Dandenong Ranges National Park Guide | Everything You Need To Know

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If you’re sick and tired hearing the overwhelming noise of the city nor smelling its polluted atmosphere, and just want to feel the fresh air breeze, Dandenong Ranges National Park is the perfect place to do that. The picture-perfect hilltop, tranquil rainforest and diverse wildlife that can be seen in this park will stun you! So, what are the things that make this place distinctive than the others?

Dandenong Ranges National Park is a fantastic place located on Melbourne’s doorstep that’s ideal for a quick and relaxing getaway. The aboriginal cultural landscape of the park will help you to reconnect with nature. The stunning view across Melbourne, waterfalls, and the calm temperate of the rainforest will surely satisfy you. 

Here is an overview of the campgrounds in Dandenong Ranges National Park:

  • Beenak School Site Campground 
  • Feiglin Campground
  • Freemans Mill Camp
  • Gillwell Park
  • Kurth Kiln Campgrounds – Scout Loop Track, Magazine Track and Heritage Fence Camping Area
  • Latrobe River Campground
  • Longridge Park
  • Mt Evelyn Recreation Camp
  • Nash Creek Campground
  • Starlings Gap Campground
  • Two Hills Campground
  • Upper Yarra Reservoir Park
  • Wantirna Park Caravan Park

Are you interested in trying the beautiful features of Dandenong Ranges National Park? Read the full article and discover more!

How Do I Get To Dandenong Ranges National Park?

Bound to Dandenong Ranges National Park, you can choose from three different routes that are most convenient for you, so consider bringing extra money for your toll fees. 

Via M1 and State Route 22 (39-minute drive)

  • Get on Citylink/M1 in Southbank from Queen St, Flinders St/State Route 30 and Kings Way/State Route 60
  • Follow M1 to Ferntree Gully Rd/State Route 22 in Glen Waverley. Take exit 11 from M1
  • Follow State Route 22 to your destination in Tremont

Via M3 (40-minute drive)

  • Get on Eastern Fwy/M3 in Clifton Hill from Collins St, Victoria Parade/State Route 32 and Hoddle St/State Route 29
  • Follow M3 to Burwood Hwy/State Route 26 in Wantirna. Take the State Rte 26/Burwood Hwy exit from M3
  • Follow Burwood Hwy/State Route 26 to your destination in Tremont

Via M1 and Burwood Hwy/State Route 26 (42-minute drive)

  • Take Queen St to Flinders St/State Route 30
  • Take M1 and Burwood Hwy/State Route 26 to School Rd in Tremont
  • Turn left onto School Rd, Turn right, then your destination will be on the left

What Should I Know About Dandenong Ranges National Park?

Dandenong Ranges is a set of low mountain ranges with 633 metres high that situated 35 kilometres east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. More than 300 million years ago, a great volcano erupted, and lava flows down throughout the portion near the town of Olinda. The first massive lava flow range of north, the second lava splashed through Ferntree Gully which is now the base of the ranges that can be seen at Melbourne, the third lava is thinner than the first and second.

The third lava was so thin, and it made the base between the first two flows. Lastly, the fourth final lava was so thick and filled with volcanic ashes that spread far that reached Emerald. Centuries later, these rocks became rich soils that made the rainforest it is today.

Wurundjeri people were the first people who occupied this land before the British colonization, so they used it as a hunting ground to collect food. These people are the native people of the Australian nation. Melbourne truly pays respect for their ancestors because they are the true ruler of these lands. 

Harvesting of timber was the main source of income for Melbourne and continued until the late 1960s. It also provides lands for horticultural productions because of the rich volcanic soil. In 1956, television came to Melbourne and the transmitting mast wast built at the top of Mt Dandenong. 

Throughout the years, Dandenong was home to many artists and became one of the most famous parks in Australia. It is known for a place with a great pack of adventure and nature, and perfect for day trips, weekend, and romantic getaways. The crystal streams, the cool rainforest will amuse you.

The local species of wildlife in Australia can be seen in Dandenong Ranges such as wombat, swamp wallaby, Lyrebird, Phalangeriformes, platypus and deer. There are also birdwatching in this area that is perfect for the bird enthusiast. There is so much to do in Dandenong, so you will enjoy visiting this place.

How Are the Campgrounds at Dandenong Ranges National Park?

Here are some of the campgrounds in Dandenong Ranges National Park:

Beenak School Site Campground

Beenak School Site Campground is a free campground and accessible from Tims Corner on the Gembrook-Launching Place Road. Suitable for tents and caravans. There is a small number of campsites here, no toilets yet water is available. 

Feiglin Campground

Feiglin Campground is also a free campsite and suitable for tents only. Located at Maroondah Highway at St Fillans (9k SW of Marysville, 25k N of Healesville). It is Well shaded, no toilets and has two campsites.  There are fishing spots near this campsite that you might want to check out.

Freemans Mill Camp

Freemans Mill Camp is a picnic and camping area in one. It is a free campsite that has ten spots and has great facilities such as benches and barbecue. It also has a long drop or composting toilets available and accessible by a regular 2WD. 

Gilwell Park

Gilwell Park is situated in Gembrook-Launching Place Road and suitable for pitching tents. Cabins are available that has great facilities such as potable water, toilet, and kitchen. It can also house a large group of scout campers. 

Kurth Kiln Campgrounds

Kurth Kiln Campgrounds is a famous park inside Dandenong ranges that has scout loop track, magazine track and heritage fence camping area. Most suitable for tents and has circuit walks that’s best for exploring the entire camp. There is horse riding, walking and cycling tracks that you will enjoy. 

Latrobe River Campground

Latrobe River Campground is a gorgeous camping area with a picnic site with good facilities like drop toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, and designated campsites. However, there is no water here so you must always clean the site before you leave and take all the rubbish home. 

Longridge Park

Longridge Park is a peaceful campsite which is situated on Alexander Road and best for caravans, or camper trailers. This area can accommodate up to 40 people, has great facilities and a well-equipped campground with barbecue, picnic tables, drinking water, dishwashing area, showers and toilets. You can also try to swim on the River nearby or even catch fish.

Mt Evelyn Recreation Camp 

Mt Evelyn Recreation Camp has a distinct natural setting, so it is the best camp for tents and caravans. It is located at Tramway Road, Mount Evelyn. It is surrounded by native forest, a range of recreational activities and best wildlife experience.

Nash Creek Campground

Nash Creek Campground is the most nice-looking green secluded campground that is situated at the north of the Princes Freeway at the Gourmet Deli Trail. There are six different sites in the area and has a long drop or composting toilet. It also has picnic tables and is accessible in caravans.

Starlings Gap Campground

Starlings Gap Campground is a well-grassed field and beautifully shaded area. Perfect for your tent and caravans. There are long drop or composting toilets, wood barbecues, picnic tables and easily accessible by 2WD.

Two Hills Campground

Two Hills Campground is the popular camp for trail bikers and has well-shaded areas. There are free five campsites with no toilets. It is dusty and gravelled, so a 4WD vehicle has the best access to it.

Upper Yarra Reservoir Park

Upper Yarra Reservoir Park is a well-maintained campground and surrounded by beautiful forested hills located at Upper Yarra Region. It has great facilities like a large hall, kitchen, electric barbecues, and laundry. The perfect size for a large group of campers.

Wantirna Park Caravan Park

Wantirna Park Caravan Park is perfect for tents or caravans and located at Mountain Highway in Wantirna. It has a decent camp kitchen, barbecues and gas stoves.  

If you want to know more about the campgrounds in the park, you can visit their website.

Where Can I Take A Bushwalk in Dandenong Ranges National Park?

Easy Walks

  • Grants Picnic Ground. It is a 7-kilometre trail that can be completed in 20 minutes. A great way to unwind and exercise. Here you can have a great wildlife experience because its ecosystem is rich with wallabies, echidnas, wombats, rare orchids, and ancient free ferns that you see around the area. 
  • Sherbrooke Falls Walk is an easy 2.4-kilometre walk (return) which can be completed in 45 minutes. The path is established with gravel, so it is a bit uneven. This path will take you to the famous Sherbrooke Falls that will calm you down after taking a moderate walk.
  • Belgrave to Grants Picnic Ground is a 2.5-Kilometre circuit walk and takes 20-45 minutes to complete. It is wheelchair-friendly and has solid tracks. 
  • Living Bush Nature Walk is an easy 3-Kilometre short circuit that has 90-minutes duration. The soft tree ferns are seen as you go through this track and other wildlife in the area.
  • Olinda Creek Walking Track is a 5.6-kilometre one-way track with a cool temperature that will surely refresh you while taking this walk. 
  • Mathias Track is an easy child-friendly walk. It has 3.37 kilometre each way of the track. Perfect for dog owners and mountain bikers.
  • Hardy Gully Nature Trail is cool rainforest and perfect for a bushwalk. The easiest walk in all of the trails in Dandenong Ranges.
  • Burkes Lookout, Mt Dandenong. Is a 1-kilometre walk yet popular place in Dandenong and has one of the most scenic views of Melbourne. 

Moderate Hikes

  • The infamous 1000 steps. Also known as the Kokoda Memorial Track. This 4.3-kilometre moderate steep circuit walk is surrounded by lush forest and devoted to Australian Soldiers. Approximately, this track can be completed by 40 minutes.
  • Keppel Lookout Trail is an 11-kilometre steep track and has a 3-4 hour duration. Hike here, and you’ll see magnificent view cross Marysville, the Cathedral Range State Park and Steavenson Fall from Keppel Lookout, plus views from the top and base of Steavenson Falls.
  • Cumberland Walk is a short but breathtaking 2-hour walk and has a steep path that will surely boost your adrenalin. This track will also lead you to two waterfalls in the Yarra Ranges National Park: Cora Lynn Falls and Cumberland Falls.
  • Keppel Falls Walk is a 2-kilometre trail that takes 45 minutes of the trek. The path is steep and inclined, yet the magnificent views of Yarra Ranges from here will stun you. You can visit the falls in this area which also you can have your family picnic.
  • Phantom Falls is a moderate 1.6-kilometre walk with a wide path. Approximately, 25 minutes to finish, and waterfalls from Yarra Ranges are seen here.

Hard Hikes

  • Mt Dandenong Hiking Trail from Ferntree Gully is a 20-kilometre hard walk and 6-8 hours to complete. This trail has one of the hardest and steepest paths yet so many trekkers dare to take.
  • Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track is a 17-kilometre track is a moderate to hard track that is perfect for thrill walks inside Dandenong Ranges. Make sure to bring all of your trekking essentials while taking this trail and trekking boots are required because of the steepness of the path.
  • Mountain Circuit walk is a 16-kilometre hard hike and approximately 4.5 hours to complete. This hard trail will lead you to a magnificent scenery that will surely amuse you.

What Are The Other Things That I Can Do At Dandenong Ranges National Park?

If you’re visiting Dandenong Ranges National Park, you should:

  • Visit the magnificent and cool botanic gardens of Dandenong Ranges 
  • Get in your 4WD and visit the Panoramic views of the Ranges
  • Visit the famous 1000 steps
  • Visit the Sky High Bistro
  • Have meals at Cuckoo Restaurant
  • Picnicking & Barbecue at Sherbrooke Falls
  • Visit the William Ricketts Sanctuary
  • Visit Olinda Falls
  • Try The Devil’s Elbow
  • Camp at Lysterfield Park
  • Try the Trees Adventure
  • Visit the Cardinia Reservoir
  • National Rhododendron Gardens
  • Take a great walk at Sherbrooke Forest
  • Visit the community sport and recreation facilities of Ferntree Gully Quarry Reserve
  • Visit the Burrinja Cultural Center
  •  Go to Cloudehill Garden
  • Visit Emerald Lake
  • Take Photographs. 
  • Star Gazing

What Is The Best Time To Visit Dandenong Ranges National Park?

The best time to visit Dandenong varies in so many weather conditions, but typically, it is from November 5th to April 1st because the area is pleasant at these times. But if you want to visit Dandenong in its hottest months, January, February, and March are the hottest months. However, always be careful and if possible, bring your 4WD to make the most out of these beautiful and extraordinary mountain ranges. 

What Do Other Tourists Say About Dandenong Ranges National Park?

“Tranquil forest walks, quaint hilltop towns and charismatic animals such as lyrebirds and wallabies.” This citation is from the Dandenong Ranges National Park website, without a glitch, it says all that things that need to be said of this unique and most treasured natural attraction, located so close to the city of Melbourne. It is well-deserved for its Certificate of Excellence.The Park is not to be missed by anyone, especially if you are a nature enthusiast, beautiful scenery and keen on outdoor activities. You will be motivated to take the odd hike or three and to find out all there is to know about its history and its plant and animal life. The well set out website is beneficial for planning your day or two, or more, up in the Ranges. The photos there clearly show the beauty of the place.” -111bert (TripAdvisor)

Related Questions

How Far Is Dandenong Ranges from Melbourne?

35 km. But the road distance of Dandenong from Melbourne is 45 Kilometres. There are different ways to get to the Dandenong such as train, town cars and 4wd. But, it is suggested to bring your 4WD with you so you can make the most out of the Dandenong so that you can access, explore, and wander the beautiful ranges of Dandenong.

Was Mt Dandenong A Volcano?

No, but it was produced by a Volcano. The process is associated with a large scale of earth’s crust or tectonic plates. After centuries of weathering, Dandenong elevates and usually gets snow twice a year. 

Are Dogs Allowed in Dandenong Ranges?

Unfortunately, Dogs are not allowed in Dandenong Ranges National Park. However, some trails are dog-friendly, so you can take your dogs for a walk. But you must always take care of your dogs and keep their rubbish with you.

How Do I Get To Dandenong Ranges By Public Transport?

You can easily take the direct route to Dandenong Ranges via Train to Upper Ferntree Gully station, then catch a connecting bus bound to the hills or go a little further on the train to Belgrave where buses are linked. It is also easy to walk directly into the forest from Belgrave or Upper Ferntree Gully.

How High Are Dandenong Ranges?

633 metres of elevation. The Dandenong ranges are set of a low range of mountains located 35 kilometres away from Melbourne, Australia. The best and perfect getaway place for your family and friends. If you like exploring nature, this place is for you! The wide range of wildlife species is seen here. There are kid-friendly, wheelchair-friendly and hard trails available here. You can also try the infamous 1000 steps!

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