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Emerald Lake Park

Home > Melbourne > Day Trips | Escape the City | Parks | Picnic Spots | Playgrounds
by Lorraine A (subscribe)
Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
Published October 5th 2013
Enjoy a relaxing picnic by the lake
Pedal boats on Emerald Lake

Whilst the Emerald Lake park is only ranked 13th best thing to do in the Dandenongs by Lonely Planet travellers, I think it will start travelling north towards the top of the list after the completion of the 1 million dollar renovations were carried out over a five year period.

The lake is very popular with pedal boaters, fisherman catching trout in one of the two lakes and ducks, whilst the surrounding park is a great spot for a BBQ or a picnic lunch.

The lawns are lush at this time of year and the buds on deciduous trees are turning into leaves whilst the rhododendrons, azaleas, waratahs, camellias and blossoms are in full bloom.

Older children's play area

For the children there is an older style playground suitable for ages 2 plus ( with supervision) whilst older children will enjoy the newer playground with climbing obstacles and exercise equipment. The playgrounds are located relatively close together but they're on a hillside so younger ones may need assistance.

As for the best way to arrive at the park, that would have to be on Puffing Billy. The train runs from Belgrave to Gembrook, however, the most popular section of the line is between Belgrave and Emerald Lake station. Most people pack a picnic and board the train for a great family day out.

Puffing Billy at Emerald Lake station

Across from the station is the Emerald Miniature Railway, although I haven't been in to have a look at it, I can tell you that it's the biggest HO scale model (1:87) railway in the southern hemisphere with over 2,000 metres of railway tracks, 250 houses and buildings, 450 cars & trucks, 1,100 trees and 1,500 miniature people. Entry is $6 for adults and $4 for children.

Emerald lake has a few nice short walks within the 50 hectare park that are suitable for all ages. For a brochure of the walking tracks, click here.

Emerald Lake cafe and tea rooms are the perfect spot to head for an ice cream after lunch. The cafe and tea rooms are open everyday from 9am - 4:30 pm , except Christmas Day, and have the capacity to seat more than 100 people.

As for events in the park the most famous would be The Great Train Race (competitors race against Puffing Billy, running 14km with the aim to beat the train before it gets across the bridge). Other events include; Community tree planting day, The Easter hunt and the Summer Concert Series (music in the park each Sunday in February) for more details click here.

Ducks with their ducklings

I have to say that the pedal boats look so calm and serene bobbing on the lake's surface, but if your children talk you into taking you on the boats and they can't reach the pedals then it turns out to be a bit more like a workout than a gentle Sunday pedal on the water. If this is the case choose the 15 minute option over the 30 minute option, though the kids will love to go around and around forever in a day it will be enough of a workout for mum and dad. Peddle boat hire costs $13 for 15 minutes or $17 for 30 minutes (2 adults and a child will fit onto one boat as will 1 adult and two children).

Pedal boats on Emerald Lake

Parking is available around the lake and near the train station but the downside is that parking is timed so you need to know how long you're intending to stay or buy an all day ticket for $6.

Overlooking Emerald Lake

Overall Emerald Lake Park is a relaxing and enjoyable park for the whole family to gather and share a picnic or BBQ lunch.
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Why? An enjoyable spot for a picnic lunch
When: All year round
Where: Emerald Lake Park, Emerald, Victoria
Cost: Parking costs $2 for two hours or $6 daily
Your Comment
One of my favourite picnic spots as well. You covered it so well. I didn't know there were upgrades to the park. Thanks for the update.
by Happy Mom (score: 2|548) 3530 days ago
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