Experience the Dandenongs

Mount Dandenong & Surrounds

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The Dandenongs’ Secret Hiking Spots Locals Love

A must for fitness buffs and families, the Thousand Steps Trail provides an idyllic forest escape. Keep your eye out for wallabies and lyrebirds as you wander along lush fern gullies.

Cloudehill Gardens offer breathtaking sweeping views and vibrant blooms to delight green-fingered visitors, along with picturesque mountain villages and vibrant art galleries to discover – or take the Puffing Billy for an unforgettable train journey for an unforgettable day trip experience!

William Rickett’s Sanctuary

William Rickett’s Sanctuary features an exhibition of 92 sculptures spread out over four acres of fern gully land on Mount Dandenong. These 92 works represent Australian Aboriginals and native Australian animals from Central Australia Dreamtime legends, and often reference Central Australian Dreamtime legends. Ricketts was an untrained artist who became fascinated with their spirituality after travelling to Central Australia where he immersed himself into both Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara tribe cultures before beginning his own clay sculpture creations.

After becoming well-known in his local community, he purchased property on Mount Dandenong and set about creating his own art trail. Word spread about his mysterious sculptures hidden among ferns along forest paths; soon enough people from all over the globe began flocking to visit his Sanctuary.

Ricketts lived on his property until his death in 1993, continuing to create sculptures throughout. To honor his legacy and preserve his works for future generations to experience, the Victorian government acquired and turned it into an art trail open for public enjoyment.

Apart from its 92 sculptures, the Sanctuary also houses a cottage and workshop. Within this cottage is a small shop selling books and limited gifts; postcards are also available within its walls.

Ricketts was passionate about depicting indigenous people and their connection to nature, an idea which Ricketts was depicting through sculptures that depict them. Other pieces depict winged angels, native wildlife statues or even himself emerging from one of kangaroo bodies (which has long been seen as symbolic of eternal youth). Ricketts even claimed membership of a totem called Lyrebird which symbolized eternal youth.

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The Sanctuary provides an idyllic fern gully setting to unwind and appreciate artworks while learning about Aboriginal culture and history.

William Rickett’s Sanctuary is open all year long and free to enter, while nearby Alfred Nichols Gardens and National Rhododendron Gardens make for ideal picnic spots if you want to extend your visit.

SkyHigh Mount Dandenong

Explore the peaceful Dandenong Ranges to experience its secret fern glades, towering forests, and eclectic villages – or hop aboard one of two historic trains to take in all this beauty around Christmas time: Puffing Billy or Train of Lights trips are sure to leave an impression!

SkyHigh, located along Mt Dandenong Tourist Road in Upper Ferntree Gully, is one of Melbourne’s highest peaks, providing stunning panoramic views from a stunning viewpoint. The hard-surfaced track follows a steady gradient weaves through spectacular Mountain Ash forest where you may spot native animals during this popular walk.

The 1000 steps trail, or Kokoda Walk as locals refer to it, is frequently popular among hikers – particularly during morning and weekend hours – yet don’t let this deter you. Although its name might exaggerate its length and beauty, this popular hike still deserves your consideration; enjoy breathtaking views, discover mystical sculptures hidden among ferns, and learn about Kokoda Track Memorial Walk by reading plaques along its length.

Start from the car park near Singleton Track and head along Fireline Track for around 300 metres before turning left onto Link Track to head uphill over wide undulating path with some steep sections until eventually reaching Jens Hellish Ascent.

If you prefer easier walks, simply follow the fire service tracks to Burkes Lookout for stunning views over Melbourne, Port Phillip Bay, the You Yangs and Mt Macedon.

Are you in the area? Take advantage of one of the numerous picnic spots by bringing along some wine, cheese and crackers or packing a BBQ for a fun afternoon of picnicking and relaxing! Additionally, there is also an on-site restaurant which serves up modern Australian cuisine such as seared prawns with macadamia nut sambal, green mango salad and nuoc cham; or roast lamb rump with peperonata, polenta broccolini and red wine jus.

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Sherbrooke Forest National Park

Sherbrooke Forest National Park is one of the most breathtaking locations in Australia’s Dandenong Ranges, famed for its ancient mountain ash forests and lush gullies. Visitors come from all across Australia to admire this park’s picturesque scenery; as well as numerous wildlife species like echidnas, wombats, samp wallabies and possums which call Sherbrooke home.

This park is known for its beautiful wildflower displays in spring, and vibrant autumn hues in fall. It makes an excellent place for strolling amongst the blooms or witnessing spectacular autumn colours at mighty gum trees – not forgetting hikers and cyclists too.

Sherbrooke Forest offers many scenic picnic spots and trails that lead to picturesque locations, while Sherbrooke Falls are an absolute must-see attraction in Sherbrooke Forest, accessible via Sherbrooke Picnic Ground or O’Donohue Picnic Ground and with access from both of them. Though small in scale, Sherbrooke Falls are breathtaking sight; accessible either during winter months or following heavy rainstorms – as can be seen with access from either of them!

Sherbrooke Forest National Park is home to an abundance of native animals and birds that you can observe while strolling along its trails. You’ll also witness indigenous plants growing in its mossy gullies; and see indigenous tribal cultural sites for Bunurong and Wooroonwoorrong Aboriginal tribes here too – making this park an excellent way for locals to relax and reenergize themselves.

Sherbrooke Forest National Park provides an ideal getaway or challenging hiking adventure, making it the ideal place for everyone from casual visitors to avid outdoor enthusiasts alike. However, dogs are prohibited as this park is located nearby residential zones where their presence has caused irreparable harm to local fauna – therefore leaving your pooch at home will ensure a better visit experience! If planning on visiting this national park with your pup.

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Sherbrooke Forest is a popular picnicking location and an ideal location for experiencing stunning mountain views of Mount Dandenong. Furthermore, Sherbrooke offers excellent bushwalking trails suitable for novice and expert hikers alike.

Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens

Dandenong Ranges are one of Melbourne’s primary scenic draws, known for their natural sites and lush landscapes. Situated near Victoria’s capital city, they also boast vibrant rural settlements, scenic lookouts and luxurious lodging choices.

With its abundance of natural parks, scenic walking trails, and peaceful picnic spots tucked into this mountain region is the ideal spot to escape city life and unwind in tranquility. Visitors looking for more tranquil experiences should head to Grants Picnic Ground or Sherbrooke Forest Walk where lush forest landscapes await as you keep an eye out for local wildlife such as wallabies and echidnas!

Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens (formerly the National Rhododendron Garden) features spectacular blooms such as rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, cherries and daffodils that change seasonaly – an unforgettable floral spectacle all year long! At 42 hectares this park provides floral delight all year round.

An enjoyable stroll through the gardens’ fern gullies, rock gardens and vast lawns is both invigorating and soothing – offering tourists and locals alike a serene yet unspoiled environment to experience the park at their leisure. Particularly impressive during springtime when rhododendrons and azaleas bloom to fill it with vibrant colours – making for a wonderful visual feast!

Puffing Billy Railway provides an unforgettable way to experience the Dandenongs on foot or aboard their iconic steam train, taking multiple daily trips between Belgrave and Lakeside – and on some weekends featuring special routes like Train of Lights in winter and Polar Express around Christmas!

Popular attractions in the area include Burrinja Cultural Centre, with its theatre, studios for artists, creative space for kids activities and various gallery spaces. You could also watch a film at Cameo Cinemas which offers eight screens that show both mainstream and arthouse films.