Australia & New Zealand

Dandenongs, Australia

A Guide to the Best Places to Run in the Dannenong Ranges. See Also Our Guide to Nearby Melbourne

Located 35 km (22 miles) east of Melbourne, the Dandenongs (also known as the Dandenong Ranges) are known for rolling hills, scenic drives and the Puffing Billy Railway. A popular destination for walking and hiking (bushwalking), the Dandendongs are also heaven for trail running, with great options for all abilities. The highest point is Mount Dandendong at 633 meters, which can be accessed by car or on foot. The quaint villages of Olinda and Sassafras provide plenty of shopping and cafe options.

The best places to run in the Dandenongs are in Dandenong Ranges National Park area, which includes the popular 1000 Steps / One Tree Hill area, and trails in the Ferny Creek/Sherbrooke Forest area. Avoid the crowds in the scenic yet quiet retreats of the Churchill National Park, the Birdsland Reserve and the RJ Hamer Forest Arboretum. If single track is more your thing, the trails behind Lysterfield Lake Park or around Sassafras and Olinda offer great alternatives.

A car is generally needed to access and get around the area.

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Emerald Lake Park

Dandenongs, Australia

One of the better options for gentler running in the Dandenongs. A destination point for the Puffing Billy tourist train line, the park features seven walking trails meandering around the lake and into the rainforest, adding up to a ~6 km run.

The Dandenong Ranges temperature is usually a few degrees cooler than Melbourne. Average temperatures range from 27C / 81F during summer, 14C / 57F in winter and 20C/68F during autumn and spring. Rain is also more frequent than Melbourne city, so best to be prepared.

Birdsland is also home to Parkrun, a free group 5k held every Saturday morning. You can see the course map and learn more here

The main events include the Great Train Race (runners race Puffing Billy) for the road runners or the Roller Coaster Run for the distance trail runners. Check out this site for more.