Well established as Melbourne's back garden and a key tourist attraction since the 1920s, but still importantly unspoilt, the Dandenong Ranges are a good escape from the city. Weekends during the summer months and on public holidays are however busy up here, but it's a welcome relief and a breath of fresh air.
The Dandenong Ranges are also well serviced by public transport on weekdays, while being one of Melbourne's best accessible areas for bush walking, and if you like hills bicycling. It is still the outer suburbs, none the less the Yarra Ranges National Park covers and has protected much of the area from development.
Being a long established tourist area the Dandenong Ranges is renowned for it's Devonshire Tea Houses, although the espresso machine and the bar have made head roads here recently.
My favorite tea house, at Kalorama, was once inside the establishment pictured. This place once had considerable atmosphere, although couldn't do a decent cuppa, but today it has improved as a cafe. However most importantly the view hasn't changed as the Rendezvous faces towards the east and distant Silvan Dam.
Hmm... you don't go to the birds.. They come to you! (Especially the King Parrots!)Anyways it was really a good experience in the Dandenongs! psst : Theres a place called One Tree Hill... if you know what i mean!
You can also do it as part of your Yarra Valley trip, just after visiting all (not all….you can’t do it in one day) the wineries in the region and would like to go for a nice drive up the mountain while returning to Melbourne, this Dandenong Ranges is a perfect choice. Nice winding roads and there are lot of view points while driving this route. There are many small towns in between, where you can have your supper/dinner. Lovely scenery…Enjoy!!!
Only an hour or so from Melbourne, the Sherbrooke Forest portion of Dandenong Ranges National Park features mountain ash eucalypts towering over a ferny understory. The area is one of the best places in Australia to see displaying lyrebirds and also provides refuge for a number of species of parrots and cockatoos, which are quite tame and easily observed at the Sherbrooke and Grants Picnic Grounds.
For those visiting Melbourne during the months of Sept or Oct, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Tulip Festival. Remember to bring lots of film, the colours of the tulips are vibrant. It is a great photo opportunity. I will post some photos from my trip.
This was one of the sights our son suggested and is a great way to get out of town and into the country, especially if you don't have the use of a car. It's a must for steam train enthusiasts and a great day out for kids (of any age, ie I am 63!) It isn't a particularly cheap day out, but you can take short journeys, and make use of concession fares if they apply to you. They let us have the seniors concession even though we are not Australian citizens. The carriages are partially open to the elements, which is lovely on a hot day. Lots of beautiful scenery along the way, especially when it crosses one of the several trestles. We stopped briefly at Lakeside, then went on to Gembrook where we had a picnic lunch, and then a pint in the local pub. For details of fares and timetables, go to:
Herea re some photos of our trip.
The Germans used to have the formula for aspirin but it was "misplaced". Alfred rediscovered it and made a fortune. A fair percentage of that fortune went into a wonderful garden in the Dandenongs that was ultimately bequeathed to the state. These days the National Parks and Wildlife look after it and the great news is that it's free. You can wander around this scenic wonderland at your leisure and view the magnificent eucalyptus regnans (mountain ash, swamp gum) with a sprinkling of flowers.
Take a scenic trip through fern gully forests and by lakes on a steam train. Have a picnic or grab a bite to eat, and perhaps take a paddle boat ride or hike along a path to the wishing well. Hop off at any stop and take in the scenery.
PUFFY BILLY- Australia's Premier Steam Railway
Australia's unique century-old steam train is still running regularly on its original moutain track in the scenic Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne. Restored in 1962 and running everyday of the year, except Christmas Day, Puffing Billy is a tourist icon, with its daily operation depending on hundreds of dedicated volunteers. Spectacular mountain views and cool fern gullies abound along Puffing Billy's winding track and passengers have a range of tour options to choose from ... journeys of one hour to a full day's adventure.
Take a ride on the Puffing Billy Steam Railway. I have never been on it but I have always heard good reviews from people who have.
The train takes you through the Dandenong Ranges. It runs every day of the year except Christmas Day.
A very nice way to spend a day in nature. Sherbrooke forest is the only place I explored in the Dandenongs, and its really worth a visit. Take along some birdseed to feed the beautiful white parakeets and rosellas! There are various different paths of varying degrees of difficulty - I took a one hour easy grade stroll. There are more challenging paths for the more energetic. Keep your eyes pealed for the exotic birdlife above.
The Dandenong ranges are very close to where I live so I have spent plenty of time roaming around them. If you enjoy hiking or even a leisurely stroll this is a great place to see. There are plenty of bushwalking tracks throughout the ranges and you may even see some wildlife like womats or lyrebirds. The ranges have plenty to offer in the way of cafes and restaurants and there are lots of little gift shops to explore. William Ricketts sanctuary is well worth a look just to see all the beautiful carvings of indigenous people this fantastic artist has created out of rocks and trees. For an absolutely delicious lunch or afternoon tea I would highly recommend Miss Marples in Sassafrass.
Puffing Billy is the oldest steam railway still operating in Australia and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. The 25-kilometre journey takes visitors through thick forests and lush fern-filled gullies from Belgrave.
There is no parking area or road access to the Puffing Billy station at Belgrave. Park your car at the Met Car Park and follow the signposted walkway under the main road bridge or park in Bayview Road parking area
My husband is a fan of the steam train so we did a trip on Puffing Billy into the Dandenong ranges. The trains are very well kept and the scenery in he Dandenong Ranges is very pretty.
Sherbrooke Forest is a home of lovely Rosellas, Cockatoos, Kookaburra, etc. There is a gift shop and toilet for those who wants to havea break after a long drive in the mountain.