Emerald Lake Park is a well know tourist destination in the Dandenong Ranges, due to the iconic Puffing Billy steam train which stops at the park. It is popular with people of all ages due to the range of activities it encompasses; including walking trails, exercise equipment, fishing, playgrounds, paddle boats and a wading pool.
The park is about an hour's drive from Melbourne and it costs to park around the lake. The park is located near the main shops in Emerald which are also worthwhile visiting, especially the well-known Emerald Village bakery and cafe for lunch.
There are accessible car parks and ramps for the disabled; however some of the trails around the park are not as well maintained. Toilets are found around the lake.
The park has a number of open lawns which are perfect for picnics. Otherwise there are undercover picnic tables and barbeques which are very popular during the weekends. There are also park benches to admire the scenery. If planning for a special event, you can pre-book from a selection of five large picnic facilities.
There is a cafe around Lake Treganowan and an ice-cream stall in summer. A free entry wading pool lets the kids cool down in the hot weather and paddle boats for hire are popular with all ages. Another free water activity is fishing around the lake, which is stocked twice a year with Rainbow Trout.
For those keener on getting some exercise, the trails are perfect for a bike or jogging. The exercise equipment is located near the playground. Kids can enjoy the lake activities and playground or learn to ride their bikes around the flat walking paths. There are two playgrounds around the lake; one is aimed at teenagers and adults with outdoor gym equipment.
Puffing Billy (along with a visit to the interactive model railway) is the major drawcard of the park, and many people bring lunch to enjoy before or after the train ride. Puffing Billy travels for 24 kilometres and Emerald Lake Park is the stop after Belgrave, before going on to Gembrook. The train has open and closed carriages, some including dining, and accommodates group bookings. Entry to the model railway is $6 for adults and $4 for children.
Large groups or families are often quick to use the barbeque areas. The park contains five amphitheatres which are a unique location to hire for the day, costing from $83 upwards.