10 Things To Do In The Dandenong Ranges
Looking for things to do in the Dandenong Ranges? Whether you are looking to eat, play, or relax and enjoy the nature, we have you covered with some of the best Dandenong Ranges attractions including lots of family friendly things to do with kids.
Best Things to do in the Dandenong Ranges
A popular national park located just 35km east of Melbourne, is the stunning Dandenong Ranges, a series of mountains with the highlight being Mount Dandenong that towers 633 metres high. This beautiful backdrop sets the scene for our list of Dandenong Ranges attractions which includes activities for all ages including families with kids.
From wildlife trails to dining with a difference, there are so many things to do in the Dandenong Ranges that everyone will leave happy and longing to return.
1. Puffing Billy Steam Train
Choof choof! Climb aboard Victoria’s favourite steam train, Puffing Billy where you can enjoy a ride through the stunning Dandenong Ranges. This is easily the most well known thing to do in the Dandenong Ranges with kids and makes a great day trip from Melbourne.
Starting at the iconic Belgrave station heading to Emerald Lake, Puffing Billy rides over the bridge, passing Menzies Creek, and into the pristine forests of the Dandenong Ranges. Pack lunch and have a picnic with a view. Take a walk around the lake or let the kids run around while you relax. During the Summer time you can head out on the water boats, or even swim in the pool by the lake.
Puffing Billy has been one of the best Dandenong Ranges attractions for years and is always a highlight for anyone who visits. With lots of accommodation options nearby, you can also stay to explore more of what there is to offer.
2. Explore the Sherbrooke Forest
One of the best things to do in the Dandenong Ranges for any traveller is to explore the Sherbrooke forest which is the perfect habitat for the abundance of native animals and birds you can spot in the area.
There are plenty of walks and hikes for all ages and fitness levels, including a stunning track to Sherbrooke Falls and the gorgeous Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens.
Admire the fern gullies, and the tall trees including world’s tallest flowering tree, the Mountain Ash. Take a picnic and head to Grants Picnic Ground which has plenty of facilities including BBQ’s, tables, and toilets.
3. Admire the Tesselaar Flower Fields
One of the greatest flower shows you will see happens in the Dandenong Ranges every year. The Tesselaar KaBloom, Festival of Flowers is a showcase of colour, beauty and excitement, and is the perfect day out.
Held on Tesselaar’s flower farm in Melbourne’s stunning Dandenong Ranges, the KaBloom Flower Festival is where arts and flowers collide. See the world’s first KaBloom circus spectacular with artists amongst the marigolds, acrobats in the snapdragons and performing jugglers in the petunias.
The KaBloom Festival of Flowers is great for families too and one of the best things to do in the Dandenong Ranges with kids.
4. Explore the Treetops at Trees Adventure – Glen Harrow Park
For the adventurous, enjoy an adrenaline-filled afternoon at Victoria’s first tree ropes course and eco-adventure park. Situated in Belgrave just 5 minutes’ walk from the station, is the heritage garden known as “Glen Harrow Gardens” which is home to Trees Adventure – one of the most exciting things to do in the Dandenong Ranges.
Alongside some rare trees including an Algerian Oak which is over 150 years old are an enormous 60 metres high Sequoia and two Chinquapin (the only known Japanese oaks in Victoria.) However, you are not here to admire the trees but instead explore them via 80 aerial challenges including 15 flying foxes.
The courses are colour coded depending on ability so whether you’re 5 years old, or 75 years old Trees Adventure offers the opportunity to balance over bridges, fly over treetops and wrestle through nets in this unforgettable eco-adventure. Each course takes around 2 hours to complete as well as a 30-minute safety briefing beforehand.
For the less adventurous, relax in the on-site café with a coffee as you watch your friends and family embrace one of the most memorable things to do in the Dandenong Ranges. Prices and opening times vary but prior booking is essential to ensure your place on this unique experience.
5. Visit the Sky High Maze & Have a Coffee in the Clouds, Mount Dandenong
One of the most popular things to do in the Dandenong Ranges for the whole family is to enjoy the incredible views is a visit to SkyHigh for a coffee in the clouds and then a visit to the SkyHigh maze.
Thanks to its location perched on top of Mount Dandenong (the highest point in the region) SkyHigh offers an unforgettable dining experience. Their award-winning Bistro caters for breakfast, lunch and dinner so whether you’re after a quick lunch with a view or day out, it’s a stop not to be missed.
Make sure you explore the stunning landscaped gardens and be sure to take the kids to see the popular SkyHigh Maze. Then enjoy the forest walk under the towering eucalyptus before relaxing on the Giant’s Chair.
6. Spot A Platypus at Birdsland Reserve
As you head between Belgrave and Lysterfield Lake Park to the Southern area of the Dandenong Ranges you will come across Birdsland Reserve, a 75-hectare bushland flourishing with wildlife. The reserve is open from 7:30 am every day and offers the perfect picnic spot as well as walking tracks throughout.
The highlight of Birdsland Reserve, however, is the resident platypus who are renowned to frequent the area. Of the 75 hectares, 28 hectares are occupied by the basin area which hosts two placid lakes. Although there are numerous bushlands walks in this area, the best way to spot a platypus (and most family-friendly option) is if you explore the Birdsland Reserve Loop which is a relatively flat 2.6km track that takes you past the lake.
Note, they are only the size of your forearm so are quite hard to spot due to their small size. Kangaroos on the other hand are much easier to spot and are also very common on the Birdland Reserve Loop.
7. Cook Up Your Catch Of The Day At Australian Rainbow Trout Farm
For a truly unique experience, the Rainbow Trout Farm offers fun for all ages allowing the thrill of fishing without the hassle. Situated in Macclesfield Victoria, it is one of the most popular things to do in the Dandenong Ranges as it not only offers fishing enthusiasts to catch rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon but also gas BBQs to cook up your fresh catch straight away!
For those not a fan of fishing, there is also mini-golf, picnic areas, a playground and shaded areas to relax. The farm is open daily and you can see their opening times and prices on the website.
8. Enjoy Bavarian Food & Fun At Cuckoo Restaurant
Looking for a meal to remember? Since 1958 the Bavarian-themed Cuckoo Restaurant has proved popular with visitors young and old thanks to its international smorgasbord and unforgettable entertainment.
The welcoming, family-friendly restaurant which replicates a Bavarian chalet can seat up to 400 guests and has welcomed diners from around the world for over 60 years. Staff adorned in traditional costume will entertain through dance, song and even yodelling alongside serving up a tempting range of cakes, pastries and meals from first-class chefs.
Whether you only have time for a traditional Kaffee Und Kuchen (coffee and cake) or an entire Bavarian buffet – your visit to Cuckoo restaurant will undoubtedly be a highlight from your time in the Dandenongs.
9. Witness Mother Earth & Mankind Collide at William Ricketts Sanctuary
Looking for less adrenaline-fuelled things to do in the Dandenong Ranges? The William Ricketts Sanctuary is one of the most tranquil and serene spots in the region. As you head along the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, the sanctuary is somewhat of a hidden gem as its snuggled amongst a dense inlet.
William Ricketts created the sanctuary in the 1930s as a place for reflection in the belief that all Australians should adopt Aboriginal philosophies such as respecting Mother Earth and being mindful of nature. His works reflect the relationship of mankind and mother nature with over 90 different sculptures depicting people engaging with Earth.
As paths wind through the sanctuary you will spot rock carvings and tree trunks turned sculptures which reflect these philosophies and the connection of humans with nature. Entry to the sanctuary is free, but the memories and inspiration you will find here are priceless.
10. Embrace the Arts at Burrinja Cultural Centre
Whether you’re after things to do in the Dandenong Ranges when it’s raining or you’re simply not the outdoorsy type, immerse yourself in the vibrant community cultural centre of Burrinja. Set in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges it showcases gallery spaces, art activities, workshops, a café and even a 400 seat theatre which hosts events and live music.
Keep an eye on their events page which is regularly updated with classes, gigs and activities suitable for all ages.
Things to do in the Dandenong Ranges
Hopefully, this guide of things to do in the Dandenong Ranges has inspired a weekend of adventures or simply a day trip to remember. With so many Dandenong Ranges attractions the entire family will leave with unbeatable memories of their time exploring the mountains.