The Dandenong Ranges and Knox Tourism Information Centre is located at 1211 Burwood Highway at Upper Ferntree Gully, tel: (03) 9758 7522.
Dandenong Ranges National Park
Dandenong Ranges National Park (3215 ha) is a very attractive and popular attraction which beckons Melburnians who can gaze upon its western slopes on a clear day. It offers opportunities for walking, sightseeing, picnicking, nature observation and car touring. More than 350 plant species have been recorded, along with 130 bird species, 31 species of mammals (most are nocturnal), 21 reptile species and nine amphibian species.
The Park is divided into five sections. The south-western section, covering 450 ha, is known as Ferntree Gully which was named after an 1860 painting of the local forest. It is noted for its walking tracks, its views of Melbourne, its ferneries, eucalypt forests, picnic areas, birdlife (including lyrebirds, crimson rosellas and eastern whipbirds), mammals (including wallabies, bandicoots, echidnas and possums) and its flora, including 47 species of native orchids, native grasses, eucalypts and shrubs such as bush pea and austral indigo.
To access the Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground turn off the Burwood Highway onto Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd and take the first left. It has parking, toilets with disabled access, drinking water, picnic tables and shelters, electric barbecues, a ranger's office, information boards, a playground and walking tracks. The Living Bush Nature Walk (3 km) is denoted by markers and information sheets describe the plants along the walk. The Ferntree Gully Track (5 km return) follows steep, winding paths northwards through ferneries, blackwoods and manna gums and up the Thousand Steps to the top of the range at One Tree Hill Picnic Ground, offering excellent views.
To access One Tree Hill Picnic Ground by car continue north along the Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd and turn left either into Churchill Drive (at Tremont) or, further north again, into One Tree Hill Rd. Both lead to the picnic area which has parking, toilets, water, wood barbecues (no wood is provided), picnic tables and shelters.
From One Tree Hill Picnic Ground you can take either the Ferntree Gully Track south to the Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground, or the One Tree Hill Track (3.2 km return). The latter passes through stringybark and peppermint gum forest. Pea shrubs bloom in spring. Notes are available on some of the tracks.
The picnic grounds are open to vehicles from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. (May to October) and until 6.00 p.m. the rest of the year. There is an entry fee for cars at the Ferntree Picnic Ground on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. You can catch Bus no.698 from Upper Ferntree Gully or walk the one kilometre from the Upper Ferntree Gully Train Station.
For general information and literature contact Parks Victoria on 131 963 or, if you require more detailed information contact the office at Upper Ferntree Gully on (03) 9758 1342. You can also visit the Parks Victoria website on http://www.parks.vic.gov.au which provides contact details for commercial operators in the park: AAA Plus Surf Tours, AAT Kings Tours (coach and 4WD tours), Allwalks (bushwalking), Art Tracks (bushwalking), Australis Nature Tours, Auswalk (bushwalking and abseiling), Autopia Tours (bushwalking and coach tours), Driving Force (4WD tours), Excellent Tours (coach tours), Footsteps Holidays (bushwalking), Owen Correa Outback Adventures (4WD tours), Ventura Coach Holidays and Young At Heart Tours (coach tours).