9 Jun. 2022
If you’re looking to spend time in a true winter wonderland with your family, the Dandenong Ranges is worth bumping to the top of your must-visit list. Mystical forests and invigorating mountain air are sure to inspire plenty of outdoor adventures, while warm and welcoming cafes and restaurants will entice the tastebuds. Whether you’re keen to warm up on one of the spectacular mountain walking trails, explore a magical garden, treat yourself to a cosy fireside lunch, or shop for unique treasures, you’ll find something for the whole family.
It’s hard to beat the carnival-like atmosphere of a market for shopping. The Dandenong Ranges offer an array of vibrant markets. Art and craft lovers will enjoy trawling the stalls of handcrafted, artisan treasures at the Belgrave Big Dreams market. Everything from handmade toys and jewellery, to clothing and artworks, along with buskers and activities for children, at this dog-friendly market, held on the second Sunday of the month (rain or shine). For a vast selection of fresh, locally produced ingredients, the Belgrave Farmers’ Market is also worth a visit. Held on the fourth Sunday of the month, the market is an excellent spot for a cooked breakfast and live entertainment. Other popular markets include the Emerald Market, where you’ll find fresh and organic fruit and veg, seedlings and plants, and homemade fare; the Gembrook Market, conveniently located near the Puffing Billy railway station; and the Kallista Community Market, with more than 60 stalls selling handmade and home-cooked goodies.
Fancy a little yuletide celebration in July? The Dandenong Ranges knows how to make things merry and bright for anyone keen to savour a relaxing and festive Christmas in July lunch. The Sky High Restaurant at Mt Dandenong, Miss Marple’s Tea Room in Sassafras, and the Pig & Whistle Tavern, in Olinda, are just some places serving up a Christmas in July feasts and goodies. Think roast turkey and cranberry sauce, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and plum pudding with brandy and custard. If you’re simply after a hearty meal by the fire, try Ranges Café in Olinda or Seasons Restaurant, overlooking the stunning gardens of Cloudehill. And for hot chocolate, the Only Mine chocolate shop in Olinda is too good to pass.
It’s definitely worth rugging up for a lungful of crisp mountain air in winter. Walking trails, gardens and other outdoor adventures are the perfect way to experience all the Dandenong Ranges has to offer. Set off on a hike along one of the many stunning trails. A foray into the Sherbrooke Forest will introduce you to some picturesque family-friendly walking trails, past cascading creeks and towering mountain ash. Wander deep into the fern gully of Pirianda Gardens, rich with exotic trees and meandering pathways. Shrouded in mist, The Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden and George Tindale Memorial Gardens all have a fairytale atmosphere that’s sure to fire the imagination. For something a little more daring, head to Belgrave Treetop Adventures, where you can explore the forest through an array of ziplines, tight ropes and tunnels to suit different ages.