The Dandenong Ranges lie at the eastern edge of Melbourne’s suburban sprawl. Not to be confused with Dandenong, an the industrial suburb with a similar name, the Dandenongs is a region of natural bush land and a favourite picnic spot for Melburnians.
At the summit of Mount Dandenong is a scenic lookout that many locals claim has the best view of the city, but it is over-rated and not worth the effort – there’s a view of the eastern suburbs, but central Melbourne is too far away and often shrouded in smog.
A much better idea is to take a ride on Puffing Billy. This is an old steam train that runs from Belgrave to Gembrook through the most scenic parts of the Dandenongs, although it is expensive for a return trip.
Coming and going
Take the train to Belgrave station, then transfer to bus 688, 694 to 698, which will take you along Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, past the area’s main attractions. Belgrave station is also the terminus for the Puffing Billy steam railway.