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Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda

Home > Victoria > Picnic Spots | Escape the City | Family | Free | Outdoor | Gardens | National Parks | Nature | Parks
by Sue Williams (subscribe)
Writer, bushwalker, dessert enthusiast. Author of the Rusty Bore Mysteries. More info here:
Published June 7th 2012
Rhododendron Gardens courtesy of Victoria Parks website
Rhododendron Gardens courtesy of Victoria Parks website

The National Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda combine some of life's simplest and greatest pleasures. The pressures of work seem far behind as you wander through these 40 hectares of brilliantly coloured blooms - rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, cherries and daffodils.

Established in 1960, and free to enter, the gardens are situated near scenic Mt Dandenong. There are sweeping views to the south and east of Melbourne, including the Yarra Valley. There are also lovely views of the surrounding mountain ash forest of the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

Miles of views at Rhododendron Gardens
Miles of views at Rhododendron Gardens

The gardens are managed by Victoria Parks, with volunteers from the Australian Rhododendron Society helping with maintenance.

It's a great place for a picnic, with plenty of space on the wide grassy lawns, as well as gazebos, benches and picnic tables throughout the gardens. There's also Cafe Vireya by the gatehouse, open during Spring, offering light lunches, morning and afternoon teas.

Five kilometres of walking trails wind among the different spaces within the gardens. While Spring and Autumn are peak seasons for colour, careful planting has resulted in blooms at all times of year. Even in winter, there's an array of dazzling blossom to enjoy. The gardens contain many rare and endangered species which are no longer present in their natural environment.

Cherry blossom
Cherry blossom

Winter colour
Winter colour

The paths are wide and sealed although quite steep at times. For anyone with limited mobility, a 24 seater bus tour operates throughout Spring, providing a 25 minute guided tour of the gardens.

Winding paths
Winding paths

There are lots of birds in the gardens – you can hear lyrebirds in winter, and King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas are present throughout the year.

Serene views
Serene views

These serene gardens are also a beautiful place for wedding photographs, which are permitted by application.

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Why? There's nothing like a garden for de-stressing
When: Anytime except days of Total Fire Ban
Where: Falls Road, Olinda
Cost: Free to enter (Bus costs $8)
There are also lots of lovely places for Devonshire tea around there too, I believe.
By Anna Bourozikas - senior reviewer
Tuesday, 16th of August @ 10:15 am
Great article, and beautiful photos. Definitely on the list for my next visit to Melbourne.
By Jon Jones - general editor
Tuesday, 16th of August @ 10:45 pm
Wow - this looks like an amazing place to visit. I've been thinking I should extend myself a little and venture out for a walk somewhere new - and this could be just the place. I can never resist a drive up to Olinda. Thanks for the beautiful photos.
By Erica Webb - senior reviewer
Tuesday, 30th of August @ 07:33 am
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