Dandenong Rages Highlights to see and do
Combine the Lookouts with the Orlinda Falls and walk the Mechanics Track between the falls and Sky High. From Olinda Falls is it a 4 km hike to Burkes Lookout, or start from Sky High and walk to the falls ~5 km roundtrip. I loved the Mechanics trail and it is pretty adventurous. It follows through deep Fern trees along a creek, on wet weather does it get pretty muddy.
If you are up for some action, hike the 3,5 km long Glasgow Trk, it is directly to reach coming from Croydon via Glasgow Road. You park on the right side and walk up the paved road. The track is not marked as Glasgow Trk, at the end of the paved road you keep going straight through the gate on to a track which looks like a river bed. On wet days does water flow down the trail.
The track is well know by the locals as exercising trail for running and hiking. Many walk up and finish at Burkes Lookout and get back down the same way. If you sporty do it twice.
The trail is pretty steep and very rocky, on wet weather is it very slippery and you should walk with care and good shoes. Itis a serious physical walk suitable only for fit walkers.
The walk up takes you depending on your fitness minimum 40-60 min.
This trail is for sure my favorite, you get a great exercises in fresh air, nature and a great rewarding view at the end. If you time your walk right you can enjoy a beautiful sunset at the look out. From here it’s a 30 min walk to the sky high restaurant.
Walk the 1000 Steps / Kokoda Memorial Trail
The 1000 steps are located in Upper Ferntree Gully and easy to reach by train (Belgrave Lane).
From the Ferntree Gully picnic ground and car park you see some history facts and a memorial statue which remands of the fallen solders on the Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea in World War 2. The 1000 steps are well known by the locals for exercising and is truly a tourist spot. It gets pretty busy after work hours and on weekends. The climb gives you a little sense of the exhaustion felt by the solders.
You start on that trail slightly uphill and reach minutes later the steps. The walk (climb) is about 2,8 km long and takes you up to an hour to get to “One Tree Hill” at the top of the walk.
On busy times it is not recommended to “run”, the crowd slows you down anyway. Sure, you still can walk a sporty pace. Make sure you bring your water bottle with you, especially on hot days. When you finish the steps up the hill you can choose walk down the steps again or use the side track “Lyrebird trk” which has some build steps as well. I walked up stairs and run down the other way, because the trails have different affects to our body.
In Upper Ferntree Gully is a good Tourist office right next to the Train station (blue building). In there you get all information you need for the Dandenong Ranges, Yarra Valley and the official park maps.
It is worth it checking it out if you stay longer in this area to get the best out of your visit.
I definitely recommend getting the free Smartphone APP PDF Maps >>(Link to Post). With that app you download the Area pdf map you want, for example the Dandenongs Nat. Park. This App shows all official Park infos, highlights, streets and trails.
The Puffing Billy Railway was opened in the early 1900s and operated between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook until 1953. A part of the line reopened 1963. Until 1998 were more sections reopened by the Puffing Billy Reservation Society. The Steam trains are today operated by volunteers only and drives daily between Belgrave over Lakeside to Gembrook.
A good spot to get off is “Lakeside” it is a little Park with a lake and some walking tracks.
It is very popular to enjoy the 1 hour ride to Lakeside, relax there for couple hours, have a pick-nick and get back on the train in the afternoon. The train runs four to six times a day depending on the day and season. The Puffing Billy can get really busy during weekends and holidays, make sure you book your ticket ahead online or at the ticket counter in Belgrave.
Return ticket Lakeside – Adult 52AU$, Child 27AU$, concession card holders 41AU$.
I stayed in the greater Melbourne for a while and the Dandenongs became my favorite Park for short hikes and for a quick getaway to relax. It is easy to reach and if you look for a hilly adventure you should definitely check it out.
Here is the link to Parks Victoria website for further information.