What to do at the park

Please note that due to current maintenance works on Lake Treganowan, parking and road access to Emerald Lake Park is limited. For this reason, we encourage you to avoid driving to the park if possible. Getting to us by train or via a walking track from Emerald township are 2 great travel alternatives.

Emerald Lake Park covers an area of about 52 hectares and features the beautiful Lake Treganowan and Lake Nobelius as well as gardens and natural bushland.

The park has 10 kilometres of walking trails, paddleboats, fishing, picnic tables and shelters, a wading pool open during summer, 2 playgrounds, a model railway and amphitheatres which you can book to use.

The park is home to both native and exotic plants, with many fern gullies and open eucalypt forests. Many animals which live in the park are nocturnal and can be harder to spot during the day, however you might see purple swamp hens, eurasian cootes, ducks, dusky moorhens, kookaburras, rosellas, echidnas, and black wallabies.

Right next door to the park you will also find Emerald Museum and Nobelius Heritage Park.

The park is owned and managed by Council with the help of the Friends of Emerald Lake Park. Emerald Museum and Nobelius Heritage Park are managed by a volunteer committee under the authority of Council.

To book any of the shelters below please submit the park booking enquiry form. For more information email parks@cardinia.vic.gov.au

Located in the centre of the park, the Boatshed can accommodate up to 40 people and offers easy access to all facilities and activities. A good location to view the lake and Puffing Billy’s arrival.

Hire cost: $65 per day.

Set amongst the trees, the Lakeside shelter offers views across the lake. Suitable for groups up to 40 people, it is close to the wading pool and children’s playground.

Hire cost: $65 per day.

The largest of the shelters, Lions Den can accommodate up to 100 people and is located above the model railway. The shelter has access to toilets and a free barbecue. Parking is available directly beside the shelter.

Hire cost: $150 per day.

Messmate is the second largest of the shelters, with space for 60 people. It has 2 free barbecues. Located beside the Puffing Billy Railway line, Messmate offers a prime position to see Puffing Billy. Parking is available close by.

Hire cost: $94 per day.

Located above the wading pool near the playground, Poolside is centrally located and will accommodate up to 40 people. It's a great place for family gatherings.

Hire cost: $65 per day.

Australia’s premier preserved steam train stops in Emerald Lake Park at Lakeside station, as part of its journey through the stunning Dandenong Ranges.

Visit the Puffing Billy website for all ticketing, timetable and event information.

It has seating for more than 100 people (indoors and outdoor), and can be booked for groups and functions

Enquiries: 5968 5113

Open 7 days, 9am–4.30pm (may stay open later during warmer months at manager's discretion). 

Closed Christmas Day. 

Lake Treganowan is restocked with rainbow trout during the year by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, which makes it a great place to take the kids fishing.

  • Please dispose of all fishing line and tackle responsibly to prevent injuries to birds, animals and other people.
  • You can only catch a certain number of fish at the lake on a given day. See catch limits on the Victorian Fisheries Authority website
  • Size limits do not apply.
  • Removed the hook before throwing back any fish.
  • Bring your own bait; digging for worms is not allowed

Note: you will need to have a Victorian recreational fishing licence to fish at the lake.

Six murals created by a local artist in the mid-1980s are spread around the park.

'Before settlement'

Shows the typical Emerald landscape before white settlement, including flora and fauna.

Gold rush

Shows the Emerald gold rush in the late 1850s.

Logging and droving 

The Dandenong Ranges were extensively logged from the start of white settlement until the late 1950s; this mural shows a typical scene, with a splitters hut in the background.


Designed as an Edwardian postcard showing Carl Axel Nobelius.

Puffing Billy

The train is an integral part of the history of the Dandenong Ranges.


This mural portrays four writers associated with ‘the hills’: Katherine Susannah Prichard, Vance and Nettie Palmer, and CJ Dennis.

For more information go to the Model Railway website

Both Emerald Museum and Nobelius Heritage Park are managed by a volunteer committee under the authority of Council.

Paddleboats can be hired from Lake Treganowan and for any school group bookings can be made and taken midweek. They are available for hire every day the park is open, weather permitting. If you are visiting the park during cooler months, please call ahead to avoid disappointment.

All paddleboats are 2-seaters. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please let the paddleboat operators know if you need help getting into the paddleboat. Please be advised that lifejackets are compulsary for all paddleboat users. (Available in adult and children’s sizes).

Hire cost

15 minutes $15
20 minutes $16
30 minutes $25

Group booking rates available. 

Enquiries (between 9am and 5pm only please):  0419 873 115 

The pool is open during December, January, February and March when the temperature is 26 degrees or more.

The pool will not open: 

  • when it is wet or stormy
  • on CFA-declared 'Extreme' and 'Code Red' day

To find out if the pool opening times, visit the Cardinia Leisure website, the Cardinia Outdoor Pools Facebook page or phone 5945 2888

Emerald Lake Park has a number of tracks and trails, from shorter trails for those after a relaxing stroll to longer, more challenging hikes.

Emerald Lake Park walking trails
Track Difficulty Distance Time Other
Link Track Moderate to difficult, short but steep 250m 5 minutes  
Lake Nobelius Loop Track Easy 1.2km (loop) 15 minutes Wheelchair friendly
Pine Track Easy to moderate 1km 15 minutes  
Wishing Well Track Easy to moderate 700m 10 minutes  
Fern Gully Track Difficult (steep in sections) 700m 15 minutes  
Nobelius Track Moderate (one steep section) 1.4km 20 minutes  
Emerald-Cockatoo Multi-use Trail (part) Easy to moderate 1km (within Emerald Lake Park) 20 minutes  

Download the Emerald Lake Park walking trails brochure

Virtual Ranger trail

The Virtual Ranger Trail allows you to get information sent to your mobile phone or other smart device connected to the internet.

Look out for the 10 Virtual Ranger Trail posts located around the park and scan the QR codes for information like audio, text, images and graphics on the park’s plants, animals and history.

Check the online events calendar for events at the park.

The park's free Easter treasure hunt is held each year on Easter Sunday between 11am and 3pm. An activity sheet to participate in the hunt is available on the day from the cafe, model railway, Lakeside station or the environment centre.

For more information call 1300 787 624 or email mail@cardinia.vic.gov.au

Each year in May, runners race against Puffing Billy along a 13.5 kilometre course from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park.

Visit the Puffing Billy website for more information.

This popular music event is on every Sunday in February. All concerts are held in the bandstand at Emerald Lake Park at 12.30pm.

For details visit the Summer Music Series.