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Dandenong Ranges National Park...
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This walk attempts to follow the proposed RidgeWalk: Exploring art and landscape in the Dandenongs. The official RidgeWalk won't be ready until around 2022 and will be approximately 26km in length. This hike however this will give you a taste of what to expect.
It is predominately a bush walk, but there are suburban sections and main road sections (Mount Dandenong Tourist Road). It passes through several townships in the Dandenong Ranges and follows several major tracks, in order: Belgrave, Hillclimb Track, Hackett Track, Sassafras, Olinda, Dandenong Creek Track, Channel 10 Track, Zig Zag Track (v. steep), passes Burkes Lookout, Kyeema Track, passes Five Ways and Wols Track. It would be slightly easier to do the walk in reverse from Mount Evelyn to Birdsland, as you would be going down the steeper hills, but my description is for the other way.
About the region
The forested slopes of the Dandenong Ranges are a place of tranquil forest walks, quaint hilltop towns and charismatic animals such as lyrebirds and wallabies. Conquer the famous 1000 Steps, discover Olinda Falls and enjoy commanding views over Melbourne and the Yarra Valley.
The Dandenong Ranges is a rainforest getaway on Melbourne's doorstep. A short drive or train ride from the city you will find steep volcanic hills covered in stands of the world's tallest flowering tree, the Mountain Ash. Living among the greenery are wallabies, lyrebirds, wombats and the Powerful Owl so please ensure you leave your dogs at home to avoid disturbing the local wildlife.
The mountains of the Dandenong Ranges offer stunning views across Melbourne. Waterfalls are also a feature of this cool temperate rainforest. Olinda Falls and Sherbrooke Falls are best after rain. Just don't forget to wear hiking boots.
You could take a train to Belgrave from Melbourne and walk or catch a bus to the start. There is good parking at the start, so going by car is easier.
When I did the walk, I was working from my Melways, which is not totally accurate, so I lost the trail a few times and this is shown on the GPX file route. It should be relatively simple for you to identify these errors and pass these obvious dead-ends.
Take your GPS and download the file. The GPX file is very useful. But I have dropped the GPX file onto google maps here and made it public so you can see the exact track and road names.
See where the Ridgewalk will take you when completed: Yarra-Ranges-Council_Ridgewalk.
Hike contributed by Fred Tropp-Asher
Max elevation: 603 m
Min elevation: 110 m
Total climbing: 1861 m
Total descent: -1864 m