The 13-kilometre Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail connecting the townships of Cockatoo, Gembrook and Emerald has finally finished and locals can’t wait to hit the tracks.  

Federal Member for La Trobe Jason Wood said the construction, which involved the creation of a 5.5 kilometre multi-use trail between the Cockatoo town centre and the Gembrook Sports Ground, will be a great addition to the existing Emerald to Cockatoo trail.

“Easier access to the iconic Puffing Billy Railway Station is now possible, thanks to an additional branch trail from the Gembrook Sports Ground – enhancing the profile and visitor experience of the Puffing Billy Railway corridor,” Mr Wood said.

“This beautiful new trail will be a drawcard for visitors and boost tourism to the region. With safe pedestrian access, the trail will promote an increase in recreational walking, jogging and cycling and improve connectivity across the townships.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Liberal and Nationals’ Government’s investment of $1 million will deliver economic growth and job opportunities to the Dandenong Ranges area.

“In addition to creating eight jobs during construction, this project will support 13 ongoing roles in the community, which means more people spending more money and creating jobs in the community,” Mr McCormack said.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Collin Ross said the completion of the project will encourage the local community to remain active and enhance the site as a tourist attraction.

“Planning and delivering this project has been a collaborative effort and would not have been possible without the joint funding and cooperation of the Australian and Victorian governments, Cardinia Shire Council and Puffing Billy Railway,” Cr Ross said.

This project was jointly funded with the Liberal and Nationals’ Government investing $1 million, the Victorian Government $545,000, and Cardinia Shire Council $623,563.


Hannah Maguire