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Multi-Day Hiking in the Dandenongs

The Dandenong Ranges provide an idyllic mountain retreat just minutes away from Melbourne. Home to lush fern glades, towering forests in National Parks, cool-climate public gardens and eclectic little villages waiting to be discovered, The Dandenongs provide the perfect opportunity for exploration.

The 1000 Steps trail and Puffing Billy train are among the highlights, but there is so much more to discover here – from walking trails to gardens, mazes and viewpoints as well as steam railway – you won’t run out of things to do here!

Day 1

At just 20 kms north of Melbourne lies Dandenong Ranges – a rainforest getaway offering peaceful forest walks, charming hilltop towns, charismatic wildlife like wallabies and lyrebirds, cool climate public gardens with well-marked trails that are easy to access by bus or train, cool-climate public gardens with cool temperatures year-round, public garden amenities that boast cool temperatures, cool climate public gardens with cool temperatures year-round as well as easy bus and train accessibility – perfect for conquering 1000 Steps, visiting Olinda Falls as well as taking in stunning views of Melbourne Yarra Valley below from lookout.

This new multi-day walk is quickly becoming an epic for hikers across Australia. Intended to highlight all that makes the region special, this town-to-town trek provides hikers looking for something different a unique challenge with plenty of variety along its path – be it exploring fern-filled gullies, forests of eucalypts or crossing creeks! You won’t be bored for sure.

On your first day, you’ll begin from Upper Ferntree Gully Railway Station and walk along the Kokoda Memorial Track to Mt Dandenong Hotel – covering over 1,000m elevation gain en route! Take your time, enjoy the sights and take in every experience along this majestic trail!

This trail winds its way through dense Mountain Ash and Gondwana ferns that give this forest its Tolkien vibe, providing an idyllic home for birdlife like frogs and lizards, spring wildflower blooming wildflowers, and perhaps even an encounter with Powerful Owl.

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Once your walk has ended at Mt Dandenong Hotel, hop a bus back to Upper Ferntree Gully station (worth the cost of your Myki pass alone!). There you can access Kyeema Track before crossing Ridge Road on Kyeema Track before climbing Sky High Mount Dandenong via Mount Dandenong Tourist Road to William Ricketts Sanctuary via Mount Dandenong Tourist Road.

This amazing day walk will leave you feeling on top of the world. The views are simply breath-taking and there’s always something going on, whether that means taking on the famous 1000 steps, riding Puffing Billy or simply enjoying Alfred Nicholas Garden and Sherbrooke National Park – memories will last a lifetime! This adventure awaits!

Day 2

Mount Dandenong provides Melbourne residents with an idyllic rainforest getaway just minutes away, making its western slopes an idyllic hiking destination. Hikers flock here for tranquil forest walks, charming hilltop villages, charismatic animals like wallabies and lyrebirds, and famous walks like The 1000 Steps with views that will take your breath away. Enjoy cool temperatures beneath towering Mountain Grey Gums while fern-filled gullies encourage Black Wallabies and Echidnas roam free throughout this magnificent environment.

One of the finest places to visit in Dandenongs is William Ricketts Sanctuary, an outdoor sculpture garden filled with outdoor sculptures that honor humanity’s relationship to nature. Although there is a small entrance fee, visiting on an especially sunny day makes it worth your while!

Burkes Lookout is another wonderful place to explore; it offers breathtaking panoramic views across the region and may even let you catch sight of laughing kookaburras perched in treetops! For optimal experiences, it is best to visit this location on a clear day.

Ramblers Track Loop provides a more challenging but equally rewarding day hike, featuring moderate terrain with some steep climbing but remains accessible to most hikers. You’ll pass by numerous landscapes along this easy to moderate walk – from fern-filled gullies and forests of eucalypts to creek crossings and boardwalks along its route.

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As this hike is relatively close to Melbourne, making it the perfect day trip option. Just make sure that you begin early or during a weekday to beat crowds!

Day 3

The Dandenongs are often known as the lungs of Melbourne, with tall forests and deep gullies covering these 600m high hills so close to our city. A newly established multi-day trail explores tracks along their frontage; offering steep uphill sections as well as plenty of downhill sections with great lookout opportunities along its tracks.

The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges provide plenty to see and do, with picturesque trails winding through forest and ornamental gardens, wineries & distilleries, farms & dairies selling fresh local produce and cafes & esteemed restaurants offering seasonal menus providing an amazing sensory experience. This region is sure to amaze!

This two-day hike near Melbourne offers one of the easiest access hikes, following a simple path along an historic railway line and featuring both natural and historical points of interest en route. Easy train access at Belgrave makes this hike accessible, while taking advantage of short ferry ride to Tankerton Jetty on French Island makes this an excellent opportunity to unplug from modern life’s hectic pace.

Start this walk at Emerald Lake Park which boasts paddleboat and rowboat rides as well as Puffing Billy – the famous steam train of the Yarra Valley – Puffing Billy walking tracks model railway display Environment Centre free barbecue facilities wading pool for children a wading pool for them! It is an ideal spot to begin any hike and get acquainted with its forest, fern gullies and breathtaking mountain vistas before setting off along Cockatoo hiking track.

Once on the track, head towards Sky High Mase, Ridge Road and William Ricketts Sanctuary where William Ricketts Sanctuary lies before following William Ricketts Sanctuary up a steep section of the Dandenong Tourist Track to Olinda via Gear Avenue and York Road before joining Mt Evelyn Aqueduct Trail and climbing towards Monbulk.

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At the core of this new trail is its design philosophy – to provide a low impact, grassroots walking experience using public transport through villages for ease of entry/exit without increasing road congestion. Accessing this walk couldn’t be simpler thanks to metro train system and busses servicing each village along its route.

Day 4

The Dandenong Ranges have long been considered Melbourne’s ‘lungs’ due to their lush forests, deep gullies, and variety of tracks lining this 600m-high mountain range. Situated mere minutes away from Melbourne centre, these mountain peaks provide a mountain retreat right within reach. Explore towering forests in National Parks or cool-climate public gardens before trekking well-marked trails through this picturesque region.

The 1000 Steps trail is an idyllic scenic hike winding its way through the lush greenery of Dandenong Ranges, taking less than an hour to complete and ideal for those wanting a break from urban life. Not to mention seeing some breathtaking waterfalls such as Sherbrooke Falls and Olinda Falls!

Chandler Hill offers an additional challenge, as you climb to its summit and soak in panoramic views of outer Melbourne. However, this short but steep trek should start early in the day and is best completed using sturdy hiking shoes.

When embarking on the full Dandenong Ranges Trail, it’s advisable to choose accommodation close to the trail in order to complete it as quickly as possible. Starting in Belgrave and using Puffing Billy train travel from Gembrook, take your walk down into Wright Forest via Emerald Lake Park Tourist Track before staying the night in Monbulk – then visit Sherbrooke Forest Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden Olinda village before finishing in Sherbrooke Forest Sherbrooke Forest Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden Olinda village

As part of your trip to the Dandenong Ranges, we’ve put together a free multi-day hiking itinerary designed to get you to your destination efficiently and comfortably. Download it today!