Striking Autumn Gold in Emerald


There is more to Emerald as a day destination beyond Puffing Billy and Emerald Lake Park, as popular as they are for visitors. As the the oldest town in the Dandenongs, Emerald is perched on the ridge at the eastern end of the Dandenong ranges. Visitors have been flocking to Emerald for over a century, enjoying Emerald’s markets, musical performances, theatre events or just to escape the the summer heat of the city.

Image (left) Kirsty Hall Photography Gembrook Kirsty Hall Photography


Autumn is a festival season of colour under a canopy of russet, gold and crimson with the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios Weekend at the end of March followed by the Performing and Visual arts in Emerald festival in April. Artists and writers of the early 20th century made their home in the Emerald area, inspired by its beauty and stimulated by its robust climate.

In 1886, Emerald was home to the largest horticultural nursery in the Southern Hemisphere. Today’s remnant nursery of grand European trees is concentrated at Nobelius Heritage Park and Museum which is located along the tourist railway line between Emerald village and the Lake. Visitors can travel along the winding Clematis-Gembrook Trail to take in the views and the hues. Mapped heritage walks also provide excellent mild activities for people with strollers or bikes. A short car trip to the Emerald Gardens Nursery just north of town stimulates horticultural passions with a large colourful range of Japanese maples, ornamental pears, weeping cherries and silver birches.

To break up walking or biking adventures, the best bet for day trippers would be have a coffee or dine at Emerald’s culinary trifecta - Incy Wincy, The General Cafe or Bam Bam Italian in the sleepy neighbouring hollow of Avonsleigh. For those who can plan their visit in advance, Alkira Eco- Glamping can give overnighters the opportunity to wake up in autumn’s misty mountain paradise. It’s no wonder that many of Emerald’s current residents started out as day trippers.