Need to Know

Last Visited: May 2019
Length (km): 3 km
Time (hrs/min): 1 hour
Grade: Easy
Style: Partial Circuit
Region: Melbourne
Park: Dandenong Ranges National Park
Closest Town: Upper Ferntree Gully
Total Ascent: approx. 161 m (according to
Car Access: The Fern Tree Gully Picnic Ground is at the Upper Ferntree Gully end of the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road (on the west side of the road). I didn’t notice any signs saying “Fern Tree Gully Picnic Ground” but the turn-off is clear and there is a sign saying “Welcome to Dandenong Ranges National Park” (or something to that effect) at the entry. (Melways Ref: 74 H4).
If you’re looking for a family bushwalk in the Dandenong Ranges and the 1000 Steps feels a bit beyond you, the Living Bush Nature Walk might be more up your alley.

When your kid’s not up for the steps, you’re probably better off not doing the steps. With the boy child off to hike them with Scouts, my little Fairy Princess and I decided to opt for this trail instead (especially since I hadn’t walked it for 10 years). Despite a misty day and a light shower during our walk, she loved every minute of it. Even the steepest section on Musk Avenue is nowhere near as steep as the 1000 Steps and it’s always far less busy. We only encountered two other people during the whole circuit.

Start the walk at the footbridge, behind the playground at the top of the Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground carpark. Head left and you’ll find Acacia Track or if you continue on, Musk Track. You can start the circuit in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction, depending on which one you take. From there, the map above will make it easy to find your way.

Along the way, you’ll stroll through dark damp fern gullies, drier Messmate forest and tall Eucalypts. Being a relatively quiet part of the park, this is also a good place for wildlife spotting, particularly lyrebirds.

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Living Bush Nature Walk - Dandenong Ranges National Park (Victoria)
Living Bush Nature Walk - Dandenong Ranges National Park (Victoria)
Living Bush Nature Walk - Dandenong Ranges National Park (Victoria)

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