The 40-kilometre drive from Melbourne via Burwood Highway or Canterbury Road takes approximately 1 hour. Alternatively, take the train to Upper Ferntree Gully or Belgrave station. Melway maps 52, 65, 74, 75, 120 and 122 give additional details.
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Doongalla Doongalla is a steeply sloping area at the foot of Mt Dandenong. There is an unofficial parking area used by visitors with a disability on a dirt road beside the picnic lawn and gardens. From this point the site is more easily accessible. No accessible toilet facilities are provided. The Stables Picnic Ground is only a short distance along the road and has water and recently installed accessible toilets. Fern Tree Gully Picnic Area Fern Tree Gully Picnic Area has extensive picnicking facilities, including shelters. Designated accessible toilets and car spaces are available. A Parks Victoria office has interpretive information about the features of the park. Facilities are good and generally accessible. Grants Picnic Area Grants Picnic Area is in a natural forest setting, and has some features and facilities accessible to visitors with a disability. There is an accessible nature circuit walk - the Margaret Lester Walk. Picnic facilities include shelter. The toilet has been upgraded and is fully compliant. One Tree Hill One Tree Hill is a forest picnic site serviced by a flat sealed car parking area. The area is free of major obstacles. The toilets include a designated accessible facility, but it does not meet current access standards. The approach is no longer rough and has a small step. Valley Picnic Ground Valley Picnic Ground is nestled in the tall wet forest of the Dandenong Ranges. The site has basic picnic facilities and toilets. The car park is surrounded by a low fence with gaps left for access. The unisex toilet designated as an accessible facility is not always operational, and has a poor approach path.
The park is rich in wildlife with 130 native bird species, 31 native mammals, 21 reptiles and nine amphibian species recorded, including the elusive Lyrebird. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Crimson Rosellas, Laughing Kookaburras, Eastern Yellow Robins, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and Pied Currawongs are some of the native birds most frequently seen in the park. Nocturnal animals include possums, gliders and owls which make use of the tree hollows found in mature trees.
The plant communities in the park are remnants of the original vegetation that has receded over the last 150 years with the rapid growth of Melbourne's suburbs. Dandenong Ranges National Park has six major vegetation communities in which about 400 indigenous plant species occur. The park is particularly well known for its spectacular mountain ash forests and fern gullies. Other vegetation communities include cool temperate rainforest, box stringybark woodland, riparian forest, mountain grey gum, messmate forest and sclerophyll woodland. The park supports significant plants such as the Slender Tree-fern and Summer Spider Orchid. Fire plays an important role in the ecology of the vegetation and is an on-going issue for residents of the Ranges.