- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential RT
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- This rail-side path follows an existing broad-gauge suburban line and a former narrow-gauge one
- At Belgrave it finishes metres from the start of the restored Puffing Billy service to Gembrook and points in between
- From Heathmont you’ll travel through a variety of industrial and residential areas
- If you get tired on this trip, it’s easy to catch the train back
- There are many other shared paths and a number of excellent parks in the area
- The Puffing Billy narrow-gauge tourist railway from Belgrave to Gembrook
- Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail is another rail-side shared path that shadows the Puffing Billy route from Climatas to Gembrook
- Kokoda Track Memorial Walk
- Mt Dandenong Scenic Lookout
- Alfred Nicholas Gardens
Last updated: 25 April 2023
This trail runs beside the Belgrave suburban line from Heathmont, with a few station carparks to navigate along the way. From Upper Ferntree Gully, it follows the route of the Puffing Billy narrow-gauge railway, which was replaced with a straighter, broad-gauge electrified service as far as Belgrave in 1962. Puffing Billy now operates from there to Gembrook.
There is a reasonable climb into the Dandenong Ranges, with short on-road sections near Upwey and Tecoma and a steep section approaching Belgrave.
- Heathmont: Lena Grove (take Bedford Rd from Ringwood station), or Heathmont station carpark
- Bayswater, Boronia, Ferntree Gully and Upper Ferntree Gully stations have the trail running near or through their carparks
- Belgrave: Blacksmiths Way, behind the shops, is the top of the trail. Parking can be difficult when Puffing Billy is operating. Try Alexanders Carpark in Reynolds Lane or Belgrave CFA carpark, Bayview Rd until the new 640-space station carpark is complete
Heathmont to Ferntree Gully (9km)
- From the end of Lena Grove, the newest section of this rail-side shared path carries Heathmont Rail Trail signage. After Heathmont station, at Canterbury Rd, it switches to the other side of the railway corridor for the first of several times.
- It’s then a pleasant run downhill to where the Heathmont Rail Trail section ends near the Maroondah Nets stadium. A crushed granite path gets you through the carpark to a short section of the Dandenong Creek Trail before you get back to the railway line, go under it and bear right onto the (un-signed) main part of the Heathmont to Belgrave Trail.
- Bayswater station is 4km away and has parking and toilets (for Myki users) and a wide, shared path that crosses over the trenched railway lines. Bayswater Park is a nice detour on the left before that bridge, with public toilets, picnic facilities and play equipment. At Scoresby Rd you need to cross at the lights to Power Rd, diagonally opposite. The excellent handiwork of an asphalt paving machine starts shortly afterwards.
- At Boronia and Ferntree Gully stations, little provision has been made for trail users, with carparks and narrow footpaths to negotiate. The trail switches sides again at the latter town via a level crossing and pedestrian crossing.
- Heathmont, Bayswater, Boronia and Ferntree Gully all have a wide range of shops and good facilities.
Ferntree Gully to Belgrave (7km)
- As you continue climbing, the surroundings become leafier, the path gets rougher and the Dandenong Ranges start to tower above you. There are several options to get through Upper Ferntree Gully, where Puffing Billy used to start its run to Gembrook. There’s a shared path up and along Railway Ave and School Rd to a pedestrian crossing on Mt Dandenong Rd. There’s also a narrow gravel track from Railway Ave along Burwood Hwy to the same crossing point, plus a council recommended route using the Ferny Creek Trail on the other side of the highway (see map)
- The climb to Belgrave, where signs call it the Belgrave Rail Trail, is not without its challenges, with on-road sections at Upwey (from Main St to Glenfern Rd) and Tecoma (from Campbell St to McNicol Rd), but beyond there you get to travel along a couple of the curved embankments that the suburban trains have bypassed, and enjoy the regenerated bush
- Approaching Belgrave there’s a nasty little climb up to Blacksmiths Way from where you can exit into the shopping centre. Watch for the restrooms built between two shops on the station side of the retail strip
- Belgrave has a wide range of shops, cafes and an astrologer!
You can continue to the Puffing Billy Railway Station by using the ramp to the Metro platform and walking through to the PBR
Can’t stand climbing? Make your “up” run on the Belgrave train before hitting the trail back down towards town.
Trail starts near Lena Grove, Heathmont 
Plinthed steam engine for the kids in Belgrave Park
Riding beside the railway at Bayswater 
Shared bridge over Forest Rd, Ferntree Gully, now has FRP grating surface 
Heading down from Ferntree Gully 
At Upper Fern Tree Gully the electric, broad-gauge trains finished (left side of station) and the narrow-gauge ones took over to Gembrook. A broad-gauge line to Belgrave was built in the early 1960s [Courtesy Puffing Billy Preservation Society]
Checking the view of Melbourne from Upper Ferntree Gully 
An old PBR embankment near Belgrave, now covered in ferns 
Blue strip leads visitors along Blacksmiths Way, Belgrave 
Information and Links
The section between Heathcote and the Dandenong Creek Trail is managed by Maroondah City Council. Ph: 1300 88 22 33
Knox City Council manages the section from the Dandenong Creek Trail to a point just past the railway bridge at the intersection of Burwood Hwy and Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd in Upper Ferntree Gully. Ph: (03) 9298 800
In Upwey and beyond it is managed by Yarra Ranges Council. Ph: 1300 368 333
Contact Rail Trails Australia
To contact us about this rail trail, email email@example.com
We acknowledge the Tableland Yidinji people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which this rail-side path was built.
Rail Line History
Opened in 1900, this narrow-gauge (2’6″) line ran between Gembrook and Upper Ferntree Gully, where it connected with regular broad-gauge trains, and the little steam locomotive soon became known as Puffing Billy. The line mainly carried passengers, timber and potatoes and although it was cheaper to build than a regular one but the cost of transferring goods to broad-gauge wagons meant it never made a profit.
A landslide at Selby in 1953 prompted the line’s closure. The Puffing Billy Preservation Society was formed and persuaded Victorian Railways to reopen the narrow-gauge line to Belgrave for a weekend tourist service.
During the standardisation and electrification of the line to Belgrave in the early ’60s, volunteers worked to restore the disused and overgrown narrow-gauge line beyond there. A diversion was created near Selby, and Puffing Billy reopened from Belgrave to Menzies Creek in 1962, Emerald in 1965, Emerald Lake (Lakeside) in 1975 and, finally, Gembrook in 1998.
Ringwood gets closer
The Ringwood-Belgrave Railway Trail in outer Melbourne will become more usable with plans to extend ...More...
8 reviews of “Heathmont to Belgrave Trail”
Thanks are due to City of Maroondah for fixing the wayfinding signs near the Maroondah Nets stadium.
At Upper Ferntree Gully the route along Railway Ave (asphalt) or next to Burwood Hwy (gravel) are the easiest to follow but the one on the shared path via Forest Oak Drive, Ferny Creek Trail, Rollings Rd and Talaska Rd is safer and lets you save energy for the climb to Belgrave. The official name now is Heathmont to Belgrave Trail.
I would not even call this a rail trail. It’s a collection of shared pathways that do not connect, being passed off as a rail trail. Signage is poor and there are too many intersections/roads/carparks to navigate to make this enjoyable. I won’t be riding it again. Make sure you have looked on the rail trail map beforehand or use a navigation device with a map, so you know exactly where to go.
Indeed, this is a rail-side trail, as the railway remains in daily operation. However the continuity of this trail from Ringwood is generally very good, except for one disappointing supermarket carpark in Boronia, a difficult connection at Upper Ferntree Gully, and a couple of road crossings at Upwey and Tecoma. As with all bike paths in Melbourne, signage is generally very poor. Be sure to let the local councils (trail managers) know of these failings.
11/27. Number 11 railtrail completed on my quest to ride everyone in Victoria this year. A short one and all downhill from Blegrave to Upper Fern Tree Gully, and then onto Bayswater. The section to UFTG is a little hard to follow at times when it suddenly vears off to run alongside Burwood Hwy, and there should be more signage in better places along here. But after negotiating the station car park at UFTG, it is easy to follow. I have ridden this section dozens of times, and it has much improved since the rail crossing works at Bayswater delivered an upgrade to the rail trail as well.
You can follow my other rail trail exploits on FB Warwick Duncan – The 2nd Chance Man or Insta @warwick_rides.
Had an enjoyable Saturday morning ride out to Belgrave from home in Blackburn North. Fantastic trail because of its easy linkages to the metropolitan path network. I’d argue that except for the fantastic part winding through the bush from Tecoma to Belgrave it’s not really a rail trail (where you follow the old gauge) more a track that flows alongside what is one of Melbourne’s busiest suburban train lines.
The major issues I have with the trail are the gaps where you have to find your way through intersections which are pretty busy and not helped by the major problem of a lack of signage to direct. I think with decent signage you could more easily forgive the gaps and it would also make drivers aware of cyclists too at some seriously busy intersections.
The positives though are Belgrave is a lovely place to get to and have a coffee or lunch before returning. The return is probably the most spectacular scenery in that you look back over Melbourne’s eastern suburbs all the way to the Bay – you are descending too which is a lovely reward for the steady uphill (and some really nasty pinches) that you achieved getting to Belgrave.
I rode this trail this afternoon (Sunday 1st March 2015) – this is a good rail trail in Melbourne, the surface is almost completely sealed the whole way, so any bicycle will be able to ride it – and I saw a number of riders on road bikes that appeared to have no problems. I found there were two major issues with this trail – firstly at Upper Ferntree Gully the track crossing Burwood highway and going under the rail bridge is very poor quality – to be honest, I believe it is better to cross to the other side of Burwood highway at the station and ride up the service lane. The second problem is you need to transverse through both Boronia and Ferntree Gully stations’ carparks. Drivers are not on the lookout for riders – so be careful (especially at Boronia Junction). The section between Upwey and Belgrave has some steep climbs up small hills – which can be. All in all, a very good trail.
This a great little trail for railway history buffs. Near Tecoma you get to ride or walk on the original narrow gauge embankments which were bypassed when the line was rebuilt in broad gauge.