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The National Rhododendron Gardens in Spring

Home > Melbourne > Lookouts | Gardens | Fun for Children | Free | Disabled Friendly
by Susan J (subscribe)
I'm an avid hiker, forest therapy guide and organizer of the Happy When I'm Hiking meetup group. I hope to inspire others with my writing to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature. Subscribe to my page for updates.
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The Hills have come alive with colour
It's the best time of year to take a gazillion pictures or 'selfies' at the National Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda!

Situated on a hilltop in the scenic Dandenong Ranges, the gardens are framed by the world's tallest flowering plant, the Mountain Ash, set against a backdrop of the blue Australian Alps.
National Rhododendron Garden
National Rhododendron Garden

Now is the best time of the year to explore Rhododendron Gardens. The magnolias are at their peak and looking wonderful, early rhododendrons and camellias are now in flower along with vireyas, proteas and hellebores.
National Rhododendron Garden

National Rhododendron Garden
Water feature

Other highlights on your walk will include a large ornamental lake, sensory gardens, deep fern gullies dotted with the mighty Mountain Ash and small rock gardens.

Take in magnificent views that overlook Silvan Reservoir, the Yarra Valley, Warburton Ranges and Mount Baw Baw.

Many species of birds and animals frequent the gardens. If you are quiet and observant, you may see or hear the resident lyrebirds.

Entrance to the gardens is free. There is paved access throughout the whole property.

Take your time and enjoy all of the constantly changing vistas of the gardens. If you are up for a longer walk of approximately 5 kms, you can explore the entire gardens.

If you are less likely to take a full tour on foot, you can enjoy the garden by hopping on the 24-seater Garden Explorer for a 25 minute non-stop guided tour. Bookings are required for groups only. Fees apply.

This is an ideal location for a family picnic or even a romantic stroll through the gardens.

Opening hours

The National Rhododendron Gardens are open from10.00am to 5.00pm daily (last entry 4.30pm) except Christmas Day.

How to Get There

The Gardens, in The Georgian Road, Olinda, are just an hour's drive from the heart of Melbourne (Melway ref: 66 K6).
Public transport: Visitors can travel by train to Upper Ferntree Gully and bus to Olinda (check the PTV website for any changes in public transport as there are upgrades on several train lines). The Gardens are just a short stroll from the centre of this quaint hills town.
National Rhododendron Garden
National Rhododendron Garden


During the busy spring period, parking on weekends is limited. Parking on Georgian Road is often chaotic and you may get fined for illegal parking. The better option is to park at the Olinda Recreation Reserve on the corner of The Georgian Road and Olinda-Monbulk Road, or the former Olinda Golf Course site on the Olinda-Monbulk Road. Both are within a two minute walk of the main entrance.

Food, glorious food!

Inside the gardens is the lovely Caf Vireya, managed by Skyhigh Mount Dandenong and is open every weekend from 11am to 4pm but is weather dependent (please call 97510443 to check) - Click here for the menu
Pie in the Sky
Pie in the Sky

Alternatively, there are plenty of cafes to choose from in Olinda, which is a 5 min walk. There are plenty of choices in the 'Nongs!

Staying for the weekend?

If you wish to stay longer and enjoy the many attractions of the Dandenong Ranges, here's a link to options for accommodation

Always check the weather before heading out and keep updated on any changed conditions by checking the Parks Victoria website

Enjoy your day or weekend in the Dandenongs!
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Why? Free access to Victoria's best display of flowers
When: October through November
Phone: 13 1963
Where: The National Rhododendron Garden
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Just woke up this morning and read this article. The sun's out so we headed out there.What a beautiful garden. Thank you so much,we always bring our visitors to dine at Skyhigh Mt.Dandenong but we were never aware of this place til today.My family certainly had a great day😊😊😊.
by julie (score: 0|6) 1074 days ago
These gardens are a great place to take visitors to Melbourne especially those from overseas. We have taken friends there many times and have never been disappointed.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|6961) 1067 days ago
Such a perfect way to spend a beautiful Spring day. I have been intending to go for years, haven't made it yet, but your Article has inspired me. Thank you.
by e_law (score: 2|425) 1074 days ago
Thank you for your lovely comments. I'm very glad you enjoyed a beautiful spring day in the gardens!
by Susan J (score: 1|36) 1074 days ago
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