors. At 633 metres in height, Mt Dandenong can be seen from the Melbourne city centre, just under 50km’s away.
The cool temperate rainforest of the Dandenong Ranges National Park is home to numerous native animals including the lyrebird, wombats, echidnas, possums and colourful parrots. With miles of walking tracks to explore and a varied assortment of craft shops, cafes, restaurants, and tourist attractions, staying for a night or two at one of the exquisite accommodation options available in the Dandenongs, would be a great idea.
Dandenong Ranges Walks
Walking trails in the Dandenongs range from very short strolls to quite strenuous hikes. A number of the tracks are open to mountain bikers, horse riding and dog walking.
Walk quietly, local wildlife can often be seen. Early morning in the forest is perhaps the ideal time to see the lyrebird and other elusive native animals.
Each post has details of walk distance and general level of fitness required, available parking, whether it is dog-friendly and if it is suitable for wheelchairs or baby buggies.
Before starting out, it is recommended that a map app of walking trails in the Dandenongs be downloaded. Melways is a useful resource, as walking tracks are marked on their maps.
The usual precautions need to be taken when hiking, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, carry adequate water and snacks. Weather can change quickly, so make sure to check the forecast prior to heading off.
Do not walk during high winds as limbs/trees are more likely to fall. High fire danger days are not ideal for walking either.
What is the weather like in the Dandenong Ranges?
The Dandenongs were a favourite summer-time destination for Melbournians in days gone by, flocking to the hills to retreat from the heat of Melbourne and enjoying the cool of the rainforest.
Summer temperatures are generally about 5 degrees cooler than down below in Melbourne and, yes, winter temperatures are often a bit cooler than the city – all the better to come stay in the Dandenongs and snuggle up by a fire, take a brisk walk or relax in a local eatery. Occasionally, we get some snow, not often enough, though!
Quite often it might be foggy down in the ‘lowlands’ but sunny up on the mountain, never assume the weather is the same in both areas.
ACCOMMODATION IN THE DANDENONG Ranges
The hills are bursting with fabulous B &B’s. From fairly basic rooms to luxurious suites and entire cottages. Find accommodation options in our accommodation category.
Sadly, we do not have any campsites in the Dandenongs, or any caravan parks.
Tours & Transport to the Dandenong Ranges
A number of tour operators offer day trips to the Dandenongs departing Melbourne or from within the Dandenongs, picking up passengers from local B&B’s. Some will be listed on this site under the Tours category.
Self-drive to the Dandenongs will take just under an hour from Melbourne.
Most of the villages in the Dandenongs have limited parking, if you are planning a long walk in the hills, please consider parking away from village centres or using public transport.
Public Transport to the Dandenongs
The most direct access to the Dandenong Ranges, on public transport, is to take the train to Upper Ferntree Gully station and catch a connecting bus into the hills or go a little further on the train to Belgrave where buses connect. It is also easy to walk directly into the forest from Belgrave or Upper Ferntree Gully.
There is a train service to Croydon and a connecting bus coming up from the other side of the mountain through Montrose. A bus service also runs from Lilydale train station through Monbulk to Belgrave.
Please check bus timetables either online via the links below or at a local station.
Bikes can be transported on trains at times, please check at a local train station, if planning to cycle in the Dandenongs.
Dogs are allowed on trains with a muzzle on, please check current regulations with PTV. Dogs are allowed on buses in an approved pet carrier unless they are guide dogs etc. Many areas in the Dandenong Ranges National Park do not allow dogs. please see our Dog-friendly walks page.
GUEST WRITERS WELCOME! If you love walking the hills and would like to contribute a guest walking article or anything relevant to the Hills, it would be most welcomed. An author bio about you can be inserted, with a link to your local business if applicable.