Park visitors

Margaret Lester Walk DRNP

Information & Education

Parks Victoria uses information and education as the main method of communicating with people about the values, features and management aims of Victoria’s park system. These services are very important in developing a widespread appreciation of parks and creating support from the community to help respect and look after them.

The main sources of pre-visit park information are the Parks Victoria website, the 13 1963 telephone information line and various printed magazines and brochures.

Dandenong Ranges National Park has many points of entry into the park so it is very difficult to have information signs in all areas of the park. The Dandenong Ranges Tourist Information Centre provides an extensive range of park and local information for visitors entering the southern part of the park.

The park offers a Curriculum Education program for both primary and secondary schools and in the school holidays there are free Junior Ranger guided walks and talks. Both programs help to improve children’s knowledge, understanding and appreciation of nature conservation and hopefully a life-long love of the great outdoors.

 

Picnicking

Picnicking is one of the most popular activities done in the park. The park has a wide variety of picnic grounds (look at the map on XXX). The level of facilities at these sites varies a lot. Some have sealed car parking, toilets and disabled toilets, picnic tables, gas barbeques, picnic shelters, information, short walks, and cafés and souvenir shop. Others have very minimal development with only a picnic table and gravel car park. This creates a range of recreational experiences and options for different types of visitor.

 

Walking

Walking is a very popular activity with visitors and nearby residents and the national park has an excellent network of both short and longer distance walking tracks. Roads and tracks that provide access for Ranger vehicles can also be used by bushwalkers and for other recreational activities. Altogether, tracks and management vehicle roads cover over 100km of the park. Future management importance will be directed towards maintaining tracks in good condition and making them more accessible to the general public by providing better signs and information.

A long-distance walking track that crosses the park from south to north would improve recreational opportunities in the national park. Walkers could choose to walk the whole length of the track and stay in local accommodation places overnight (supporting the local economy) or just walk short sections of it for an hour or so or for a half day.

It is important that people stay on the track in the national park to protect the environment by preventing erosion and habitat destruction.

 

Horse Riding

For those who enjoy horse riding there are approximately 22km of tracks and roads in the national park that they can use. Horses are not permitted in picnic areas and special signs identify tracks that they can go on.

Tracks in the park link with a bigger track network outside the park so that there are more opportunities to ride horses. To protect the park there are no plans to increase the number of tracks that horses can use. From time to time tracks used for horse riding will be closed, mainly in winter when the tracks are slippery and the risk of erosion is high. A permit is needed for a group of more than 10 horses to travel together in the national park.

There is evidence of some off-track horse riding in the park, which is not permitted. Off-track riding damages vegetation, causes soil erosion and can lead to the spread of weeds.

Areas of the park that are zoned Conservation are unable to sustain frequent horse riding use.

 

Cycling & Mt Biking

For those who enjoy cycling and mountain bike riding the park allows access to approximately 70km of tracks. Cycling is not allowed on most walking tracks to protect sensitive environmental areas or where the activity of cycling will upset other park users such as bush walkers.

Tracks closed to cycling display a ‘No Bikes” symbol. Tracks that allow cycling may be closed at short notice if they become muddy, eroded or dangerous. Bicycles are not allowed to be ridden off-track.

No competitive bike events are allowed in the park because of the possible environmental impact and conflict with other park users. A number of areas in the park have experienced a lot of erosion and vegetation loss because of off-track riding.

 

Hang Gliding

Hang gliding is allowed in one area in the national park at Burkes Lookout on Kyeema Track near the summit of Mt Dandenong. The site is only used occasionally. A special ramp has been installed to help hang glider pilots launch from the hill-side.

The Victorian Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association work with Parks Victoria to manage the site to prevent erosion and littering.

 

Caring for the environment

Help us look after your park by following these guidelines:

  • Please take rubbish away with you for recycling and disposal
  • All native plants and animals are protected by law. Please do not disturb them in any way
  • Light fires only in fireplaces provided. Firewood is not supplied – please bring your own
  • Solid fuel barbeques and the use of heat beads are not permitted
  • No fires may be lit on days of Total Fire Bans and no barbeques are permitted on days of Total Fire Bans
  • Firearms are prohibited
  • Wildlife feeding and handling is not permitted
  • Dogs and other pets are not permitted in the national park
  • Observe parking signs and park gate closing times