Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
I can't think of anything better than leaving suburbia behind for lush rain forest, towering mountain ash and fresh air to join friends and family for a picnic lunch and a great bush walk. At O'Donahue picnic ground in Sherbrooke, approximately 50km from Melbourne CBD and within the stunning Dandenong Ranges is where our family last visited.
O'Donohue picnic ground is well known within the bush walking fraternity and will need no introduction but for anyone that's not a regular bush walker within the Dandenong Ranges or is looking for a picnic spot that is smaller and quieter than Grants picnic ground yet still accessible to the Sheerbrooke falls trail then O'Donahue is perfect.
The picnic area has several tables divided on opposite sides of the grounds with a lush lawn area in the middle perfect for laying out a picnic rug. Free electric BBQ's can be found under the trees near the parking bay and a well maintained toilet block with disabled access is available. The picnic tables are square with 3 bench seats which leaves room for a wheelchair at the open end.
As for the bush walks there are two to choose from but they link up to other walks so you can make it as long or as short as you like. The first is Sherbrooke Falls at 2.4km return or the Sheebrooke loop at 4.8km. We had family members aged between 2 years old to 68 years old and all easily completed the relatively flat and open Sherbrooke Falls walk. During the walk we were lucky enough to spot a Lyrebird frolicking in the forest undergrowth near the track along with plenty of Wrens and Rosellas. As for the waterfall it's not all that visible or spectacular as far as waterfalls go but still it's a nice walk and the kids enjoyed going across the bridge and looking down to the water.
Entry to the O'Donohue picnic ground is via Sherbrooke Lodge Rd (a short distance off Sherbrooke Rd which is off Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd). The first picnic ground you will come to is Sherbrooke picnic ground so go past that one and O'Donohue will be the next one on your right.
Other places of interest within the vicinity are the Alfred Nichols gardens which has a stunning ornamental lake and the George Tindale gardens which is spectacular in spring with all of the rhododendrons and camellias in bloom. Entry to these gardens is free and well worth a visit. For other ideas of things to do in the Dandenong Ranges you can read my list here.