5 reasons nature lovers need to visit the dandenong ranges

Why Nature Lovers Need to Visit the Dandenong Ranges

See & Do

In need of a tranquil, refreshing escape? Look no further than the Dandenong Ranges, it’s the perfect destination for any nature lover. Here you can breathe in the crisp country air and soak up the beauty of nature.

Just under an hour away from Melbourne, transport yourself to what feels like a world away from the buzzing city. The Dandenong Ranges are home to some of Victoria's most beautiful gardens with lively greens, rich textures, lush foliage and winter blooms aplenty- it's a pure delight.

Connecting with nature is great for your health too, so take your time driving through and taking in the tranquil beauty of the crisp air, stopping at charming villages and their welcoming cafes along the way.

Before you visit, it's important to remember that conditions can change in parks for many reasons. Before your visit, please check the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website for updated changes of conditions and familiarise yourself with important bushfire safety information to ensure your experience is safe and enjoyable. For information about fires, Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans via the Emergency Vic website.

The Dandenong Ranges takes claim to some of Victoria’s most beautiful gardens. Soak in the beauty of rich bark textures, seed capsules, foliage shapes and beautiful fragrances by exploring the many gardens.

Why not take a walk along the perfectly curated paths of the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens (above) and discover the native plants and wildlife that visitors rave about. Don't forget your camera; the colours of the winter season are absolutely spectacular - or on those rare days that it snows, it's storybook pretty.

Pirianda Gardens in Olinda features a beautiful, woodland garden containing a unique collection of plants including many trees which are considered rare in Australia. There are magnificent views, tranquil walks and great opportunities for bird watching, photography and picnics.

Mount Dandenong Arboretum is a 16-hectare arboretum (or effectively a tree museum) of national significance that was established in 1928. It features conifers and deciduous trees from around the world including eight that are listed in the National Trust's significant tree register.

Enjoy a relaxing sensory experience of walking under mature tree canopies, scrunching on aromatic pine needles and looking upward through branches to the sky. Picnic in the meadow with views to the Great Dividing Range framed by tall trees. Walk up to Mount Dandenong Observatory for the spectacular view east across the city of Melbourne or walk along one of the many tracks in the Dandenong Ranges National Park trail network.

With picnic spaces overlooking the Great Dividing Range, it's the perfect location to watch the sunset over the Dandenong Ranges.

While spring might be considered prime time for most gardens, those in the know travel to the Dandenong Ranges for the beauty of its winter blooms. There’s an impressive range of seasonal flowers you’ll only see in the Dandenong Ranges. Colour your day with the brilliant seasonal blooms of rhododendrons, azaleas, camelia, daffodils and cherry blossoms.

The roadside flower stalls of Monbulk, village florists and local nurseries are abundant with blooms and foliage if you’d like to take a piece of the Dandenongs home with you.

R.J. Hamer Arboretum (pictured above) near Olinda contains a collection of early flowering species along walking tracks overlooking stunning scenery across the Yarra Valley and out to the Warburton Ranges and beyond.

George Tindale Memorial Gardens in Sherbrooke was designed to look stunning during all four seasons. During the winter months, one of the highlights includes the Cyclamen and Hellebore on full display beneath flowering shrubs and deciduous

The fresh, crisp air surely helps you work up an appetite, luckily there is no shortage of cafes and eateries dotted across the Dandenong’s charming villages.

Sassafras is a popular destination for day-trippers. Offering a cosy cafe culture, amazing scenery and beautiful national parks, there is sure to be something to please. Try the daily baked fresh bread, cakes and pastries at Proserpina Bakehouse. Delicious smells from the oven mean all you need to do is follow your nose.

Across the road, you can snuggle in at the cosy Ripe Cafe, Miss Marple's Tearoom or browse exquisite toys at Geppetto's Workshop or the magnificent international tea selection of both leaves and teapots at Tealeaves.

From cooking spices to homewares, hand-crafted jewellery, fashion and old-fashioned sweets – you can spend hours browsing Olinda’s stores and boutiques for treasures.

In fact, there are so many great ones, we've got a shopping guide to get you started.

Emerald is a stunning little village brimming with country charm and wonderful hospitality. Pop into the much-loved General Food Store (pictured above) for an abundance of tasty baked treats. Also try Incy Wincy for homewares, fabulous coffee and scrumptious snacks.

Kalorama is a small, scenic village perched atop the Dandenong Ranges 40 km east of Melbourne on the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, pass through for beautiful winter scenes and charming cafes.

Settle in with a drop of the Yarra Valley’s finest after your time at one with nature at Cottage in the Forest or get into the trees at Risehill House Kalorma (pictured above).

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