Yarra Ranges National Park

Home  >  Australia  >  Victoria  >  Melbourne  >  Yarra Valley  >  Yarra Ranges National Park

The Yarra Ranges National Park has some lovely walking tracks through ancient rainforests and cascading waterfalls.

Yarra Ranges National Park

Located a short distance (13km) from Warburton, Yarra Ranges National Park is one of the highlights of the area. If you’re heading to Warburton or are in the Yarra Valley area and love the outdoors, the Yarra Ranges National Park is worth a visit. Continue reading for our list of top ten things to do here, best walking tracks and more.

Yarra Ranges National Park

Cradling the Yarra River headwaters and much of Melbourne’s water catchment, Yarra Ranges National Park features majestic Mountain Ash trees which give way to pockets of cool temperate rainforest. Mt Donna Buang, a popular day-trip destination – especially during winter, when it is often snow-covered – is a big attraction here.

Top 10 Things to Do in Yarra Ranges National Park

1. Rainforest Gallery (Donna Buang)

Visit the Rainforest Gallery with its spectacular observation platform and rainforest walkway on the southern slopes of Mount Donna Buang.

This beautiful site features a 40 metre long observation platform (one of only three of its type in Australia) which takes you into the rainforest canopy 15 metres above the ground. 

2. Drive the Black Spur

Drive the world famous Black Spur between Healesville and Narbethong.

Enjoy a leisurely picnic and short walk at other nearby visitor areas such as Donnelly’s Weir, Dom Dom Saddle or Maroondah Reservoir Park. Dom Dom Saddle Picnic area is located on the Black Spur and is accessible from Maroondah Highway.

The Beeches Rainforest Walk, Yarra Ranges National Park, Victoria, Australia

3. The Beeches Walk

Continue through to Marysville stopping along Lady Talbot Drive to walk through ancient rainforests at the Beeches.

Acheron Way is a scenic 37km drive north through the park to Marysville. Along the way are views of Mt Victoria and Ben Cairn.

4. Keppel and Phantom Falls

View the waterfalls at Keppel and Phantom Falls.

Take the Lady Talbot Drive through Marysville to  a number of forest walks, lookouts and picnic spots along the way. Among them, Keppel and Phantom Falls are worth inspecting especially after the rains.

5. Mt Donna Buang Summit

Climb Mt Donna Buang Summit or take one of the walking tracks around the mountain.

At an elevation of 1245 metres, the summit features a lookout tower which is 21 metres high and offers panoramic views over Melbourne, the Yarra Valley, Dandenong and Cathedral Ranges, Mount Baw Baw and the Alps. It is also a popular picnic area and starting point for walks on the mountain. 

6. Lake Mountain

Enjoy cross-country skiing and tobogganing at Lake Mountain.

Across the plateau and summit area of Lake Mountain there are more than 40 kilometres of walking tracks and ski trails that take in beautiful stands of mottled grey Snow Gum and alpine heath, interspersed with alpine bogs. The wildflowers of spring and summer flood the mountain with colour and fragrance. Each winter, snow heralds the opening of Australia’s premier cross-country ski destination, Lake Mountain Alpine Resort.

7. O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail

Follow the historic O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail.

Nestled above the floor of the Upper Yarra Valley, O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail follows the historic open channelled O’Shannassy AqueductThe trail, stretching 30 kilometres in its entirety, passes mature fern gullies, creeks and plantations and offers spectacular views of the valley below.

8. Donnelly Weir Picnic Area

Take a short day walk or longer multi-day walk along the Bicentennial National Trail.

Donnellys Weir forms both the start and finish of the Bicentennial National Trail. A variety of walks from the picnic area cater for both casual and longer distance walkers.

Badger Weir Picnic Area, Yarra Ranges National Park, Victoria, Australia

9. Badger Weir Picnic Area

Have a picnic or barbecue at Badger Weir Picnic Area.

Badger Weir Picnic Area is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or barbecue. Visitors can enjoy fresh mountain air and forest walks passing through ancient fern gullies, across clear mountain streams and meandering amongst mighty Mountain Ash.

10. Fernshaw Picnic Area

Enjoy a picnic lunch at Fernshaw Picnic Area.

The picnic facilities include approximately 6 picnic tables scattered throughout a European garden area, a gas barbecue, toilet block and information shelter.

Yarra Ranges National Park Map

Yarra Ranges National Park Map

Yarra Ranges National Park Walks – 8 Locations

1. Marysville

Lady Talbot Drive provides the most spectacular rainforest walks in Marysville. Lady Talbot Drive starts on Woods Point Rd and follows the Taggerty River valley up under the western flanks of Lake Mountain to the top of Mt Margaret Gap. From here you can complete the 46km Lady Talbot Forest Drive by continuing down Mt Margaret Rd, through state forest to the Buxton – Marysville Rd and back to Marysville.

There are a number of forest walks, lookouts and picnic spots along the way. The major places of interest are Phantom Falls, Keppel Falls, Taggerty Cascades and The Beeches.

The Beeches Walk

Distance: 4km loop

Time: approx 2 hours

Grade: Moderate

Immerse yourself in the best rainforest trail the national park has to offer. This enjoyable circuit walk skirts through Mountain Ash regrowth before entering a delightful temperate rainforest of Myrtle Beech, Southern Sassafras, Blackwood, tall tree ferns and thick green mosses.

The trail passes Taggerty Cascades, which provide a noisy contrast to the quiet Whitehouse Creek. A number of timber bridges and floating boardwalks are crossed along the way. Lyrebirds are common in the area.

Keppel Falls

Distance: 2km return

Time: approx 45 mins

Grade: Moderate

An invigorating walk upstream along the Taggerty River, Keppel Falls is a tiered waterfall, rushing and tumbling down large boulders, slabs and mossy logs.

Named after the Keppel brothers who discovered the falls in the early 1880s, Keppel Falls drains the forested southern slopes of nearby Mt Margaret and is an impressive sight after snow melt and recent rain. A lookout is located below the falls.

Phantom Falls

Distance: 1.6km return

Time: approx 45 mins

Grade: Moderate

Phantom Falls rushes over smooth granite boulders, twisting and turning among fallen logs before cascading down to the Taggerty River. Tree ferns and Myrtle Beech line the walking trail that crosses two bridges along the way. 

There are extensive views of the river valley and the surrounding Mountain Ash skeletons are a stark reminder of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

2. Mt Donna Buang

At an elevation of 1245 metres, Mt Donna Buang offers panoramic views over Melbourne, the Yarra Valley, Dandenong and Cathedral Ranges, Mount Baw Baw and the Alps. While on the mountain you can take in a rainforest experience and even walk through the tree tops at the spectacular Rainforest Gallery. In winter, the mountain offers the closest and most accessible snow to Melbourne for family snow-play and tobogganing.

Times are estimates only. Allow more time if walking uphill towards Mount Donna Buang or in inclement weather.

Mt Donna Buang to 10 Mile Picnic Area

Distance: 1.2km

Time: 30 minutes

Grade: Moderate

This short walk from Mt Donna Buang to 10 Mile Picnic Area is a pleasant introduction to Mt Donna Buang.  Along the way, you can partake of the fresh water from the flowing mountain spring.

Mt Donna Buang to the Rainforest Gallery

Distance: 3km

Time: 1.5 hours

Grade: Moderate/Hard

A 350 metre long elevated walkway takes you through the Rainforest Gallery where you will see magnificent 65 metre tall old growth Mountain Ash trees, ancient Myrtle Beech trees (many of which are 300 to 400 years old), ferns, mosses and other plants that make up this damp and diverse rainforest environment.

There are several viewing spots along the walkway where you can pause and enjoy the sounds of Cement Creek flowing past on its journey to the Yarra River. Night-walk tours here reveal some of Victoria’s unique nocturnal creatures.

Mt Donna Buang return via Mt Victoria and 10 Mile

Distance: 6km

Time: 3 hours  

Grade: Moderate

The Mt Donna Buang – 10 Mile Turntable to Summit hike is one of the longer walks on Mt Donna Buang. Walk through mixed beech and eucalypt forest to the summit area. If the weather is clear, it is well worth climbing the lookout tower which has stunning views in all directions.

If you wish to extend the walk by an hour to Mt Victoria, on the return trip take the signposted track to Mt Victoria.

3. O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail

Nestled above the floor of the Upper Yarra Valley, the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail follows the historic open channelled O’Shannassy Aqueduct, meandering through pristine forest that has been protected for nearly 100 years for water harvesting. The trail stretches 30 kilometres through mature fern gullies, creeks and plantations and offers spectacular views of the valley below.

The aqueduct trail offers an excellent opportunity to relax in a peaceful environment while enjoying a walk, riding your bike or studying nature. There are fantastic picnic, sightseeing and photo opportunities available.

Bring your binoculars and camera and take advantage of the fantastic bird watching opportunities.


Planning your Walk

  • The O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail extends from Parrot Road near Woori Yallock to the O’Shannassy Weir in East Warburton.
  • The trail provides for short, medium and long distance walks and rides with several access points available.
  • The three metre wide hard surface is shared by walkers and bike riders.
  • For a longer hike, the trail can be linked to the popular Warburton Rail Trail at several locations.
  • Most of the trail is gentle and is ideal for the whole family and people of limited experience or mobility.
  • There are some steep sections, including access from the valley floor, that are more challenging and moderate fitness is required. Individuals should take care and adhere to advisory signage.
  • Organising car shuffles can be a useful way to maximise your walking experience.
Lake Mountain, Yarra Ranges National

4. Lake Mountain

All walks start from the main car park and visitor centre. The walks at Lake Mountain highlight the alpine regeneration from the Black Saturday bushfires and offer something different depending on the time of year. November to March is particularly popular for wildflowers. The many lookout points have spectacular views of the surrounding area and right across to Melbourne.

Lake Mountain Summit

Distance: 900 m (one way)

Time: approx 30 minutes

Grade: Easy

From the car park the track rises steeply for 200 metres before levelling to a gentle incline to the summit. Fifty metres before the summit a short track off to the right leads to the Marysville Lookout. Return to the car park the same way.

Summit Loop Walk

Distance: 4 km

Time: approx 2 hours

Grade: Moderate

This walk starts with the track to the Summit then winds its way under pristine snow gum canopy, taking in three spectacular lookouts, lichen covered granite rock faces and a small alpine bog. From the summit the track leads 300 metres to the Alps Lookout. Continuing on for 800 metres the track arrives at a junction. The right track continues the loop via the rock platform of Taggerty Valley View, back to the summit and car park.

To see Sherlocks Lookout take the left track for 100 metres, but remember to return to the junction to find the return track.

Leadbeaters Loop Walk

Distance: 4 km

Time: approx 2 hours

Grade: Easy

This loop walk starts on Echo Flat Ski Trail, passing the Snow Gauge and Helicopter Flat, before arriving at The Camp. From The Camp the walk winds back via Snow Gum Trail, then onto Home Trail and back to the car park. Signs along the way highlight various themes, including forest regeneration.

Day Loop Walk

Distance: 14 km

Time: approx 6-7 hours

Grade: Moderate/Hard

This walk is designed as an all day walk with plenty of resting places for picnics and views along the way. The walk starts on Royston Trail leaving from the lower car park behind the Ski Patrol Centre. At Triangle Junction it continues straight on Panorama Trail to Crossways and past Panorama Lookout back to Crossways. Heading back towards Triangle Junction the walk now turns left down Upper Muster Trail to arrive at The Gap. It then follows Woollybutt Trail onto Jubilee Trail. After winding around the full length of Jubilee Trail it arrives at The Camp. The return follows Snow Gum Trail past Helicopter Flat and turns left at Home Trail before arriving back at the car park.

Keppel Hut

Distance: 4 km

Time: approx 2 hours

Grade: Moderate

Keppel Hut has been re-built since the 2009 fires and is accessible via Lake Mountain ski trails. This walk starts past Crossways at the junction of Panorama Trail and Hut Trail. Follow Hut Trail and then Boundary Walking Track until you reach Keppel Hut.

Keppel Hut is also accessible by 4WD via Marysville State Forest.

5. Badger Weir

Badger Weir Old-style shingle roof rotundas, landscaped grounds and barbecues, all bounded by spectacular forest, make a picnic with family and friends a memorable experience.

Short walks abound around Badger Weir.

Badger Weir via Slip Creek Track

Distance: 1.4 km

Time: approx 30 minutes

Grade: Moderate

The many steps on the fern gully boardwalk make this walk unsuitable for prams and strollers.

Badger Weir via Coranderrk Track

Distance: 1.1km

Time: approx 30 minutes

Grade: Easy

The Coranderrk Track follows a vehicle track to Badger Weir.

Badger Weir via Lyrebird Track

Distance: 1.1km

Time: approx 30 minutes

Grade: Easy

The Lyrebird Track has a few steps.

6. Maroondah Reservoir

See the 41 metre high dam wall, historic valve houses, the ‘Rose Stairway,’ exotic trees, native eucalypts, scenic lookout and the reservoir spillway (overflowing during spring, depending on seasonal conditions).

Lookout Track (crosses the dam wall)

Distance: 1km  

Time: approx 30 minutes  

Grade: Moderate

Start at the information shelter north of the main carpark area and see the many attractions below the dam wall before climbing the Rose Stairway for spectacular views of the reservoir. A bitumen walking track at the eastern end of the carpark also leads to the top of the dam wall.

Maroondah Forest Track

Distance: 800m  

Time: approx 15 minutes  

Grade: Moderate

This track connects the Lookout and Henderson’s Picnic Area via a pleasant forest walk.

Scenic Views Track

Distance: 1.3km  

Time: approx 30 minutes  

Grade: Easy

Start at the top carpark and wind through grassed areas with large exotic trees and mountain views before heading to the top of the dam wall.

Henderson’s Hill Track

Distance: 1.4km  

Time: approx 40 minutes  

Grade: Moderate

Leaving Henderson’s Picnic Area at the footbridge over the Watts River the track climbs to the top of Henderson’s Hill and back down to the access road. At this point, return to Henderson’s Picnic Area or continue on to Donnelly’s Weir.

Maroondah Reservoir to Donnellys Weir

Distance: 2.8km  

Time: approx 1 hour (one way) 

Grade: Easy

Starting from Henderson’s Hill Track stroll through forests of tree-ferns and eucalypts with a stop at Echo Tunnel where the pipe connecting Maroondah Reservoir to the aqueduct emerges from under the hill.

For a slightly longer walk you can take the alternative route via the Maroondah Forest Track, or for a steeper, more strenuous walk there is an alternative route over Henderson’s Hill.

7. Donnellys Weir

Donnellys Weir forms both the start and finish of The Bicentennial National Trail. A variety of walks from the Picnic Area cater for both casual and longer distance walkers. All times are estimates only.

Condons Track

Distance: 8 km

Time: approx 3.5 hours (one way)

Grade: Difficult

This walk is for experienced bushwalkers only and is very steep. Beginning on Road 17 just past Echo Tunnel, the track climbs the slopes of Mt Monda through ancient fern gullies and tall, wet Mountain Ash forest. From Road 9 Mt Monda return to Donnellys Weir via Condons Track, or follow the sign posts on Road 9 to Mt St Leonard.

The entire circuit from Donnellys Weir to Mt Monda, Mt St Leonard and back to the weir is 21km and takes seven to eight hours.

Mt St Leonard Track

Distance: 8km

Time: approx 3 hours (one way)

Grade: Moderate

Incorporating part of The Bicentennial National Trail, this track passes through mixed eucalypt forest and offers magnificent views across the Yarra Valley from the summit of Mt St Leonard.

8. Fernshaw

Fernshaw Picnic Area is located at the foot of the Black Spur amid Mountain Ash and Fir trees. There are walking tracks, a parking area, picnic and barbecue facilities and toilets. The picnic area is located 11 km north-east of Healesville on the eastern side of the Maroondah Highway and is open daily.

Morley’s Track

Distance: 5.5km

Time: approx 3 hours (one way)

Grade: Moderate

The well-known Morley’s Track starts at the picnic area takes you to the Dom Dom Saddle, and then on to Mt Donna Buang.

Explore more of Yarra Valley

                                          You are here >    Home  >  Australia  >  Victoria  >  Melbourne  >  Yarra Valley  >  Yarra Ranges National Park

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!