Experience the Dandenongs

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A Tour of the Dandenongs’ Most Beautiful Gardens

The Alfred Nicholas Gardens are an idyllic spot, complete with rock walls, a lake and boathouse for boating activities, picnicking areas and numerous blooming flowerbeds that blossom all year long.

Healesville Sanctuary provides visitors with opportunities to interact with various Australian wildlife through “meet the handler” sessions and wildlife displays, as well as offering numerous trails suitable for bushwalking.

Alfred Nicholas Gardens

Melbourne’s southeast hills can best be appreciated when explored through their surrounding gardens. Melbourne’s Dandenongs boast deep volcanic loam soil and over 1.25 metres of rain annually, as well as numerous nurseries offering everything from roses to mature trees.

Alfred Nicholas Gardens are one of Melbourne’s premier parks, located in Sherbrooke on Melbourne’s eastern outskirts. Once known as Burnham Beeches – a 1930s streamline-moderne mansion constructed for Aspro sales magnate Alfred Nicholas – these gorgeous gardens now attract many visitors, who come for its picturesque waterfalls and ornamental lake featuring an antique boathouse.

Year round, visitors to these stunning gardens are treated to an eyeful of colour and variety. Set amid an incredible Mountain ash forest, they feature rock gardens, fern gullies, flowering azaleas and camellias, native shrubbery and exotic trees; as well as vibrantly hued Rhododendrons which bloom brightly each Spring.

As you meander through the gardens, their many connecting paths make it easy to explore different areas and discover hidden gems. Furthermore, this fantastic garden hosts an astounding range of wildlife from king parrots and bright-feathered rosellas to ducks and kookaburras – making for an incredible visit!

Gardens at Westover Farm Park feature benches, picnic tables and scenic lookouts which make them the ideal location for family outings or leisurely strolls. A lake features a charming boathouse as a focal point and provides the ideal spot for a leisurely picnic lunch.

Just minutes away from the lakes lies the incredible SkyHigh Maze – four secrets to uncover and brain training suitable for all members of your family (though not recommended for very young ones). Furthermore, these gardens host several Children’s Festivals throughout the year – perfect for family days out!

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From the Gardens it is only a short drive to nearby towns such as Kallista and Sassafras where there is an array of shops and restaurants. Additionally, during peak spring flowering season a bus tour operated by Parks Victoria called Garden Explorer provides another alternative option to traversing roads on foot – more information on this can be found on their website.

George Tindale Memorial Garden

George Tindale Memorial Garden (Pallants Hill) was created on the hills between Olinda and Sherbrooke by a couple who share an appreciation of horticulture. Purchased initially as farm property by agricultural scientist George Tindale (1903 – 1977), over time this property has become one of the finest gardens in Dandenong Ranges.

Today’s garden continues to reflect the vision of its founders: it continues to delight with plants and flowers that offer seasonal interest throughout. Trees, shrubs, and blooms are especially stunning during spring blooming seasons when more than 40 hectares of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias, and Other Exotics come into bloom.

This garden showcases both native and exotic plants suited to Dandenongs’ cool temperate climate, such as deep volcanic loam soil with 1.25 metres of rainfall per year and 1.25 foot-depth of rainfall per year on average. Paths wind their way between exotic plantings and tree fern gullies dominated by blackwood trees; additionally there are stone walls constructed between 1960-1980 by gardener Margaret Ansell’s team who built them out. While abroad she collected unusual species that added even further depth to this remarkable garden of specimen trees, shrubs and flowers!

These gardens provide the ideal spot for families looking for somewhere to stretch their legs, with playground and sandpit, plus plenty of open lawn for playing games or spreading out a picnic blanket and relaxing. Kangaroos and wallabies may even make an appearance when visiting; keep your eyes peeled!

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After working up an appetite exploring Alowyn Gardens, stop in at their maple courtyard cafe for lunch or snacks – they serve a delicious selection of baked goods along with wines and coffee for you to choose from! For an after-prandial stroll of Alowyn Gardens why not hop aboard their Garden Explorer bus for a 25-minute tour?

William Rickett’s Sanctuary

William Ricketts Sanctuary is a tranquil and tranquil garden featuring 92 evocative sculptures of Aboriginal people nestled into the ferns and mountain ash trees on four acres in this four-acre park. Ricketts aimed to create this relaxing atmosphere so visitors could reflect upon our relationship to nature, drawing inspiration from his time spent working alongside Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal communities of central Australia as well as his spiritual travels throughout India.

Gardens at Fort Maclear are open all year, but at their most vibrant during spring when rhododendrons and azaleas bloom into full color, creating an explosion of hues throughout the garden.

Your guide will offer insight into Ricketts and his life’s work, so that you may fully appreciate each sculpture representing aspects of Aboriginal culture, lifestyle and spirituality.

After exploring the gardens, stop at the nearby cafe for a coffee and freshly-baked scone. This charming venue provides seating both indoors and outdoors and serves a range of food, drinks and snacks including gluten-free and vegan items on its menu.

This garden, situated a short drive from Melbourne city center, is a favorite destination among both residents and visitors. Offering breathtaking views of surrounding hills and mountains, its establishment dates back to 1920s and 30s when its unique Japanese-influenced architecture first took form. Today the gardens contain thousands of species of plants making this garden one of Australia’s premier botanical gardens.

Take Canterbury Road from Melbourne to Montrose and turn left onto Mt Dandenong Tourist Road before reaching the park. Unfortunately, due to severe damage from June’s cyclogenesis storm event, this garden is currently closed at present; Parks Victoria are working towards reopening it and will keep their website up-to-date as this progresses. We thank you for your patience as we work to reopen it for everyone’s enjoyment!

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Alowyn Gardens

Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges boast some of Melbourne’s most stunning gardens, made even more special by their rich, nutrient-rich soils and climate. Flowers thrive here – whether that be rose gardens, expansive wisteria archways or French Renaissance-style parterres; Melbourne gardens of this region will surely inspire and amaze.

The best way to explore Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges is on foot, ideally with a picnic basket in hand. However, for those seeking something more relaxing there are numerous twilight events held throughout summer that provide a quiet evening stroll as well as musical performances by opera singers or string ensembles; perfect for taking in its serenity while admiring nature at its finest.

Just a short drive from Melbourne’s center, the Yarra Valley and Dandenongs provide a relaxing escape perfect for weekend trips. Offering rolling hills of vine-clad cottages, steam trains passing over photogenic trestle bridges and cozy lunch dwellings; this region is one of Melbourne’s top getaway spots.

Undulge in a relaxing experience and admire nature at one of many free gardens in Yarra Valley and Dandenongs, such as Yarra Valley Botanic Garden, Alowyn Gardens, Cloudehill Nursery & Gardens or Pirianda Gardens.

The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges boast many spectacular gardens that are open to the public, including some known for their award-winning designs. You can also book a private tour to experience these magical gardens first-hand with an experienced guide.

After working up an appetite, satisfy it at the Maple Court Cafe of Alowyn Gardens by indulging in freshly baked scones and flat whites from Maple Court Cafe’s freshly made ovens – then take a stroll through its gardens filled with wisteria-covered arches, silver birch forests, display gardens designed with strong symmetrical lines that become blurred by their surroundings and graceful trees.