Driving from Melbourne to the Dandenong Ranges

Road to Melbourne

Melbourne is a hustling, bustling cosmopolitan city with so much to see and do that despite its big open bay and ample greenery, you may just find it hard to relax. Luckily, the Dandenongs Ranges (commonly just the Dandenongs) is an easy day trip away! VroomVroomVroom can help you find the perfect car rental for your next adventure because we compare only the best deals from leading car rental companies in Australia.

Distance (Melbourne to Dandenong Ranges and return): 150 km (average)

Directions: Drive your hire car along the Eastern Freeway passing through the Eastlink tollway. Make an exit at Burwood Highway and head to Upper Ferntree Gully. You can also exit at Canterbury Road and head to Montrose. From Montrose, turn right at the roundabout and follow the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road through Kalorama and Mount Dandenong to Olinda.

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Top 3 Dandenong Ranges Activities & Things To Do

Who said there was nothing good about the city's weather? The Dandenong Ranges experience is such an eclectic mix of weather conditions that the area is quite unlike anywhere else – and it all starts just 30 kilometers down the Eastern freeway from the metropolis.

1. Take a Puffing Billy ride

Puffing Billy Train at Dandenong Ranges

The Puffing Billy train ride is possibly the most popular steam train ride in Australia. Puffing Billy is a 110-year old steam train that makes a 25 kilometer journey through Emerald Lake Park (a great stop for a picnic by the spectacular lake), the lush forests, ferny gullies, picturesque countryside and on to Gembrook (check first because not all services run the whole route).

There are several options for travel from three course fine dining with local wines included, to dangling your legs over the side and getting up close to nature. Special events such as “Thomas The Tank Engine” days and murder mystery themes are also available. Puffing Billy departs from Belgrave 3-4 times daily depending on conditions.

2. Take scenic drives, camp and picnic in the ranges

The Dandenongs are famous for their majestic, tall, white manna gums, with a lush canopy 40 or more meters high, where lucky travelers can spot koalas at rest. At ground level, unlike the typical dry Australian forest, lush plant life and delicate ferns make excellent hiding places for wombats and other wildlife. There are plenty of places to hike (over 300kms of track in fact), take scenic drives, camp and picnic in the ranges. Campers should lock away all food at night as the wombat population isn't shy about conducting midnight snack raids.

3. Discover The Villages of Mt Dandenong

A trip to the Dandenong Ranges is not complete without a visit to the three main villages of Mt. Dandenong: Mount Dandenong, Olinda and Sassafras - all within 2km of each other. If you haven't yet visited the Villages, it should be on your bucket list too. The atmosphere of the Villages will leave you feeling completely refreshed and revitalised.

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