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Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail

Victoria - Melbourne region

3 based on 2 reviews
Location: Clematis to Gembrook
Length: 15 km
Surface: Coarse gravel, Compacted earth, Sealed
Start / End: Paradise Hotel, Clematis to Gembrook Station
Public Transport: Bus
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • WalkingWalking

Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • The EDRT is a challenging ~15km walk or cycle beside the Puffing Billy steam railway in the Dandenong Ranges.
  • The trail extends from Clematis through Emerald and Cockatoo to Gembrook.
  • The terrain varies from undulating to hilly on different surfaces (sealed, gravel, dirt) so it is most suitable for hybrid and MTB bikes.
  • The scenery is spectacular, changing regularly along the trail with outstanding forests & lake, farmland and villages.

Nearby Attractions

  • The lovely country villages of Emerald, Cockatoo and Gembrook have full facilities available.
  • Emerald Lake, Wright Forest and mountain farms are highlights along the way

Last updated: 11 May 2022

  • This trail follows the Puffing Billy steam railway through the Dandenong Ranges from Clematis/Emerald to Gembrook
  • Whilst only 15km long, this trail offers a full range of experiences for users – hills, forests, farms, rural villages, picnic facilities, heritage railway.
  • It does not follow the railway in some locations and has steeper gradients.

Section Guides

Access Points
* Car Park of Paradise Valley Hotel in Clematis
* Ample on-street parking in Emerald, Cockatoo and Gembrook
* Car Park at Emerald Lake Park (fees applicable)
* Many other parking & access points along the trail

Clematis to Emerald (3km):
* Unofficial start of the trail is at the Paradise Valley Hotel in Clematis
* Trail originates eastern end of the car park
* Pass along a short section of trail before crossing both the railway and Edenmont Road
* Trail follows on the north side of the railway up Emerald Bank (if you’re lucky, you’ll see Puffing Billy working very hard up this climb) and across Pinnocks Road & the railway.
* Trail is interrupted at Belgrave-Gembrook Road – travellers can cross the road to enter Emerald Station Park (south side of railway) or use the road, turn right at the roundabout (Kilvington Drive) to enter the main street of Emerald.
* Note the many shops & eateries including the famous Emerald Village Bakery
* Official start of trail is on Kilvington Drive at the Gemco Theatre, at the far end of Emerald Station Park (on north side of railway).

Emerald to Emerald Lake (3km):
* Follow the blue signs with yellow arrows along the trail
* After a short distance, cross into Pepi’s Land on the south side of railway
* At Beaconsfield-Emerald Road, cross the railway (again) and road, taking care as it can be very busy.
* Follow the trail past the Emerald museum and down to the Nobelius Packing Shed (previously used for flower distribution but now the home of Puffing Billy’s night train dining experience)
* On entry to Emerald Lake Park, the recommended trail is to the left, down a steep zig-zag section and turn right at the T-junction.
* Follow this trail into the western car park of Emerald Lake reserve.
* Continue along the northern bank of Emerald Lake until arrival at the road intersection (Wombat Corner).

Emerald Lake to Cockatoo (5km):
* From Wombat Corner, pass beside the gate onto a beautiful, fern-lined trail that follows Wattle Creek, before crossing a sweeping bridge to arrive at Wright Road.
* Cross Wright Road and follow the trail to the right until the railway is crossed again, this time at the restored Wright Station.
* Pass through the gates to the left and follow the management road, Wright Track, into the Wright Forest
* Stay on Wright Track until a gate – turn left onto Boundary Track before the gate and follow it, past another couple of gates, down the steep incline to Baker Street.
* Turn left at Baker Street, down another steep incline to cross the bridge over Cockatoo Creek.
* Continue on the trail to Cockatoo, arriving at the Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre, after crossing Bailey Road
* Continue on the trail along Bailey Road, across Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road and the railway to enter the Cockatoo shopping precinct.

Cockatoo to Gembrook (6km):
* The trail continues along Fairbridge Lane, past the new IGA supermarket, to join the main road, Belgrave-Gembrook Road.
* The trail passes through Cockatoo beside Belgrave-Gembrook Road, past the Cockatoo Primary School and into Old Gembrook Road.
* Continue along the trail until Doonaha Road where the trail meets the railway again, at the restored station, Fielder.
* Cross the often-busy Belgrave-Gembrook Road with care and continue on the trail beside Fielder Road.
* Another crossing of B-G Road is needed at the Mapleridge Local Produce Centre (small market of local produce).
* The trail now follows the Puffing Billy Railway all the way to Gembrook.
* Continue on the trail from Mapleridge with spectacular views over the rich farming country in all directions
* At the top of the hill, just after the crossing at Orchard Road, is the Gembrook Sports Ground and the final trail crossing of railway.
* Continue on the trail and again cross B-G Road at the Gembrook outskirts
* Follow the trail along the southern side of the railway along Station Road where the trail ends at Main Street, Gembrook.
* Note the Eastern terminus of the Puffing Billy Railway, Gembrook Station, on the left of the trail.
* Unfortunately, the Gembrook Hotel burned down recently, but there are many shops & cafes available in Gembrook, all on the main street.

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2 reviews of “Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail”

We rode the trail again today – what a fun experience. It is in the hills, not the valleys, so the expected climbs and descents are always a challenge.
I noticed that COG, of Warburton Trail fame, has opened up a hire store at Lakeside station – brilliant. And they're smart enough to hire eBikes to smooth out the terrain for those uninitiated.
Signage could be better. Gates through Wright forest need to go! Lovely feed in Gembrook at either Spencer's Cafe of the Hairy Dog. All good!

I rode Emerald to Cockatoo and back on Sunday. It is rough in some parts so only MTB, hybrids or gravel bikes. It is quite steep in sections and being unfit I had to walk a few times on the way back to Emerald, but I was not in a rush.
Signage is poor going through Emerald Lake park and I got lost a couple of times, but it is such a pretty place I actually think that was a bonus.
Seeing the Puffing Billy going past is always a delight.


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