Guest House in Yarra Valley
- 6 guests
- 3 bedrooms
- 5 beds
- 3 bathrooms
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The Dandenong Ranges have been a popular getaway for Melburnians since the 1870s, and it’s easy to see their appeal. Escape the city and spend some time in the fresh mountain air. The Dandenongs have something for families, outdoor enthusiasts, art and culture buffs and even budding botanists.
Hike to summits affording prime views of the Yarra Valley and even stretching as far as Melbourne’s CBD. Hop aboard a scenic steam train railway and watch fern gullies, forests and alpine villages whirl by. Delve into local Aboriginal culture at the William Ricketts Sanctuary or relive Australian military history on the 1000 Steps. And don’t forget to check out one of the region’s cool climate gardens.
Visitors to the Dandenong Ranges can choose from many different holiday rentals, from luxurious villas to cottages tucked away in the bush.
For scenic views all the way to Melbourne’s CBD, head to the summit of Mount Dandenong, the highest in the range. A full service restaurant is situated at the summit, with a bistro section for lighter snacks. The lookout can be accessed by car or via footpath.
The sobering Kokoda Memorial Walk, known as the 1000 Steps, is set along the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road within the Dandenong Ranges National Park. This trail serves as a memorial to the Australian military men who treked along the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea during the Second World War. This is a strenuous walk amidst forest scenery and ferns, with signs along the way telling the soldiers’ story.
For less of a workout, opt for the Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk, which begins at Grants Picnic Area. As you wander, you may be able to spy local wildlife, such as lyrebirds, wallabies and wombats. Meanwhile, the Sherbrooke Falls Walk leads to an impressive cascade through mountain ash forests.
If you’re visiting the Dandenongs with the kids, there are plenty of ways to keep them entertained. A traditional English maze has been set atop Mount Dandenong, close to the viewing platform. Make your way out of the labyrinth by solving riddles and finding treasures. The maze is filled with sculptures, climbing structures and even optical illusions.
Perhaps the most famous attraction in the Dandenongs, Puffing Billy is a vintage style steam train which takes you through the region’s towns and forest landscape. Climb on at Belgrave Station and let your feet dangle off the side of the open carriages all the way to Gembrook.
For scenic lunches or snacks amidst local wildlife, bring a hamper to Grants Picnic Ground. Feed wild cockatoos and parrots with seeds purchased onsite. The picnic area at Olinda Falls offers a calmer retreat, with plenty of grassy space for running around and an easy path leading to the cascade.
Culture buffs will also be able to get their fix in the Dandenongs. At William Ricketts Sanctuary, wander amongst 92 sculptures of significance to local Aboriginal People, representing the scenes and mythical figures of Dreamtime stories.
The Burrinja Cultural Centre, nestled in the Dandenongs foothills, hosts permanent and temporary exhibits of works by local artists. The award-winning centre also has a theatre with year-round performances.
Discover the antique and boutique shopping scene in the village of Olinda, the highest settlement in the Dandenongs. Duck into the village’s numerous galleries to see works by local artists. Many pieces were inspired by the region’s natural beauty.
Seven main cool climate gardens are open to the public. Since 1960, the National Rhododendron Gardens provide a leisurely stroll against a mountain backdrop. Walk amidst a wide variety of Rhododendrons and other flowers as you catch glimpses of sweeping valley views.
The Karwarra Gardens are dedicated to showcasing the full spectrum of Australian vegetation. The Cloudehill Nursery and Gardens feature outdoor exhibits which focus on the fusion of nature and art. Wander through the RJ Hamer Arboretum and take in views of the Yarra Valley below. Mount Dandenong Arboretum is home to conifers hailing from around the world.
Each year in September, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival brings a whole new colour scheme to the Dandenongs. Visitors will be able to see 100 000+ tulips and attend many other temporary exhibits, food tastings, shows and musical acts in the Dandenongs towns.
The Dandenongs are easily accessible from Melbourne. Drive to the summit of Mount Dandenong in just over an hour. Trains with direct service from Melbourne’s CBD will leave you in Belgrave and Croyden, from which local busses depart for many of the smaller towns.