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Dandenong Ranges National Park

  • Things to do
  • Upper Ferntree Gully
1,000 steps, Monts dandenong, Victoria
Photograph: Wilson Afonso/Flickr

Time Out says

You don’t have to travel far from the city to be enveloped by this cascading rainforest, home to infamous Aussie animals and walking tracks to suit every fitnes

Located on Melbourne’s doorstep, the Dandenong Ranges National Park is a rainforest getaway, home to exquisite fauna and flora, sprawling gardens, picture-perfect picnic spots, and a diverse range of walking tracks suitable for newbies right through to the most confident hikers.

A short hour-long drive or train ride from the city and you’ll find yourself immersed in steep volcanic hills completely covered in mountain ash, the world’s tallest flowering tree. If you’re feeling energetic, try conquering the famous 1000 Steps steep bushwalk, which departs from the Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground, and learn about its poignant association with the Kokoda Track.

Chase waterfalls at Olinda Falls and Sherbrooke Falls, which are best just after the rain, or if you’re looking for an accessible option, opt for the Margaret Lester Forest Walk, a purpose-built walking track designed for people with limited mobility.

Some tracks are harder than others, so hiking boots are encouraged – and depending on the path you follow, lookouts offering sweeping views over Melbourne and the Yarra Valley will make it worth your while. 

Living among the tranquil forest is some of the state’s most recognisable wildlife, including wallabies, lyrebirds, wombats and the powerful owl. To help protect their habitat, dogs aren’t allowed in the Dandenong Ranges National Park (assistance dogs are accepted). 

Make a day of it and visit the rest of the Dandenong Ranges region, which boasts quaint hilltop villages, local shops, artist studios, tearooms and wineries.

Want to keep exploring? Here are Melbourne's best carless day trips.

Written by
Ruby Kraner-Tucci


Dandenong Ranges
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