Olinda Travel Guide

  • The delightful pond at the bottom of the garden
    The delightful pond at the bottom of the...
    by iandsmith
  • Lovely rotunda on the hillside
    Lovely rotunda on the hillside
    by iandsmith
  • Forest on the route
    Forest on the route
    by iandsmith

Olinda Things to Do

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    Forest on the route 4 more images

    by iandsmith Written Dec 10, 2011

    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. Nonetheless, at the popular picnic area where you park, you cannot fail to be impressed by the mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans a.k.a. swamp gum in Tassie). You pass through these at the start of the walk and drift along until you loop around the falls over a bridge. Best viewed after rain if you want to see plenty of water, it is an easy track to follow and walk on.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park

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    The Mechanics Track 4 more images

    by iandsmith Written Dec 10, 2011

    I next 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 you may reach a dirt road below and that track you see immediately across the other side is the Mechanics Track, a 2km trail linking the Mount Dandenong Tourist Drive with Olinda Falls.
    The track can be slightly boggy in the wet 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 short, but steep, hike to the cascades.

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    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Inspired by the cacti. 4 more images

    by craic Updated Jan 6, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We found a glossy brochure advertising this place so we took a run up to have a looksee. It is not far from Olinda township - in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges - and from what we could see of it it was really something.
    I say what we could see - because we didn't have a look at the gardens because I thought the entrance charge was extreme. $7-50, $5 concession, $20 family. I was only in the mood for a quick look.
    Maybe we will go back another time. Have lunch in what looks like an agreeable cafe and then stroll in the formal gardens.
    The deck of the cafe is the only place you can see into the gardens from.

    The nursery is amazing with many rare and unusual plants - not the rows and rows of petunias and azaleas one usually sees - and lots of garden art. Fountains, urns etc. (Very expensive alas, top of the range.)
    I was totally inspired and we plan to go back.
    I have just checked out the website and I definitely plan to go back. The gardens look quite extraordinary.
    The brochure does not mention any charge to go into the gardens - no mention at all - and it just made me cross to find out there was.

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Olinda Restaurants

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    Pie in the Sky

    by iandsmith Written Dec 10, 2011

    This is a bakery plus restaurant. You can get stuff to take away or sit on the balcony or the spacious inside.

    Favorite Dish: They tout their pies as the "Finest east of Adelaide". Put simply, they're not. Which doesn't mean they don't sell a good pie, they do, but don't get sucked in by the hype, The bakery at Hamilton in Tasmania is well in front.
    Having said that, the place is busy, even during the week, and it's location on the high side of Olinda makes it a very popular place to eat - recommended.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Family Travel
    • Seniors

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    The Ivy Restaurant

    by iandsmith Written Dec 10, 2011

    An unpresuming restaurant at first glance but, if you like your food Italian style, then this is the place to eat.
    Take no notice of the for sale sign, that's only for the premises, not the restaurant.

    Favorite Dish: The pizza was the closest to true Italian that I've eaten in Australia. Thin crispy crust lightly garnished with the flavours you'd expect. Best pizza I've had in Australia.

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    • Family Travel
    • Wine Tasting
    • Food and Dining

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Olinda Favorites

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    This pond cannot be accessed, just viewed 4 more images

    by iandsmith Written Dec 10, 2011

    Favorite thing: Another famous garden/nursery/cafe not far away is Cloudehill but it costs to go there though the ordered and sculpted garden is one of the wonders of the hill.
    I next stopped at R J Hamer Arboretum, 120 hectares of varied forest overlooking expansive views across Silvan Dam and the Yarra Valley. The trails start between the toilet block and the barbecue area and lead to some truly big trees. I can think of few places in the world where you can see the giant sequoias and the world’s biggest hardwoods side by side. Bird lovers will find this place a treasure as well with much variety and colour, particularly crimson rosellas, golden whistlers and eastern yellow robins. This is a particularly good place to visit in autumn if it’s colour you’re after, the mesmerising yellows and reds of the liquid ambers and maples cannot fail to please.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park

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    Rhododendrons are what it's about in spring 4 more images

    by iandsmith Written Dec 10, 2011

    Favorite thing: My next goal was the perennial favourite, the National Rhododendron Gardens, set tucked away at the back of Olinda. I deliberately used the word “perennial” because many people 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 for there is so much more to the gardens; the lush greens of summer, the exotic lilies, the reflective lakes with their reed beds and the weird trees and shrubs. To walk there anytime is a pleasure as I discovered while talking to a local who comes here every day for her daily stroll. She described in vivid detail the changing seasons and what they bring to the garden.

    Fondest memory: Walking around here in spring is one of the great garden walks of Australia but, as I said previously, just walking around here anytime is special. Take note of all the exotic species, some will amaze you.

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    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    The theme throughout the garden is aboriginal 3 more images

    by iandsmith Written Dec 10, 2011

    Favorite thing: 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 felt that their spiritual values regarding the land should be adopted by all.

    Fondest memory: No less a well known figure than Billy Connelly said it, “..was the most impressive thing I’ve seen in Australia”. Ricketts died in 1993, aged 94, but there’s a self portrait of him among the sculptures. Every face carved is of someone, they are all original and, while you’re there, try and discover the spiritual meaning of the concentric circles, a theme revisited many times throughout the park.
    It was here that I found out things had changed. Every Parks Victoria site on the mountain was free, where once there had been a charge.
    There's a story behind pic 3. The lady is ex-German and had never been to the garden but her mother in Germany read an article about it and wanted to know why she hadn't been there!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Women's Travel

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