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Emerald, Vic – Travel Guide & What to Do

12/07/2023
8 mins read

What to Do At Emerald, Victoria

1. Emerald Lake Park

Emerald Lake Park is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Emerald, VIC. This picturesque park offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. The scenic picnic grounds are perfect for a relaxing day out with family and friends, while the walking trails provide an opportunity to explore the park’s natural beauty. For those who love water activities, the park offers paddleboats and fishing, as well as an Environment Centre to learn more about the local flora and fauna. Children will enjoy the playground, exercise equipment, and the summer wading pool, making Emerald Lake Park an ideal spot for families. The park is also dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend along, but remember to keep them on a leash.

Address: 425-427 Belgrave-Gembrook Rd, Emerald VIC 3782
Best time of the year: Spring and autumn, when the weather is mild and the park is in full bloom.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (extended hours during daylight saving time)

2. Puffing Billy Railway

A trip to Emerald wouldn’t be complete without a ride on the historic Puffing Billy Railway. This steam train takes you on a journey through the Eastern Dandenong Ranges, offering breathtaking views of the hills, forests, and countryside. The train ride is suitable for visitors of all ages and is a unique way to experience the beauty of the region.For dog owners, the Puffing Billy Dog Express runs on a special monthly Lakeside to Gembrook service, allowing you to bring your canine companion along for the ride. Don’t forget to snap some photos of your memorable journey aboard this iconic steam train!

Address: 1 Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave VIC 3160
Best time of the year: Year-round, but autumn and spring offer the most pleasant weather for enjoying the scenic views.
Opening Hours: Trains operate daily, except Christmas Day. Timetable varies, check the website for details.

3. Emerald Market

If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, the Emerald Market is the place to be. Held on the 3rd Sunday of every month, this market is the largest in the Dandenong Ranges and offers a wide range of goods. From fresh produce and plants to artisanal products, you’re sure to find something special to take home as a souvenir.The market is a great place to mingle with locals and experience the vibrant community atmosphere. With live music and delicious food options, the Emerald Market is more than just a shopping destination – it’s a fun day out for the whole family.

Address: 5 Kilvington Dr, Emerald VIC 3782
Best time of the year: Year-round, but the market is held on the 3rd Sunday of each month.
Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on market days

4. Emerald to Cockatoo Trail

For those who love hiking, the Emerald to Cockatoo Trail is a must-try. This 6.2 km long trail is located in the Wright Forest Bushland Reserve and offers beautiful views and a moderate level of difficulty. The well-maintained paths and occasional hills make it suitable for most fitness levels, and the stunning scenery will keep you motivated throughout your hike.The trail is dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along for the adventure, but remember to keep them on a leash. Don’t forget to pack your camera to capture the picturesque views along the way!

Address: Wright Forest Bushland Reserve, Emerald VIC 3782
Best time of the year: Autumn and spring, when the weather is mild and the foliage is vibrant.
Distance from town: The trailhead is located approximately 3 km from the center of Emerald.

5. Cardinia Reservoir Park

Cardinia Reservoir Park is a fantastic destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its barbecue facilities, walking trails, and opportunities to spot native wildlife like kangaroos and wombats, this park offers a true Australian experience. The reservoir scenery is beautiful, and many families enjoy barbecuing here, making it a perfect spot for a relaxing day out.Dogs are permitted in the park but must be kept on a lead at all times. However, they are strictly prohibited along the Kangaroo Viewing Trail, so be mindful of the park’s rules when bringing your furry friend. Don’t miss the chance to explore this beautiful park and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.

Address: Duffy’s Rd, Narre Warren East VIC 3804
Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer the most pleasant weather for outdoor activities.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (extended hours during daylight saving time)

6. Nobelius Heritage Park and Emerald and District Museum

For history buffs and those interested in learning about the local heritage, the Nobelius Heritage Park and Emerald and District Museum is a must-visit. Located at the western end of Emerald Lake Park, this attraction offers a glimpse into the area’s past and the people who shaped its history.The museum features a collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the story of Emerald and its surrounding areas. The Nobelius Heritage Park, once a thriving nursery, now serves as a beautiful backdrop for the museum. Take a stroll through the park and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere while learning about the region’s fascinating history.

Address: Crichton Rd, Emerald VIC 3782
Opening Hours: The museum is open Sundays from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm, or by appointment for group bookings.

7. Emersleigh Estate

Wine lovers should not miss the opportunity to visit Emersleigh Estate, a boutique winery and vineyard at the southern edge of the Yarra Valley. This charming winery offers tastings of their sparkling wine range and table wines under the Emersleigh and Off The Wall brands. The picturesque setting and delicious wines make for a delightful experience.Take a tour of the vineyard and learn about the winemaking process, or simply relax and enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the stunning views. Emersleigh Estate is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the best of the Yarra Valley’s wine offerings.

Address: 65 Stoney Creek Rd, Steels Creek VIC 3775
Distance from town: Approximately 45 km from Emerald, a 45-minute drive.
Opening Hours: By appointment only, contact the winery for details.

8. Paternoster Wines

Another fantastic winery to visit in the Cardinia Region is Paternoster Wines. Known for its premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, this vineyard offers a truly exceptional wine tasting experience. Be sure to try their Don Anselmo and Synthesi wines, which have received great reviews from wine enthusiasts.The beautiful vineyard setting and friendly staff make Paternoster Wines a must-visit destination for wine lovers. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or simply looking to try something new, you won’t be disappointed by the quality and variety of wines available at Paternoster Wines.

Address: 64 Paternoster Rd, Cockatoo VIC 3781
Distance from town: Approximately 9 km from Emerald, a 10-minute drive.
Opening Hours: By appointment only, contact the winery for details.

9. The Railway Dog Tavern

For a taste of the local nightlife, head to The Railway Dog Tavern in Emerald. This cozy bar offers a great selection of craft beer, local wines, and quality food, making it a popular spot for both locals and visitors. The welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff will make you feel right at home.The Railway Dog Tavern also hosts regular live music featuring local and international artists, so be sure to check their event schedule during your visit. Whether you’re looking to unwind after a day of exploring or simply want to enjoy a night out with friends, The Railway Dog Tavern is the perfect place to kick back and have a good time.

Address: 2 Kilvington Dr, Emerald VIC 3782
Opening Hours: Open daily from 11:30 am to late (closing times vary)

10. Aura Vale Lake Park

Aura Vale Lake Park is an ideal destination for water sports enthusiasts and those looking for a fun day out in nature. The lake is surrounded by bushland and picnic areas, providing a beautiful setting for a variety of activities. Experience sailboarding, canoeing, and small sailboats on the lake, or simply relax and enjoy the picturesque surroundings. The park is a great spot for families, with plenty of space for picnics and outdoor games. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and a hat, as the Australian sun can be quite strong during the warmer months. Aura Vale Lake Park is a fantastic destination for a day of fun and adventure on the water.

Address: 905 Wellington Rd, Menzies Creek VIC 3159
Best time of the year: Spring and summer, when the weather is warm and ideal for water activities.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (extended hours during daylight saving time)

11. Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail

For a longer hiking experience, the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail is a must-try. This 10 km trail stretches from Emerald to Gembrook and offers a great opportunity to explore the beautiful landscapes of the region. The well-maintained paths and occasional hills make it suitable for most fitness levels, and the stunning scenery will keep you motivated throughout your hike. The trail is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along for the adventure, but remember to keep them on a leash. Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks, as well as a camera to capture the picturesque views along the way. The Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region and create lasting memories of your visit to Emerald, VIC.

Address: The trail starts at Emerald Lake Park and ends in Gembrook.
Best time of the year: Autumn and spring, when the weather is mild and the foliage is vibrant.
Distance from town: The trailhead is located within Emerald Lake Park, just a short distance from the center of Emerald.

Getting to Emerald, Victoria

From Melbourne CBD

  • By Car: Emerald is located 44 km southeast of Melbourne’s Central Business District. The drive takes approximately 1 hour via the M1 and Wellington Rd/State Route 48.
  • By Public Transport: Take a train from Melbourne to Belgrave Station. From Belgrave Station, catch the Route 695 bus towards Gembrook and get off at Emerald Township.

From Belgrave

  • By Car: Emerald is approximately 9 km from Belgrave. The drive takes around 15 minutes via Belgrave-Gembrook Rd/C406.
  • By Public Transport: From Belgrave Station, catch the Route 695 bus towards Gembrook and get off at Emerald Township.

From Upper Ferntree Gully

  • By Car: Emerald is approximately 13 km from Upper Ferntree Gully. The drive takes around 20 minutes via Wellington Rd/State Route 48 and Belgrave-Gembrook Rd/C406.
  • By Public Transport: From Upper Ferntree Gully Station, catch a connecting bus into the hills or go a little further on the train to Belgrave Station. From Belgrave Station, catch the Route 695 bus towards Gembrook and get off at Emerald Township.

Origin of Name

The town of Emerald in Victoria, Australia, gets its name from Emerald Creek, which was named after a prospector named Jack Emerald who was murdered in 1858. In the same year, the Emerald gold diggings were opened, centered on alluvial workings on the Emerald and other creeks. A town reserve was approved in 1859. The town is located 44 km southeast of Melbourne’s Central Business District and is situated within the Shires of Cardinia and Yarra Ranges local government areas.

History of Emerald, Victoria

  • Pre-European Era: Before the arrival of Europeans, the Woiwurung Aboriginal people were the original inhabitants of the Emerald area.
  • 1858: Gold was discovered in the area, and the town of Emerald was planned the following year. The town was named after Emerald Creek, which was named after a prospector named Jack Emerald who was murdered in the same year.
  • 1859: A town reserve was approved, marking the beginning of the establishment of Emerald as a town.
  • 1860s-1870s: The gold rush in Emerald was short-lived, and the town eventually emerged as a service center for the agricultural industry in the region.
  • 1899: The Emerald Post Office opened on December 22, marking a significant development in the town’s history.
  • 20th Century: Emerald became a popular holiday destination for residents of Melbourne, with its beautiful natural surroundings and attractions like Emerald Lake Park and Puffing Billy Railway.
  • Present Day: As of the 2021 Census, the population of Emerald was 5,890.

Justin Ng

Hi, I’m Justin, I’m passionate about photography, love being outdoors, and have recently picked up running – mostly running away from my problems. When I’m not tinkering with the latest tech products, I’m out exploring Victoria and Australia, capturing its beauty through my lens.

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