Emerald Lake, Tourism Victoria

Population 6317

Emerald is a delightful little town set in the Dandenong Ranges, which lie behind Melbourne's eastern suburbs. Over the weekend people come from the city into 'the hills' to take in the scenic forests and visit the cafes, galleries, and antique and craft stores.

Visitor Information

Dandenong Ranges Information Centre, 1211 Burwood Hwy, Upper Ferntree Gully; (03) 9758 7522


Nearby national parks

  • Yarra Ranges National Park

    Lofty mountain ash bathed in mist, rare and endangered plants and animals, snow in winter and pristine pockets of bushland make Yarra Ranges...more

  • Kinglake National Park

    Surrounding the township of Kinglake, this bush retreat close to Melbourne offers views of the Yarra Valley, the city skyline and Port...more

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

    In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An...more

Nearby towns

  • Olinda

    Olinda is in the centre of the Dandenong Ranges, a landscape of towering mountain ash forests, lush fern gullies, waterfalls, English...more

  • Warburton

    Warburton was established when gold was discovered in the 1880s, but its picturesque location and proximity to Melbourne meant it quickly...more

  • Koo wee rup

    Koo-Wee-Rup and the surrounding agricultural area exist on reclaimed and drained swampland. It has given rise to Australia's largest...more

In Town

Emerald Lake The lake is a lovely, tranquil spot. Attractions include the largest model railway display in the Southern Hemisphere, paddleboats, cafe and tearooms, fishing and walking trails. Picnic shelters can be hired throughout the year. Puffing Billy stops at Emerald Lake and many passengers spend a day here before returning on the train in the late afternoon. Emerald Lake Rd.

Galleries and craft shops: a wide variety, specialising in locally made products; along Main St.


Puffing Billy Victoria's favourite steam train runs the 25 km between Belgrave and Gembrook, stopping at Emerald Lake. Read More

Menzies Creek This town is home to Cotswold House, where visitors enjoy gourmet food amid fantastic views. Nearby is Cardinia Reservoir Park, where picnic spots are shared with free-roaming kangaroos, and Lake Aura Vale, a popular spot for sailing. Belgrave–Gembrook Rd; 4 km NW.

Sherbrooke Equestrian Park: trail-rides; Wellington Rd; 3 km W.

Australian Rainbow Trout Farm: Macclesfield; 8 km N.

Sherbrooke Art Gallery: impressive collection of local artwork; Monbulk Rd, Belgrave; 11 km NW.

Bimbimbie Wildlife Park: Mt Burnett; 12 km SE.

Fishing spots near town

Patterson River 30 km

The Patterson River is well known for bream, and walking and bike tracks on both sides of the river offer ease of access for bank fishing. The most productive waters are in the marinas between the Mornington Peninsula... Find out more

Carrum 32 km

The Launching Way boat ramp facility at Carrum is the best in the bay but during snapper season anglers who haven’t launched their boats and parked their cars by about 6am have to go elsewhere. Managed by Parks... Find out more

St Kilda 42 km

St Kilda Marina gives boat anglers easy access to excellent snapper and whiting grounds. Inshore there is plenty of seagrass and sand areas for whiting while the deeper waters offer reef areas for snapper. The St Kilda... Find out more

Maribyrnong River 49 km

The age-old adage about the grass supposedly being greener somewhere else applies to fishing around Melbourne. Many anglers who head out of town do so because they don’t believe any serious fishing is possible... Find out more

Yarra River 49 km

Mulloway are one of the most sought and least caught Victorian species. Anglers often put in hundreds of hours in unsuccessful quests for a trophy of this enigmatic species. During autumn, reports tell of mulloway being... Find out more

Middle Spit 50 km

One of the most popular destinations for boating anglers is the Middle Spit, located along the western shore of French Island. Regarded as a whiting hotspot, it’s just a matter of knowing where to go and the tide... Find out more

Altona to Williamstown 51 km

The skyline stretching around the shore from Altona to Williamstown provides an unlikely backdrop for top fishing. Industry dominates, in particular refineries, with flames burning off gases. However, anglers who fish... Find out more

Snapper Spots 53 km

Many snapper anglers prefer to concentrate along the edges of the main shipping channels. The deep water running along the western shore of Phillip Island from the Nobbies to Cowes (Buoys 1–13) is a proven snapper... Find out more

Mosquito Channel 57 km

Corinella is about 115 km south- east of Melbourne on the eastern side of Western Port. There is a jetty, slipway and a 24-hour all-tide boat ramp. Anglers who launch their boats here regard these waters as something... Find out more

Elephant Triangle 57 km

Fishing for elephant fish in Western Port has become an institution. Anglers hang out for the first signs that the fish are starting to migrate into the bay. In general terms, the Elephant Triangle (GPS: S38.26.826,... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Dandenong Ranges National Park 11 km

About an hour’s drive out of Melbourne, some 35 kilometres east of the city, this park has forests of towering mountain ash and lush, damp fern gullies. Around 300 kilometres of walking tracks crisscross the park,... Find out more

Bicentennial National Trail - Healesville starting point 32 km

Acclaimed as the longest-marked, nonmotorised, multi-use trekking route in the world, this track traverses an incredible 5330 kilometres from Healesville to Cooktown in north Queensland, passing through 18 national... Find out more

Cycling around Melbourne 42 km

Melbourne has an active cycling community that has helped develop and establish some great routes and a network of cycle paths. One of the best sources of information is Bicycle Victoria. One option is to hop on the Main... Find out more

Indigenous tours - Melbourne 43 km

To grasp what Melbourne was like before the skyscrapers arrived you can take a two-hour Koori Heritage Trust walking tour. You will gain an insight into Indigenous history and the natural and cultural landscape of the... Find out more

Mountain-biking around Melbourne 44 km

With 20 kilometres of tracks developed by the Mountain Bike Association of Australia, Lysterfield Lake Park has something for all standard of mountain-biker, including family-friendly loops and exciting single-track... Find out more

Melbourne Zoo 46 km

Melbourne has a choice of two excellent zoos: Melbourne Zoo, with more than 320 species on display; and the 225-hectare open range zoo at Werribee, about 30 minutes drive from the city centre (access from the Princes... Find out more

Kayaking on Phillip Island 60 km

For a great way to start the day, join a kayaking breakfast tour at Phillip Island Holiday Hire, which starts with a 45-minute paddle from Cowes and includes a civilised breakfast at a cafe. There is also a Devonshire... Find out more

Golf courses around town

The Sandhurst Club (North Course) 26 km

Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson has strong ties to Scotland, the home of golf. Not only was it the scene of some of his greatest triumphs but he spends several months a year living there. So it should... Find out more

The Heritage Golf & Country Club (St John course) 27 km

Jack Nicklaus, the golfer, was the most powerful player of his generation and also its finest strategist, a man who could win a tournament based on smart play and at other times on pure heroics. Jack Nicklaus, the... Find out more

The Sandhurst Club (Champions Course) 27 km

The Champions course at Sandhurst is the latest addition to the Melbourne sandbelt portfolio. Officially opened for play in 2008, it was designed by Peter Thomson and Ross Perrett, the same duo who created the... Find out more

Amstel Golf Club (Ranfurlie course) 27 km

Like a good single-malt Scotch whisky, some golf courses are appreciated more once they have aged. When Amstel Golf Club was looking to expand beyond its 18-hole Park course, it commissioned Mike Clayton to design a ... Find out more

Spring Valley Golf Club 27 km

The story of Spring Valley Golf Club’s early days is not dissimilar to that of many clubs which now call Melbourne’s sandbelt home. Spring Valley began its existence outside the sandbelt, as Forest Hills... Find out more

Southern Golf Club 27 km

Southern is one of the Melbourne sandbelt’s least-known courses, but in recent years its star has been on the rise. The original layout was created by Sam Berriman, a British expat who began his working life in... Find out more

Settlers Run Golf & Country Club 28 km

Throughout his playing days Greg Norman drew huge crowds eager to witness his incredible ball-striking. Confidently striding the fairways, his mere presence made him one of the game’s biggest ever drawcards. He... Find out more

Riversdale Golf Club 29 km

Victoria’s second oldest club, formed 18 months after Royal Melbourne, began life in humble circumstances as the Surrey Hills Golf Club. After a brief stint at Camberwell the club moved to its present location... Find out more

Huntingdale Golf Club 30 km

Huntingdale – Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath aside – is arguably the most famous of Melbourne’s sandbelt courses, home to the Australian Masters for 30 years. A parade of the game’s best... Find out more

Metropolitan Golf Club 31 km

Metropolitan has changed dramatically over the past century but has never been short of plaudits. The club, the second oldest on the Melbourne sandbelt, was established in 1908. J. B. Mackenzie was one of the founding... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Elevation at Emerald

This purpose-built modern restaurant was built to maximise the views over the velvet green hills of Emerald. Polished concrete floors and coloured suede couches welcome guests to the light-filled contemporary space.... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Matilda Bay Garage Brewery 25 km

Previously operating as the Stockade Brewery, this South Dandenong-based microbrewery was acquired by the Foster’s-owned Matilda Bay Brewing in 2004 and re-badged as their ‘garage’ brewery. Then head... Find out more

Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company 31 km

Craft brewers come from all sorts of different backgrounds but classical pianist Simon Walkenhorst and his opera singer wife Beth Williams are among the more exotic. Together, they started Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company... Find out more

2 Brothers Brewery 33 km

A microbrewery is not exactly what you might expect to find tucked away among panel-beaters and sheet-metal fabricators in the industrial estates of Moorabbin, 20 minutes south-east of Melbourne. While the location may... Find out more

Mountain Goat Brewery 40 km

Kicking off in 1997, home-brewer Dave Bonighton and music industry booking agent Cam Hines proved that two good mates can start a successful microbrewery with no money, but with unlimited enthusiasm, dogged perseverance... Find out more

Foster's Group (Abbotsford Brewery) 41 km

Re-branded as the Foster’s Group in the 21st century, Carlton & United Breweries was formed in 1907 through an amalgamation of the city’s six largest beer-makers: McCrackens City Brewery, Victoria... Find out more

3 Ravens Brewing Company 41 km

This microbrewery began operating from the basement of the successful Thornbury-based engineering company Zetkin and has proved to be an interesting diversion or sideline for the principal business. Some of the company... Find out more

Campsites around town

Kurth Kiln camping area 12 km

This camping area is accessed via Soldiers Rd, which branches off the Gembrook–Launching Place Rd. As you stroll through the mountain ash, keep your eyes peeled for swamp wallabies and echidnas.... Find out more

Nash Creek camping area 22 km

In the heart of the park, Nash Creek has an isolated feel. It’s reached via Black Snake Creek Rd, west of the junction with Bunyip River Rd. From the nearby Dyers Picnic Ground you can undertake the 17 km Dyer... Find out more

Blue Range camping area (bush camping) 24 km

You can go bush camping in a cleared area in the north of the park along Bunyip Ridge Track, off Bunyip River Rd. You’ll need a 4WD and must be fully equipped, as there are no facilities here. The pay-off is that... Find out more

Longridge Park camping area 31 km

A one-time cattle-grazing area set within the pretty Yarra Valley Parklands, the turf at Longridge can now be booked through Parks Victoria (by phone or online) by individuals or groups of up to 40 for relaxing camping... Find out more

Gentle Annie camping area (bush camping) 33 km

Like Blue Range, this is another cleared bush camping area in the north of the park. It’s close to the Lawson Falls Picnic Ground, where walking tracks provide a gentle half-hour or a more-challenging 2-hour... Find out more

Starlings Gap camping area 34 km

Starlings Gap is in the path of 2 excellent forest walking tracks, with the 9 km walk to Big Pats Picnic Area, which follows the 1933 federal tramway, arguably the highlight. In the camping area itself, take a look at... Find out more

Ada No. 2 Mill camping area (walk-in camping) 36 km

Tucked away deep in the forest, this is a walk-in bush-camping spot on the 33 km, 2-day Walk into History Trail that leads from Warburton to Powelltown. The section of the track heading from the mill up to Highlead... Find out more

Bush camping 37 km

Walk–in sites only along the Walk Into History trail. No facilities, but toilet located at Big Pats Creek. Trail brochure available from DSE.... Find out more

Federal Mill camping area (walk-in camping) 39 km

Like Ada No. 2 Mill, Federal Mill is an overnight camping option for hikers who are tackling all or part of the Walk into History Trail between Powelltown and Warburton. It’s not far south of the soaring,... Find out more

Latrobe River camping area 40 km

This camping area is sited next to the Latrobe River in the south of the park. If you find the surrounding mountain ash mesmerising, make sure you hunt out the sky-scraping Ada Tree, a real giant – one of the... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Wantirna Park 21 km

This is a large park with a limited number of tourist sites. Located in the eastern suburbs, its facilities include tennis courts and a recreation room. It is good value. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

BIG4 Dandenong Tourist Park 24 km

Just 6 km south of Dandenong, this is a good quality park, ideal for those wanting to stay on the eastern side of Melbourne. It is very close to the Jayco factory. Bookings are required in peak times and a minimum-stay... Find out more

Crystal Brook Tourist Park 31 km

This park caters for tourists. It has good facilities and is located in a leafy area of the northeastern suburbs of Melbourne. A minimum-length stay applies during holiday periods.... Find out more

BIG4 Frankston Holiday Park 38 km

This is a good quality park in the far outer south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It is a great base for those exploring the Mornington Peninsula or those connecting with the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry. Bookings are... Find out more

Glen Cromie Caravan Park 43 km

In a large, park-like setting on the banks of a stream, this is a popular caravan park during weekends and holiday periods. It is a great place for a family break and just a short drive from the greater Melbourne area.... Find out more

Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park 46 km

This is a tourist park in a quiet area of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, just 9 km from Melbourne’s CBD. The park has relatively easy access to the Hume Highway and other northern approaches and is a popular... Find out more

Warragul Gardens Holiday Park 50 km

This owner-operated park has spacious grassy sites, good facilities and great amenities. However, the focal point is the magnificent gardens; these alone make the park worth a visit. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Fernglade on Menzies

This Federation-style building set in extensive gardens and tall forest has direct access to the Emerald–Kallista walking track. It was purpose built to accommodate up to 14 people in four suites. There are two... Find out more

Fernhem Cottages

The names of these three self-contained cottages tell you a little about the romantic ambience and privacy the owners have tried to create: Possums’ Cottage, Love in the Mist and Teddy Bears Cottage. All very... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Alto Hotel on Bourke 45 km

Although it is not doing anything radical, this plush hotel on Bourke Street is one of the most ecologically aware in Melbourne, and should be commended for its power-saving measures, garbage sorting, supply of... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Gumbuya rest area 25 km

77km E of Melbourne (L) or 40km W of Yarragon (R)

Secluded among trees well off the highway.

Bunyip rest area 37 km

29km W of Yarragon (L)

Adjacent to the highway. For westbound only.

What's on around town

PAVE (Performing and Visual Arts in Emerald) Festival: Apr.

Great Train Race: runners attempt to race Puffing Billy from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park; 1st Sun in May.

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