My next goal was the perennial favourite, the National Rhododendron Gardens, set tucked away on a hillside at the back of Olinda. I deliberately used the word “perennial” because many people mistakenly think that the only time to visit is in spring when a stunning array of rhododendrons is in full bloom. My advice is to visit whatever the season...more
If you’re into walking then I’ve also done the Sherbrooke Falls walk although at less than 45 minutes this is more of a short stroll than a full on bushwalk. A good track for beginners or those who want to experience the forest without much effort. Nonetheless, at the popular picnic area where you park, you cannot fail to be impressed by the...more
However, that magnificent garden is but the tip of the iceberg. Next time up I went to William Ricketts Sanctuary, an iconic attraction whose creator originally named it the Potters Sanctuary, to revisit the wooden and stone sculptures of aborigines, a race that William had a special affinity for after spending time with them in the outback. He...more
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 most 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...more
My Upwey PageThis village, where I live, is on the lower slopes of the Dandenong Ranges, and is a pleasant place to live but it is not exactly tourist orientated.No pub, just an RSL, no accomodation. But because the Burwood Highway by passes the town the main drag is peaceful and there is plenty of parking (and public toilets) by the supermarket or...more
My Gembrook PageThis charming little town with its lovely pub is actually in Gippsland but the Puffing Billy ends its run from Belgrave here - so I'll include it as a Dandenong Ranges Town To See.It's got everything you need for a stop over, maybe have lunch, browse the small but eclectic collection of shops, have a walk in the Bushland reserve,...more
We were very impressed by the large carved tree at SkyHigh. This was carved from the trunk of a large tree growing in situ, not brought here for erection. The second photo shows the placard giving the background and details of the artist responsible. I suspect that he’s well-known in Victoria, similar tree carvings are found on the foreshore at...more
At some time, the Victorian Parks department has chosen to lease the lookout at the top of Mt Dandenong to a company called SkyHigh. There now is a relatively token charge of $4A per car for a visit, but the facilities and view make that worthwhile. Well, OK, the view when we visited was somewhat affected by weather, but given the changes of...more
I guess attending a wedding must top my “things to do”, as it was the very thing which brought us there – along with many other family members from distant parts of the country! The Dandenong Ranges have several reception centres used for weddings, we went to Marybrooke Receptions. When built, back in the 1930s, it was one of the gracious old Guest...more
If you are in for a good long 2 hour walk that will test your strength, and you do not mind very steep conditions, then the Kokoda walk is for you.The Kokoda Walk is a very steep track walk consisting of 1,000 steps. Along the way are plaques depicting the lives of those who fought and died on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea in World War II....more
There are some beautiful views of Melbourne from the Sky High Vantage point atop Mount Dandenong. There are several viewing stands, and the view from the parking lot is just as stunning. The building itself recently went through a $3M rennovation, and there are plenty of little activities to see. Nature walks, an English and Secret Garden, and...more
A BBQ is a very Australian way of life. BBQ like this one are freely available in most picnic & beach areas. Take your own food, cook in on the BBQ and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. These are electric BBQ, but in some areas you can get firewood and do the "real" thing! Some BBQs take a 20c coin to start it, others are free of cost.more
Tucked away in a sidestreet at Olinda, you’ll find Pie in the Sky. If Vienna has its hot dogs, the USA hamburgers, then the iconic Australian “instant food” is a meat pie. Here we have a restaurant dedicated to them, in a variety of styles – as seems the norm these days (years ago they were either plain or ‘steak and onion’). The range can be seen...more
If you are headed to the top of Mount Dandenong and are going to stop in at Sky High Mt. Dandenong, you most likely will want to take advantage of their parking scheme. It is 4 dollars to park here, but that is fully re-imbursed if you stay and eat at the cafe in the building. There were many items to choose from, so it was well worth the 4...more
During our trip to the Dandenong Ranges, we enjoyed lunch at a small little restaurant in the town of Olinda. As we drove past this place, the name definitely caught our attention, but we wanted to head up and see the sites at Mt. Dandenong. After we took our crazy hike to go see a plane crash, we were hungry! As the title of my tip may have...more
A car really is the best way to reach the Dandenong Ranges. You can get close by taking a train to Ferntree Gully (near Lifestyle Apartments, see Accommodation) or, even closer, to Belgrave. The train trip will take about an hour from the central city. But beyond that…! Cycling into the hills would be a little fraught, as the roads are fairly narrow, winding, and without cycle lanes.
If you are headed up to Mount Dandenong, one of the "features" listed in the Sky High Mt. Dandenong brochure is the Plane Crash site from Australian Airways in 1937. After a 1.5km hike through some fairly rocky pathways, we came upon the memorial site, and really all it was was this plaque. If you are spending a few days in the Dandenongs, this...more
During our hike up the Kokoda Trail in the Dandenong Ranges, we ran into several knocked down branches, but then we came across this entire tree which had fallen. If you look on the right side, you will actually see the walking trail barrier that was smashed!As the infamous George of the Jungle has been warned on numerous occasions... Watch out for...more
Luggage and bags:
Mount Dandenong is really a day trip, possibly an overnighter at most. Pack lightly, save room for your other stops!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you are headed up in July, make sure you bring a heavy coat. It is around 51 degrees Fahrenheit. I would also recommend hiking shoes, because although it was cold, the trails were still worth the trip.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Readily available here.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I would recommend a good B+B in July, check back for summer recommendations later.
Another stip is R J Hamer Arboretum, 120 hectares of varied forest overlooking expansive views across Silvan Dam and the Yarra Valley. Frequented mainly by locals, the trails start between the toilet block and the barbecue area and lead to some truly big trees. There are few places in the world where you can see the giant sequoias and the world’s...more
The track can be slightly boggy in the wet and downright slilppery at times so hiking shoes are advised but the walk through dense thickets of tree ferns beside the gurgling stream is a delight; otherwise though the falls themselves are fairly minor, though attractive. You can also take the option to park at the nearby carpark and then it’s only a...more
I drove up to the nearby Mount Dandenong Arboretum. Here there is a carpark, a picnic table and little else save the trees, of which there are 16 hectares of deciduous and conifer varieties. Should you walk among them and head downhill you may reach a dirt road below and that track you see immediately across the other side is the Mechanics Track, a...more
The whole of the Dandenongs is a gastronomic delight and I was overjoyed when I dined at the Ivy in Olinda to be served genuine Italian pizza with that wonderful thin and crispy crust and garnished lightly with all the flavours you’d expect of Italian food. There are award winning pie shops and Sassafras is known as the village of tea so sharpen up...more
Oh, the difficulty of deciding whether to place this tip in “General” or under “Shopping” or even “Tourist Traps”! Sassafras is the first little village you encounter as you enter the Dandenong Ranges from the Burwood Highway. It isn’t large and you won’t find a newsagent or hardware store here – instead, the street is full of those shops intended...more
Time for a quick botany lesson! What’s the difference between trees and ferns? It’s not necessarily size: the “Soft Tree Ferns” (Dicksonia antarctica) in this photo taken in the Dandenong National Park are as large as many trees. The difference is that trees produce seeds, while ferns produce spore. And yes, I did have to look that up! Either way,...more