Experience the Dandenongs

Mount Dandenong & Surrounds


Preparing For Winter – The Dandenongs’ Coziest Activities

Prepping your home for winter can be a cost-cutting move that saves money on heating bills. By caulking around windows and doors to close gaps and replace worn weather stripping as necessary, you could see significant savings on heating costs.

No visit to the Dandenong Ranges would be complete without exploring one or more hill gardens, such as those found at National Rhododendron Gardens and Mont De Lancey Homestead. Admire their exotic flowers, blooming rhododendrons and fern gullies!

1. Take a Hike

Dandenong Ranges offers plenty of scenic trails that are suitable for hikers of all levels – whether that means something simple like 1000 steps, or more difficult routes like Olinda Falls & Valley Circuit, there is sure to be something perfect!

walks can also be an amazing way to enjoy nature. Along your walk you’re likely to come across local fauna such as wallabies and koalas; or maybe catch sight of an iconic Superb Lyrebird! Visit places such as Grants Picnic Ground and Emerald Lake Park where there’s ample opportunities for bird watching – you might spot red rosellas, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos or Australian King Parrots amongst many other stunning bird species!

Alfred Nicholas Gardens are an impressive sight, known for their captivating water features, romantic fern-fringed lake, boathouse, and vibrant array of colors that grace it year-round. Couples often come here for wedding photos. Or take a ride on Puffing Billy Railway and marvel at its vintage charm as you pass over historic trestle bridges!

2. Visit the Botanic Gardens

Mountain air and forest environments will fuel winter adventures, whether that means taking to one of Melbourne’s many spectacular walking trails, strolling through an idyllic fairytale garden or treating yourself to a high-tea. And what makes it all even better is that everything’s only a short drive away!

Sherbrooke Forest offers family-friendly hiking trails where you can bask in crisp mountain air. Walk the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens or George Tindale Memorial Garden where age-old ferns compete for space with towering mountain ash trees; or venture deep into Pirianda Gardens and be enveloped by nature’s magical presence with exotic trees that will spark children’s imaginations.

The National Rhododendron Garden and Garden Cafe are two must-see spots for garden lovers and horticulturists, while Puffing Billy offers an experience back into time – it is Australia’s oldest heritage steam railway and popular with both adults and kids alike!

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3. Go on a Day Trip

Dandenong Ranges are an exquisite experience to visit year round, yet each season brings with it unique colors that add character and add new flavour to this lush region.

Stretch your legs aboard Australia’s oldest steam train on a trip aboard Puffing Billy Railway – Australia’s oldest steam train that has delighted generations of Melburnians and visitors since 1900. Let your legs dangle over carriage sills as you pass towering Mountain Ash trees and trestle bridges for a truly authentic Melbourne experience.

Test your hiking abilities at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (commonly referred to as One Thousand Steps), located in Sherbrooke Forest and named to honor Australian soldiers who fought in Papua New Guinea during World War II. This trail pays homage to them all!

William Ricketts Sanctuary offers visitors over 90 intricate ceramic sculptures hidden among its ferns and tree ferns for an uplifting spiritual experience. While it can get busy at times along the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, you’re sure to find peace amidst these natural works of art.

4. Visit the Tesselaar KaBloom

One of the greatest experiences available in the Dandenongs is taking a day trip to one of its picturesque gardens. Alfred Nicholas Gardens features spring blooming rhododendrons, camellias, and daffodils; Tesselaar KaBloom blooms tulips galore; Sherbrooke Falls offers autumn hues; all these make a visit a hill garden an experience not to be missed!

Visit Melbourne’s East during the 2023 Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival and immerse yourself in an artistic circus full of vibrant flowers – marigolds, tulips and wildflowers will make Instagrammers happy; or watch a circus show featuring dancing flower fairies, pixies and sprites!

Take a stroll along Sherbrooke Falls’s serene fern-fringed lake, with its Boathouse and listen out for Rosellas or laughing Kookaburras calling from treetops. Explore nearby Sassafras and Olinda villages offering delightful cafes and shops like Pie in the Sky for Devonshire teas and cakes as well as Geppetto’s Workshop with handmade puppets, spinning tops and wooden puzzles by local artisans.

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5. Visit the National Rhododendron Garden

The Dandenong Ranges boast more than just scenic hiking trails; they also feature beautiful parks and gardens, such as the National Rhododendron Garden (formerly known as Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden). This scenic park is famous for its vibrant flower displays featuring rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, cherries, and daffodils among many other blooms – it even features decorative lakes, sensory gardens, deep fern gullies and small gardens!

Melburnians love visiting Dandenong Ranges Park during summer. You can explore on family-friendly walking trails or picnic at Grants Picnic Ground; both provide fantastic opportunities to experience nature while taking a break from city life. With its majestic Mountain Ash forests and abundant native wildlife, you will truly experience nature at its finest! Take in all that the Dandenong Ranges have to offer while getting away from city noise – a wonderful respite in which to recharge!

William Ricketts Sanctuary can be found at the base of Mount Dandenong and is one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets. A tranquil space featuring over 93 intricate ceramic sculptures hidden among its eucalyptus forest.

6. Shop in Sassafras or Olinda

Experience an enjoyable shopping adventure at Sassafras and Olinda townships, home to specialty stores, local designers, and imported homeware. Children will especially enjoy Geppetto’s Workshop, with traditional wooden toys such as marionettes and hand puppets made out of wood. Other favourites include The Deli Platter and Pie in the Sky which offer delicious take-home meals that include imported cheese to pair perfectly with wine by the fireplace.

Staying in the Dandenong Ranges with your family can provide an unforgettable winter wonderland experience. Cosy cafes and restaurants serve up traditional Devonshire tea with freshly picked seasonal fruits, such as strawberries or fruit from nearby farms, along with gourmet dishes prepared using locally-grown produce. There are also luxurious guesthouses and boutique accommodation that blend old world style with modern comforts; children will especially love riding the Puffing Billy railway from Belgrave to Gembrook – one of Australia’s most beloved rail trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders!

7. Take a Ride on the Puffing Billy Railway

Experience Australia’s finest heritage steam railway, Puffing Billy. Enjoy lush fern gullies gracing the side of your carriage and towering Mountain Ash eucalyptus trees above as this ultimate Melbourne experience unfolds daily from Belgrave to Lakeside and further onward to Gembrook – it’s sure to provide plenty of scenic delights along the Dandenong Ranges and Melbourne park!

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Discover enchanting forests, fairytale gardens and eclectic villages. Invigorate your senses with crisp mountain air while walking family-friendly trails; satisfy your tastebuds at one of cosy cafes or restaurants serving delicious food and beverages; watch seasons change in Sherbrooke Forest as well as Olinda, Sassafras and Belgrave villages where mist or snow may soften the breeze in winter; discover unique forests, fairytale gardens and eclectic villages!

If you find yourself in Dandenongs this autumn, make sure to visit Tesselaar KaBloom to witness an extraordinary floral show of vibrant tulips lining fields across its vast grounds – one of the most beloved traditions and attractions! This spectacular floral spectacle makes for one of the top attractions every spring and fall season in Dandenongs.

8. Visit SkyHigh Mount Dandenong

SkyHigh Mount Dandenong is an unforgettable attraction within an hour’s drive of Melbourne and makes for a great family outing or traveller stopover. Refurbished in 2004, this complex offers breathtaking views of both city and port life as well as vibrant gardens, walks, hedge maze, picnic areas, family bistro seating areas and barbecue facilities for an unforgettable dining experience – the latter featuring spectacular twinkling Melbourne scenes below as the sun goes down! For an extra special memory make plans to dine here while watching Melbourne come to life beneath!

Emerald Lake Park provides the ideal outdoor experience, offering two lakes with barbecue areas and grassy patches as well as walking trails leading through fern glades, with activities for kids such as Giant’s Chair and Wishing Tree to keep everyone occupied for hours!

Burrinja Cultural Centre provides the perfect environment for art enthusiasts. Boasting multiple gallery spaces and theatre performances, studios for artists, a creative space dedicated to children activities, studio spaces for artists as well as studio spaces dedicated to studio work are available as well.