From bush to bay, Cardinia is a large region with fewer residents than most parts of Melbourne, so there’s space to discover.
You get the best of all worlds in Cardinia. This large local council area — at least by area — extends from the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges to the shore of Western Port. So, whether you’re looking for walks in the temperate rainforest or a swim at the beach, you can discover it all here.
If you’ve got the kids with you, start at Emerald, where you can take an old-fashioned trip on the Puffing Billy Railway. Steam through Sherbrooke Forest and over the trestle bridge on your journey, before arriving back in Emerald, where you should definitely drop by The General Foodstore for lunch. Otherwise, jump off at Gembrook, where you can stop at the Ranges Hotel, a heritage pub serving hearty fare.
Bunyip State Park sits at the northwest corner of Cardinia. Starting at Camp Road, you can take a beautiful 3.3km walk that winds through woodland and a wet heathland. The longer Mortimer Walk stretches for 9.4km through the forest, but there are few hills and it’s well signed so is suitable for just about everyone.
At the other end of Cardinia is Lang Lang Beach, a serene spot surrounded by beef and dairy farms, as well as market gardens. You can launch your kayak off the beach here for an easy paddle along the foreshore.