With rich red volcanic soils feeding tall Eucalypt forests and cropland, through to valley soils supporting grazing and heathy foothill forests, the variety of the patchwork landscape is known as the Eastern Dandenong Ranges and Puffing Billy Country.
So close to Melbourne yet a world away, you’ll find yourself travelling through quaint hills villages such as Emerald. Melbourne’s regional towns are artful and physically and spiritually nourishing. If you are travelling on foot, train from Melbourne City to Belgrave, then on the 695 Bus that travels between Belgrave & Gembrook or jump on Puffing Billy.
Emerald lies roughly halfway between Belgrave & Gembrook along the Puffing Billy line. It is the largest of the Hills villages providing essential services and the oldest township in the Dandenong Ranges. Beautiful Emerald Lake Park is an easy 20minute walk from Emerald. The walk starts from the end of Kilvington Drive where Puffing Billy crosses on its journey to Cockatoo & Gembrook. The ANZAC Walk & Emerald Heritage Walk provide a great insight into the local history as does a visit to the Emerald & District Museum located in the magnificent Nobelius Heritage Gardens in Emerald Lake Park. Visitors are spoilt with three markets to choose from. The Grow It Bake It Make It Market is on 1st Sunday of the month, The Hills Art Market is on the 2nd Saturday of the month and the Emerald Market is on the 3rd Sunday of the month.
You’ll find a comprehensive guide to Emerald here.