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.
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.
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