The Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track is 15 kms each way from Emerald to Sassafras, and takes about 5 hours to walk.
Follow in the footsteps of early excursionists
Edwardian excursionists left the city in their thousands seeking respite and recreation in the 'delicious coolness of the bush-clad hills'. Travelling by train, bicycle or private car, day trippers or holiday makers came to the hills, known as Melbourne's playground, to walk the network of tourist tracks blazed for them through lush fern gullies and dense forests.
An undulating walk that is not too difficult, though moderate fitness is required if walking the entire route. It's possible to start the walk at various places, read the complete walk notes on Explore The Dandenongs.
Fabulous! A really good, long, hike that is easily accessed by public transport from Melbourne. It can seem confusing working out how to access the Dandenongs if you do not have a car, but our trains and buses provide good links into the hills. Timetables need to be checked carefully though as some bus routes do not operate on Sundays.
Both options below use the Belgrave Train line, the walk can be started at either end.
Take a train to Upper Fertree Gully station, then a bus to Sassafras.
Take a train to Belgrave Station, then a bus to Emerald or hop aboard the famous 'Puffing Billy' Steam Train to Emerald.
Walking the Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track is such a wonderful hike, so close to Melbourne, yet many people have not heard of it. Despite being 15 km's each way, it is a reasonably gentle walk that does not involve really steep hills (unlike the 20km walk from Mt Dandenong to Upper Ferntree Gully).
From Emerald, it is a couple of kms to walk to the beginning of the track at Telopea Steps, Emerald Taxis service could be used as an option so you can get onto the trail and exploring a bit sooner.
The track passes Monbulk and Kallista, it is easy to divert into the villages if you want to have some lunch or a snack. Otherwise, walkers are treated to pretty tracks the whole way, passing over a number of road junctions and great picnic areas.
Hiking with Kids
This is not a walk for little kids, unless tackled in sections perhaps. Older children should be able to complete the walk, it depends on their enthusiasm and if they are used to longer bush walks.
This must be one of the longest hikes close to the city where dogs on-lead can go too.
Though it could be done with a pram made for rough trails, but is not advised as the track is narrow in places and can get muddy as well as having protruding tree roots in places.
Are you keen for a spectacular bushwalk through the Dandenong Ranges?
Over 200kms of trails meander throughout the Dandenongs, starting from less than 1km up to the big hike of 20kms. Any of the walks detailed on the Explore The Dandenongs website can be extended as they all join other tracks along the way.
Stay Overnight in the Dandenongs
Do consider staying overnight in the Dandenong Ranges, we have so many accommodation options.
Carry a back pack and make it an overnight hiking trip using public transport, staying at a local Bed and Breakfast then continuing on another trail the next day or self drive.