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Dandenong Ranges

The Dandenong Ranges National Park is a 3215 hectare National Park on Melbourne's outskirts. The park plays an important role in protecting a population of famous lyrebirds and other fauna, as well as protecting the forests and fern gullies of the Ranges.

The 40 kilometre drive from Melbourne via Burwood Highway or Canterbury Road should take less than an hour. Alternatively, take the train to Upper Ferntree Gully or Belgrave station.

There are many different runs possible:

-- Dandenong Ranges National Park - Upper Ferntree Gully thru to The Basin - incorporating the 'ThousandStepsRun' (more like 800). This part of the DRNP is very hilly, dense lush forest, narrow trails. For a tough 3-12km.

-- Sherbrooke Forest (part of DRNP) - Sherbrooke - this is The Place To Run - where anybody who is/was anybody in Aussie distance running have all run. Dense rainforest, can be muddy in winter. A unique experience. Choose steep/hilly or not so steep/hilly :). Wide trails mostly, more runners, more tourists. For a fast/hard 3-15km.

-- Sherbrooke Forest - Grants Picnic Ground - over the road from the above. Go further, get away from the tourists. For a fast 3-12km. Or combine both the above.

-- Mount Dandenong - DRNP Doongalla Forest - from The Basin thru to Mt Dandenong & Kalorama. Long trails across the face of the mountain, or extremely steep up it (Glasgow Track). Get away from it for 5-15km.

-- RJ Hamer Forest Arboretum - run forever in an 'organised' forest - countless network of trails. Don't get lost - you have to go home sometime.

-- Menzies Creek Trail - Monbulk to Emerald - narrow trail along a creek, muddy, fallen trees, fast run, fast reactions, watch your ankles. But a fabulous run. Emerald to Butterfield Reserve - about 9km round trip. Or to Monbulk Aquatic Centre - about 15km return.

-- Cardinia Reservoir - steep trails, across the dam wall. Lots of kangaroos and tourists. 3-10km.

-- Birds Land to Lysterfield Lake And Churchill National Park - 3-6km good trails, rolling hills.

-- Belgrave to Emerald Lake - follow the course of the Puffing Billy Great Train Race - 13km of scenic hills.

-- Emerald Lake Park - very nice, very manicured - Puffing Billy stops here for a while - 3-10km

-- Emerald Lake thru to Cockatoo - Wrights Forest - nice new trail, rolling hills, bush/forest. Wrights forest a bit rough in places, great for trail/cross country enthusiasts. 5-15km

-- Cockatoo to Gembrook (the end of the Puffing Billy line) - country gravel roads across the top of the hills (of course you have to climb the hills to get there) - 8-10km, 16-20km return (depends on where you turn)

The Three Hour Run

This course has been used successfully to train for the Six Foot Track. The course has numerous long ups and downs and is an excellent trail workout over varying terrain. The descent down View Track is very reflective of Nellie’s Glen

Basically, a sub three is the aim and a 2:50 generally means you are in approximately 4:30 shape for Six Foot. The distance is unclear, although we suspect it is about 26-28km.

Park the car at the café on the Tourist road just north of Mast Gully Road [Melways Ref 75 C4]. Run down the tourist road, right up Kallamondah Rd to a short trail taking you back onto the road. Continue down to Titania Cres and turn right all the way to One Tree Hill road. Turn left then right into Hill St. Cross the top of One Tree Hill then down to Tysons Track then to Mystic Track and continue down Government Road [on bitumen] to the shop at Forest Road and Wright St corner. Back up Government Road to View Track then right onto Chandlers Track.

Drop down Chandlers all the way to the corner of Nyora Av and Lachlan Rd. Return back up Chandlers to View Track, turn right and down to Arbor Track and onto the Himalaya Track. Up Stony Rise [very rough and steep and not marked in the latest Melway] to the water tank [approx 95 mins to here] then right into Bellview Terrace. Downhill until a right turn at The Boulevard, right again at Feather Track and all the way back to the bottom of Stony Rise.

Return up the Feather Track, right again at The Boulevard and head down to Ladys Walk [bitumen] continuing to the corner of Kia-Ora Pde and Butlers Rd. Turn around and back up The Boulevard passing Feather Track then left up Lantern Track. Right into Bellview Tce [approx 2:15 to here and a 2:50 finish is looking good] and all the way to the carpark/picnic ground.

Continue through the picnic area staying right of the 1,000 steps and head up Ramblers Track, right into Musk Ave back to the Tourist Road then back to the finish taking in the same small early deviation up Kallamondah Road.

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